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

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

Related Interests

More from NPR

NPR8 min read
What She Brought With Her
It can be tempting to encapsulate Celia Cruz's life with a single phrase: "The Queen of Salsa." But she carried with her a deeper musical history from Cuba than that phrase can encompass.
NPR2 min read
False Tsunami Warning In Hawaii Triggered By Police Exercise
The alert, which was "inadvertently triggered" during Honolulu Police Department training, angered residents who recalled a similar false alarm last year warning of an imminent missile attack.
NPR5 min read
In The 'Downton Abbey' Film, A Royal Visit Proves Rather A Spot Of Bother
The new film is "less a victory lap than a cakewalk." Everything about the TV series — those aspects you loved, and those you didn't — is reproduced here with astonishing fidelity.