Last weekend (20th-22nd April 2018), the Town & Country Resort and Convention Center in San Diego played host to the sixth year of a convention that has a simple remit: taking the comic convention of the city that has grown into the behemoth that it is back to its core roots, while celebrating the history and legacy of comics and pop culture in a smaller, more intimate surrounding. With San Diego Comic Fest having a number of the original SDCC creators at its inception, the show faces the challenge of retaining its ‘con-in-a-hotel-ballroom, trestle tables, spit and sawdust’ ethos while attracting world-class creatives and growing in popularity itself.
Thankfully, Event Chairman Matt Dunford, in his second year in the role, tackles that challenge head-on by curating a show that doesn’t play a catch-all game with its content, carefully choosing some unique, legacy subjects which fascinate, entertain and inspire in equal measure.
The San Diego Comic Fest was born, of course, out the desire by some of the original creators of the San Diego Comic-Con to return to the convention’s more humble roots – but no-one can deny the impact that SDCC has had, not only on popular culture at large but also on the city that it calls home. Amazing talent has been brought each year to San Diego… and none more so than in the summer of 1977, when nerd culture broke into the mainstream with incredible science fiction releases, classic comic book runs, amazing animation series… and, of course, STAR WARS!
Guests to the 1977 San Diego Comic-Con included the likes of Robert Heinlein, Carl Barks, C. C. Beck, Joe Shuster, Bob Kane, Harvey Kurtzman, Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, B. Kliban, Alex Niño (who did the souvenir book cover), Joe Kubert, Trina Robbins, Steranko, Theodore Sturgeon, Walter Gibson, Stan Lynde, Bob Clampett, Russ Manning, June Foray, and Bill Scott (voice of Bullwinkle), Sergio Aragones… the talent list that was on display is just incredible!!
Here, moderator (CCI Committee Member, Eisner Awards Administrator and legendary comics fandom member) Jackie Estrada talks to a cracking line-up of guests and attendees Mark Evanier, Eugene “Gene” Henderson, Steve Leialoha, David Scroggy, William Stout and Phil Yeh about their memories of the Magic Year of 1977.
Thanks to Matt and his team, allowing us permission to record and present this panel.