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Culture Express > News Video

San Diego Comic Con celebrates 45 years


07-30-2014 00:23 BJT

The city of San Diego, California, gets transformed into the pop culture capital of the world for four days each year. It began as a 400-person gathering, but 45 years later the San Diego Comic-Con is a global phenomenon.

It is the world's largest pop-culture convention. It started as a small comic book convention, but it now covers a whole range of popular culture: from comics, to movies, TV shows and the like.

This year about 130,000 people are attending. There are at least 17 separate rooms in the Convention Center used for panels and screenings, ranging in size from 280 seats to 49 hundred seats and is where A-list celebrities introduce to the world their latest projects. The biggest of these rooms is Hall H, which seats just over 6,500 fans.

Hall H is the place reserved for the best of the best panels, as only the hottest movies and television shows get a seat in the hallowed Hall. People get in line 24 hours before Hall H opens but get to see films represented that include the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Batman versus Superman and surprise appearances by first timer Matthew McConaughey and director Christopher Nolan. The cast from Marvel’s The Age of Ultron all turned out to promote the film.

Outside the convention center, San Diego seems to become one large billboard — a virtual commercial space using every inch to promote shows and movies — from banners on buildings to posters on the sides of trains.

The convention floor is huge and includes everything from artists creating original works to major outlets showcasing numerous items to see and to purchase. In one small corner there is the comic book area, from which Comic Con derives its name. Though big name publishers and studios get the best spots, to American-born Chinese graphic novelist Gene Yang, Comic Con is more than just a location.

The name “Comic-Con” seems to be getting further and further away from representing the reality of the event. Some people cynically refer to the event as “Hollywood-Con” or “Line-Con.” But everyone who walks through the door has a badge around their neck that says “Comic” on it. It is a reminder to the greater public of where so much of this came from.

Comic Con’s super fans flock to San Diego in costume, dressing up as their favorite characters, and many spend a lot of time and effort replicating their heroes.

After 45 years, San Diego Comic-Con has become and will continue to expand as a massive forum for constant celebration, colorful cosplaying, and incredible creativity.

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