comic con icon shel dorf

Every year fans from all over the globe truck it over to San Diego’s International Comic-Con to celebrate the best in comics, sci-fi, and fantasy. Shel Dorf was a comic book reader and collector who was one of the few pioneers who kicked off the annual gathering back in 1970. According to The Chicago Tribune, the comic connoisseur has passed away at the age of 76, but his impact will live on forever.

Dorf was considered one of the main draws to Comic-Con when it first debuted over three decades ago. Back then the crowd was a cumulative of 300 fans as compared to this past year’s 125,000. Dorf died Tuesday at Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego from complications related to diabetes, said his brother, Michael. He had been there for over a year suffering from the disease.

He was originally a 37 year old from Detroit who convinced a group of teenagers to stage a convention back in the 1970′s. Dorf stated in an interview in 2006 that he felt “the cartoonists who entertained the popular masses were not getting their fair share of recognition,” and thanks to his pioneering effort they now get that in spades. He stayed with the convention for about 15 years before he began to notice some unwelcome changes.

Due to the massive popularity of Comic-Con, it became a main attraction for Hollywood celebs as well as comic book artists. He was once quoted as saying that “Hollywood had hijacked it,”due to its expansion into video games and anime as opposed to concentrating on the core comic genre.

Even though many comic purists may agree with his opposition of the event in the later years, there’s no denying the early effect he had on the celebration. Comic-Con has become a phenomenon because of his idea to share an important part of his life with the masses.

Have you ever attended Comic-Con? Were you aware of Dorf’s influence?