7. The Hotel Pennsylvania Hosted a Pre-Cursor to Comic Con
The Hotel Pennsylvania hosted countless conventions throughout its 100+ year run. One of the most influential was the International Convention of Comic Art which started in 1968. Before the organized convention, comic book fans met informally. George R.R. Martin says he got the first ticket to New York City’s first Comic Con, which took place in 1964 in Greenwich Village with around fifty people. The convention at the Statler-Hilton was born out of comic book fan meetings organized by Phil Seuling, an English teacher at Brooklyn’s Lafayette High School.
The inaugural event included guests of honor like Stan Lee and Burne Hogarth. The annual convention took place over Independence Day weekend from 1968 through 1983. The International Convention of Comic Art was the first and largest convention of its type until the 1980s. By that time, fandoms and comic book companies in other cities had begun to organize and San Diego’s Comic-Con soon became the dominant convention.