60 minutes | Jun 22, 2021

The Con is On

We forge ahead at light speed into the complex scenario of how the first San Diego Comic-Con was cobbled together by our illustrious cast of kooky characters. From there, we venture onward through the mid-1970s as the Con grows exponentially in both physical size and attendance, heralding the “golden years” at a ramshackle downtown hotel that had seen better days called the El Cortez.

Narrated by Brinke Stevens
Created and Directed by Mathew Klickstein
Executive Produced by Rob Schulte
Written and Produced by Mathew Klickstein, Rob Schulte, and Christopher Tyler
Edited by Rob Shulte, and Christopher Tyler
Mixed by James Bilodeau 
Original Music Composed by Max DeVincenzo and Produced by Fox Tracks Music
With help from Brannan Goetschius and Michael Fische

All interviews (unless otherwise noted) conducted by Mathew Klickstein.

Principal interviewees/contributors (in alphabetical order):

Al Jean, Anthony Russo, Barry Alfonso, Barry Short, Bill Lund, Bill Mumy (provided by contributor), Bill Schanes, Bjo Trimble, Bob Arendt, Brinke Stevens, Bruce Campbell, Caseen Gaines, Chuck Graham (provided by SDSU), Clayton Moore, Dave Clark, Dave Scroggy, Erin Hanna, Gene Henderson, Greg Bear, Gregory Benford, Gus Krueger, Felicia Day, Frank Miller, Ho Che Anderson, Igor Goldkind (provided by SDSU), Jackie Estrada, Jeanne Graham (provided by SDSU), Jim Cornelius, Jim Means, Jim Valentino, Joe Russo, John Pound, John Trimble, Kevin Eastman, Linda Yeh, Lloyd Kaufman, Kevin Smith (provided by contributor), Len Wein (provided by M. Klickstein archive), Maggie Thompson, Mark Evanier, Mike Towry, Mo Alzmann, Neil Gaiman (provided by contributor), Paul M. Sammon, Phil Yeh, Richard Alf (provided by KPBS), Richard Butner, Rick Geary, Roger Freedman, Scott Aukerman, Scott Shaw!, Sergio Aragonés (provided by contributor), Stan Sakai, Tim Seeley, Trina Robbins, Wendy All.

We are grateful to the family of Mary and Gene Henderson (who, sadly, passed away during the final stages of Comic-Con Begins' post-production). This production is dedicated in part to their memory, as well as the memory of the many Con contributors no longer with us but whose legacy will continue to live on for time immemorial.

Archival material and additional research provided by: 

Mike Towry and his “Comic-Convention Memories” website.

Alan Light’s 1975 Comic-Con recordings 

Jackie Estrada and Comic-Con’s 40th Anniversary Souvenir Book

Pamela Jackson and San Diego State University’s Comic-Con

Kids project 

Maureen Cavanaugh at San Diego’s KPBS

Mark Evanier

Scott Shaw!

Barry Alfonso

Erin Hanna and her book Only at Comic Con

Bjo Trimble and “The Star Trek Concordance”

The works of Bill Schelly

Wendy All

Fantagraphics’ “We Told You So: Comics As Art

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