Nerds united this summer to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the mecca of fandoms, the San Diego Comic-Con. What started out as the small Golden State Comic-Minicon in March of 1970 has transformed into one of the biggest celebrations of nerd culture in the United States, if not the entire world! This infographic explores an impressive timeline of major events, film features, celebrity appearances, and more that have taken place within the San Diego Comic-Con’s walls over the past five decades.
The San Diego Comic-Con’s popularity has grown exponentially over the years from just 300 attendees at the first event to an incredible 135,000 people at this year’s anniversary celebration. The event has been drawing in over 100,000 attendees since 2005 and even hit an all-time high in 2015 with 167,000 people in attendance! Although that year’s popularity can be attributed to exclusive first looks at two films, Star Wars, Episode VII – The Force Awakens and Batman vs Superman. The San Diego Comic-Con is known for these exclusive first looks of upcoming movies, referred to as featurettes. The first featurette was shown in 1981 for the movie Blade Runner. Other featurettes include 300, which literally left the building shaking; Twilight, which had fans lining up a day in advance to see it; and The Hobbit, which surprised fans with a 360-degree panoramic screen to watch on.
Another big draw for the fans is the celebrity appearances they can expect to see at a comic-con, especially one of this magnitude. The first celebrity guest was Superman actor Kirk Alyn in 1971, but it wasn’t until 2003 that big names started making more frequent appearances to promote their films. Over the years appearances have included Angelina Jolie for Tomb Raider, the cast of The Avengers, Andrew Garfield came dressed as Spiderman, and Tom Hiddleston showed up as Loki. Even Harrison Ford finally made an appearance in 2010 but it was to promote his movie Cowboys & Aliens and not one of the other major films he has acted in. The San Diego Comic-Con is a significant event for the city, both culturally and financially, and brings in $149 million dollars over the course of its three days. It is so important to the city of San Diego that they even plan to memorialize it year-round with a museum! This timeline from HighRises chronicles the best moments, notable appearances, and reminds us just how important SDCC is to geek culture and history.