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September 24, 2017

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Comic books still reign supreme at Comic-Con

SAN DIEGO--Amid the crush of "Twilight" fans and displays of upcoming movies and TV shows, the comic books that started it all at San Diego's annual Comic-Con are still there championing the heroes.

It was four decades ago that the first Comic-Con was held at an aging downtown hotel, attracting only a handful of major guests. This weekend, some 130,000 fans will roam the San Diego Convention Center at what has become the planet's premier pop-cultural carnival.

But make no mistake, Batman, the Con is still very much the comic-book fest that it once was.

Determined not to be eclipsed by Hollywood, hundreds of the industry's artists, writers and creators are attending Comic-Con this year, along with publishers ranging from DC Comics and Marvel to Image, BOOM! Studios, IDW Publishing and Oni Press.

"The comics are what I like to call the gooey center of all pop culture," said Joe Field, who owns a comic book store in Concord, California, and has gone to the convention annually for the past 25 years.

"Movies, TV and video games all spin out of the creativity of telling stories with words and pictures," said Field, who founded the industry's annual Free Comic Book Day. "That's why the San Diego Con has become this sort of beehive of pop culture activity, because comics are really the genesis of visual entertainment."

Running through Sunday, the convention provides a one-million-square-foot playground where comic creators, consumers, collectors or just the curious can interact with each other—many in costume.

"The thing I love about Comic-Con is people are allowed to become superheroes; the streets are thronged with all kinds of people dressed up as their favorite comic characters," said Grant Morrison, a longtime writer of comics who is helming the upcoming relaunch of DC's "Action Comics" in September.

"I've always loved that nonjudgmental thing. The world becomes this weird Fellini-esque reality for a few days," he said.

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