The market for comic and mutli-genre conventions has never seemed so crowded — this year alone, more than 400 Comic Con-esque conventions happened all over North America, ranging from the small (like the Southern Maryland Comic-Con, which has four special guests) to the large (like New York Comic Con, which had over 500).
There are now conventions geared toward almost any and every specific interest you could possibly have — want more Doctor Who? Head to Gallifrey One. Love Power Rangers? Check out Power Morphicon. Are you a furry? There are at least 13 conventions in North America to choose from.
Yet no matter how many conventions come onto the scene, the one held as the pinnacle of everything that a “Comic Con” should be is still San Diego Comic-Con. While it wasn’t the first comic-fan convention, it’s long held the crown as the largest, the one with the most buzz surrounding it, and in our opinions, the best. But why is that?
It’s certainly been around long enough to gain its reputation as North America’s favorite multi-genre convention. The first SDCC was held in 1970, 43 years ago. That can’t be the only reason for its fame though — by contrast, New York Comic-Con is the second largest pop culture convention, and it recently celebrated only its seventh year.
Many other conventions have gained a loyal following (including some of our favorites, like D23 and WonderCon) — yet there’s just something about San Diego Comic-Con. Is it the square footage, the amount of panels, amount of attendees?
Here’s an overview of the convention in 2013:
Let’s take a look at how it compares to some of our other favorite conventions (click for a larger version):
Of course, even this doesn’t tell the complete picture. Some conventions are better than others at fostering a sense of community outside the convention center, some offer more autograph and photo opportunities with celebrities, and some focus more on the quality of their exhibitors and vendors. Our very own Shawn Marshall and his The_Con_Fluence_Covers recently developed their own classification system, to help attendees figure out whether a convention meets their specific desires.
No matter what you’re looking for in a convention, though, these days it’s easier than ever to find one that suits your needs — and a large part of that growing popularity is due to SDCC.
For a more in depth look at how these conventions compares to SDCC, check out our individual reviews of each convention:
Do any of these numbers surprise you? How do you think San Diego Comic-Con stacks up to your favorite, or local, convention? Let us know in the comments!
*All numbers pulled directly off convention websites or gathered through correspondence with convention PR. Website links:
Graphics and additional reporting by Sarah Lacey.