40 Images

San Diego Comic-Con through the years

Mike Towry, 15, a Kearny High sophomore and comic book entrepreneur at San Diego’s first annual Comic-Con in the U.S. Grant Hotel on Aug. 2, 1970.

 (John Price / San Diego History Center/U-T Collection)

Forrest J. Ackerman, editor of “Famous Monsters of Filmland” magazine gets an autograph from Kirk Alyn, who portrayed the Daily Planet’s Ace reporter in the 1948 movie, “Superman,” at the second annual Golden State Comic Con held at UC San Diego in 1971. 

 (George Smith / San Diego History Center/U-T Collection)

Liz Day displays a collection of comic books as the fourth annual San Diego Comic-Con, a convention of comic book and science fiction buffs, opens at the Sheraton Inn on Aug. 15, 1973.

 (Rick McCarthy / San Diego History Center/U-T Collection)

Comic fans in costume gathered at the San Diego Comic-Con in the El Cortez Hotel on July 31, 1974. It was the first year for the Masquerade costume contest.

 (Joe Flynn / San Diego History Center/U-T Collection)

Dr. Curtis W. Fisher and his son, John, get a look and a laugh from one of the comic books at the 1975 San Diego Comic Convention in the El Cortez Hotel. 

 (Dan Tichonchuk / San Diego History Center/U-T Collection)

In 1976, Comic book fans Freddie Lewis, 12, left, and Marshall Beck, 12, both of Normal Heights, set aside super hero comics to check out a copy of “Howard the Duck,” part of the comics return to social commentary. 

 (Dennis Huls / San Diego History Center/U-T Collection)

The annual San Diego Comic-Con drew thousands of fans to the El Cortez hotel July 20-24, 1977. 

 (Dennis Huls / San Diego History Center/U-T Collection)

In 1978 convention attendance reached 5,000 for the first time. Here, Shel Dorf, President of Comic-Con, is shown at his home in San Diego. 

 (San Diego History Center)
Comic fans in costume check in on the first day of the San Diego Comic-Con at the old Convention and Performing Arts Center in downtown on July 30, 1980.  (Ian Dryden / San Diego History Center/U-T Collection)

Security Robot Russell Leuck stands guard at the 1981 San Diego Comic Convention at the El Cortez Hotel in San Diego. 

 (Peter Koeleman / San Diego History Center/U-T Collection)

A rare Walt Disney Comics and Stories, worth about $800, is an example of the collectors’ items shown at the annual San Diego Comic-Con, which kicked off Aug 4, 1983 at the Convention and Performing Arts Center downtown. 

 (John Gibbins / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Frank Devlin’s hat may say he’s headed somewhere else, but yesterday he stopped off at the 16th annual San Diego Comic-Con on Aug. 1, 1985. More than 1 million comics are on display -- and for sale -- at the San Diego Convention Center. 

 (Barry Fitzsimmons / San Diego Union-Tribune)

The “Creature from the Black Lagoon” enjoying a Batman book is really Comic-Con fan Josh Ritter, at the San Diego Convention and Performing Arts Center on Aug. 2, 1986. 

 (Bruce K. Huff / San Diego Union-Tribune)

From old favorites such as Batman and Superman to newcomers like The Watchmen, comic books find an enthusiastic audience at the annual San Diego Comic-Con convention for collectors and fans in 1987. 

 (Howard Lipin / San Diego Union-Tribune)

In 1988 Marvel Comics and DC Comics remain the twin 800-pound gorillas of the comic book industry, but now they compete with more than a dozen smaller firms, among them Blackthorne Publishing of El Cajon, at the 19th annual San Diego Comic-Con. 

 (Dave Siccardi / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Victor Gorelick demonstrates his technique drawing Archie at the 20th annual San Diego Comic-Con in 1989. 

 (Diana Rinehart Babb / San Diego Union-Tribune)

William Shatner (Captain Kirk to most) and director Francis Ford Coppola attended the1992 Comic-Con in San Diego, but the collectors tables still drew a crowd. 

 (Charles Starr / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Jeff Holland of Meridian Mississippi, dressed like his hero Captain America walks through the Art Showcase at the 25th annual Comic Convention at the San Diego Convention Center on Aug. 6, 1994. 

 (Don Kohlbauer / San Diego Union-Tribune)
Gabe Schillinger, 12, of San Rafael is engrossed in reading a comic book, oblivious to the dozens of hurrying feet. The scene is the dealer’s room at the 26th annual San Diego Comic-Con, the world’s largest comic book convention, which opened July 27, 1995.  (John McCutchen / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Billy Cheng, 5, left, and his brother, Sunny, 6, of San Francisco, watch as Ron Lim of Marvel Comics in Washington, D.C. sketches Batman at Comic-Con International at the San Diego Convention Center on July 5, 1996. The con fell on the July 4 holiday for only the second time.

 (Laura Embry / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Armando Creeper of Valley Center added a touch of horror to the Comic-Con International convention at the San Diego Convention Center, on July 19, 1997. 1997

 (Jerry Rife / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Vernon Lingley, Patrick Connors and Lance Tabor check out a Space Bunnies video in 1998.

 (John Nelson / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Justin Love (left) of Chula Vista asked a friend to take a photo of him with model Roxanna Martin, portraying comic-book character Shawna Diaz at Comic-Con.

 (Nancee E. Lewis / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Costumed “Battlestar Galactica” devotees snapped pictures of each other in 2001. 

 (Nelvin C. Cepeda / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Gino Acevedo put the finishing touches on Orc, a character from the “Lord of the Rings.” Earl Polvent, from Peoria, Ariz., was the winner of the “Become an Orc” contest in 2002.

 (Don Kohlbauer / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Mike McElvana (left), a volunteer with Score Entertainment, played a Dragon Ball Z card game with James Player of San Diego at Comic-Con in 2003. 

 (Howard Lipin / San Diego Union-Tribune)

A Kaiju Rogue, Vegetius (left), waves to model Crystial Graham in a display case at the Species III booth in 2004. 

 (Howard Lipin / San Diego Union-Tribune)

In 2005, James Gutierrez patrolled the Comic-Con floor dressed as Boba Fett, the notorious bounty hunter from the “Star Wars” saga. Costumes are a tradition at the annual San Diego convention, which celebrates pop-culture creations from comics to action figures to film. 

 (Howard Lipin / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Samuel L. Jackson seemed to enjoy himself at a “Snakes on a Plane” Comic-Con panel, which attracted an overflow crowd in 2006. 

 (Earnie Grafton / San Diego Union-Tribune)

The 2007 Comic-Con session with stars of “Supernatural” was such a crush that security guards urged fans to get their photos and move on, or else fire marshals would order the area cleared. More than 125,000 fans attended. 

 (Jim Baird / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Stan Lee, widely credited as the creator of the modern-day superhero, was honored at a party at the Hard Rock Hotel downtown in 2008. With Lee are Jamie Bafus (left) and Bianca Harzbecker. 

 (Sean M. Haffey / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Comic-Con attendees headed for the San Diego Convention Center’s main exhibit hall in 2009, after many of them had waited for hours to enter. 

 (Nelvin C. Cepeda / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Even Stormtroopers have their weapons checked, as these three found when they went through security at the Comic-Con entrance in 2010. 

 (Sean M. Haffey / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Adam Lundquist, (left) aka Mr. Incredible, and Courtney Hartstein, aka Batgirl, both of downtown San Diego, take a break from fighting the bad guys while waiting on a street corner as Comic-Con spilled out into the Gaslamp Quarter in 2011.

 (Nelvin C. Cepeda / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Mario Alcaraz, 6 (left), as Ironman and brother Lex, 3, as Voltron, Defender of the Universe, play a game of Angry Birds while their father takes a break Sunday afternoon in the exhibition hall at Comic-Con in 2012. 

 (Peggy Peattie / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Showing enthusiasm about making the scene at Comic-Con, Tom Cruise made a surprise visit in 2013 to promote his upcoming film “Edge of Tomorrow.” 

 (K.C. Alfred / UT San Diego/Zuma Press)
Large crowds of people head into the San Diego Convention Center for Comic-Con 2014. (Hayne Palmour IV / UT San Diego/Zuma Press)

Coryn Bray of Vista dressed as the Madd Hatter at Comic-Conin 2015.

 (K.C. Alfred / The San Diego Union-Tribune)
Jeff Hernandez helps adjust the Baby Groot costume his daughter Lianna, 9, is wearing, as they and his older daughter Gabriella, 12, dressed as Gamora, all portray characters in the movie “Guardians of the Galaxy” while walking through the San Diego Convention Center during Comic-Con in San Diego in 2016. (San Diego Union-Tribune)
On Friday the Nerdist.com organized the first Wonder Woman parade around the Gaslamp Quarter during Comic-Con 2017 in San Diego. (Nelvin C. Cepeda / San Diego Union-Tribune)