There’s something to be said for how desperately we crave the idea of escape. On March 21, 1970, San Diego’s Golden State Comic-Minicon first introduced people to the idea of a world that didn’t have to be as oppressive as the one we inhabit. Today, millions throng to the annual Comic-Con International, or copycat events in cities across the globe.
Why? As a comic book fan for as long as I can remember, I see the appeal of access to the faces behind the superheroes – the writers and illustrators of iconic characters like Spiderman and the Fantastic Four, for example. The merchandise is also a big draw. And then there are the early previews of big budget films that the rest of the world has to wait for. You get bragging rights for having checked out the new Batman trailer months before your friends even hear of its release.
It gets bigger every year, and the July 2017 event promises to have it all: Hollywood biggies (past attendees include Francis Ford Coppola and Steven Spielberg), legendary comic book writers and creators (Stan Lee, Alan Moore, Frank Miller, George RR Martin, Neil Gaiman) and the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards – the Oscars for comic books, only without the red carpet and rambling monologues.