The History and Evolution of Motor City Comic Con

Michigan’s Motor City Comic Con just celebrated its thirtieth convention May 17 through May 19. The event was the biggest for the Detroit, Michigan comic book convention with expanded space, more events and more celebrities than ever before. One of many United States’ comic book conventions, the Motor City event has grown in popularity through its thirty year history and continues to attract fans of comic books and other related media including films and television. Today the Detroit convention is one of the longest running comic book and pop culture fan celebrations. Here is the history and evolution of Motor City Comic Con

Preceding Events

Before the Motor City Comic Con began in 1989, the convention had some small predecessors. The Detroit Triple Fan Fair was founded in 1965 and went on for another twelve years. King Kon was founded by Gary Reed in 1984 and held events for the following two years. Reed was a graduate student at the time and wanted to revive the celebration of comic books and pop culture for fans. Reed was a comic book writer and publisher who went on to help launch McFarlane Toys.

Founding of Motor City Comic Con

Comic book writer and shop owner Michael Goldman wanted to revive the convention for comic book and pop culture fans. Inheld 1989 Goldman held the first Motor City Comic Con at the Dearborn Civic Center. Gary Bishop managed the event from its start until 2007. The original Motor City Comic Con featured several events during the year. In 1992 the convention held the first Don Thompson Awards “The Thompsons”. The following year, the convention held two events, a two day festival in the Fall at the Dearborn Civic Center and a three day festival in the Spring at the Novi Center in suburban Detroit. Events included in the convention were an annual Red Cross Blood Drive and an annual charity art auction to raise funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Evolution of Motor City Comic Con

When the Motor City Comic Con was founded in 1989 there were 2,500 attendees. Ten years later the convention had over 10,000 attendees and Goldman claimed that it was the third largest comic con in the United States. In 2003 the convention began to welcome film and televisions to the convention as well as comic book creators. The convention was held at the Novi Expo Center but moved to the larger Rock Financial Showplace (now called the Suburban Collection Showplace) in 2005.

Mirian Krugar became the Motor City Comic Con Event Director in 2010. The main convention was held in the Spring and featured celebrity guests, panels, workshops and exhibits. The Fall convention was eliminated as attendance continued to rise at the Spring convention. In 2012 there were 18,000 attendees. 2019 saw more than 60,500 attendees. In 2018 Motor City Comic Con attendees were treated to an appearance by comic book legend Stan Lee.

2019 Motor City Comic Con

This year’s Motor City Comic Con is the bigger and better than ever. The event included many celebrations of the convention’s thirty year history in honor of its thirtieth anniversary. The 2019 Motor City Comic Con was held Friday, May 17 through Sunday, May 19. It was held at the expanded Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, Michigan. The convention center recently added 180,000 square feet, so the Comic Con had much more event space to work with.

2019’s Motor City Comic Con featured its usual events for attendees. As usual costume clad attendees were able to enjoy a variety of comic and pop culture related activities. These include exhibits, workshops and celebrity panels for “Q & A” sessions. Attendees could meet celebrities in “Artists’ Alley” for autographs and photo ops. Other events included gaming activities, “How To’s”, Sketch Duels, Speed Dating and a Cosplay Contest. Motor City’s Comic Con featured a variety of kid friendly activities and special Saturday night event. In addition to all of the fun activities, exhibits and interactive experiences that comic book and pop culture fans experienced at this year’s Motor City Comic Con, a great show of celebrities made everyone’s weekend.

Fans were treated to “Q & A” panels, autographs and photo ops with the stars of movies and television series including “Star Trek”, “The Incredible Hulk”, “The Walking Dead”, “Monty Python”, “Game of Thrones” and even “The Brady Bunch” and “Happy Days”. “Star Trek” fan fave George Takai showed to the convention. A few stars of “The Office” came including Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute) who also starred in “Star Trek: Discovery”, Brian Baumgartner (Kevin), Leslie Baker (Stanley) and Creed Bratton (Creed). “Dr. Who” fans got to see David Tennant and Freema Agyeman. Horror fans got to see Nick Castle who played Michael Myers in the original 1978 “Halloween” and Henry Thomas who played Elliott in last year’s Netflix hit “The Haunted Hill House”. Alana Masterson (Tara) from “Walking Dead” was there as well as Kristiain Naim (Hodor) from “Game of Thrones”. Elizabeth Berkley and Mark-Paul Gosselar from “Save By the Bell” were there. So was Neve Campbell from the cult classic “Scream”.

Even stars of classic 1970’s shows were at Motor City Comic Con to meet fans. Barry Williams (Greg) from “The Brady Bunch” and Henry Winkler (Fonz) from “Happy Days” were at the convention. Fan favorite John Cleese (“Monty Python”) delighted fans. Comic book and pop culture fans continue to flock to Detroit’s Motor City Comic Con thirty years since its debut. The event offers fans a chance to dress in their favorite costumes, mingle with other fans, participate in activities, workshops and parties, and meet their favorite stars. Motor City Comic Con continues to attract fans of all sorts of pop culture including comic books, pop culture, science fiction, horror, anime, manga, animation, fantasy novels, pro wrestling, webcomics, game card collectors and video games. As one of the biggest and best comic fan conventions in the world, Motor City Comic Con is sure to continue to attract large crowds for three days every May.

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