It all started in 1970 with a one-day minicon (think of it as "Comic-Con Zero") at the U.S. Grant Hotel in downtown San Diego. The first guests were Forrest J Ackerman (Famous Monsters of Filmland's famous editor) and Mike Royer, best known for his work inking Jack Kirby's "Fourth World" books. That one-day event tested the waters -— and raised funds —- for the first ever San Diego Comic-Con (then called "San Diego's West Coast Comic-Con") in August of the same year, which featured comics legend Jack Kirby and science fiction authors Ray Bradbury and A. E. van Vogt. And the rest, as they say, is history -— including Kirby, Bradbury, and Ackerman going on to become three of Comic-Con's favorite guests over the years (both Ray and Forry were present again in 2008).
That first show and its logo set the groundwork for what would become, over the next 39 years, the country's leading comics and popular arts convention. From the very beginning the event has focused on "comic art, films, and science fiction."
As we gear up over the coming months to celebrate the momentous 40th convention, you'll learn a lot more about Comic-Con's exciting history, from those early days through the "Toucan years" (when Rick Geary's colorful bird was Comic-Con's mascot and logo), up to the present day. 2009 promises to be another amazing year.
In 2008, for the first time in its history, Comic-Con sold out in advance. That's right—the show saw record attendance, with every membership—both four days and single days—all sold before the Convention Center doors even opened. And once again, we've sold out in advance. No memberships will be sold at the door.