NPR

San Diego Comic-Con Is Turning 50: Here's Its Origin Story

50 years ago, a bunch of teenaged comics fans got together to plan a convention, and what started with 300 people in a hotel basement became the pop culture juggernaut known as San Diego Comic Con.
The original San Diego Comic-Con committee, as drawn by Scott Shaw! and inspired by Jack Kirby. Source: Courtesy of Scott Shaw!

Fifty years ago, a bunch of comics fans in San Diego decided they wanted a way to meet other fans. They were mostly teenagers — okay, and two adults — but what they created became the pop culture phenomenon we know as San Diego Comic-Con.

Today, Roger Freedman is a physics professor, but in 1969 he was 17 years old — and he had no idea what he was about to get himself into. "I think it's fair to say that if you had come to us and said how Comic-Con was going to evolve, we would have said A) what are you smoking, and B) where can we buy some?"

It all started with a guy named

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