A Gallery of Comic-Con in 1980

I didn’t realize until now just how long Comic-Con had been an event. I figure it started in the mid nineties somewhere, but as it turns out, it’s been around for a lot longer than that.

This rare photo gallery was taken at the event in 1980, and you can see just how humble it’s humble beginnings were. People still dressed up, but outside of a few Star Wars and superhero costumes, it almost looks like a renaissance fair. I’m sure that most of these people are trying to be specific characters, but I’ll be damned if I can place the vast majority of them.

In any case, it’s a rather hilarious look back at the past, and it’s fun to see how much cosplay and costuming has evolved over the last thirty years or so. See for yourself:

Creepy Yoda leads off the next set of photos on the next page.

  • J5

    This can all be summed up quite simply…. What the fuck?

  • andrew

    Those are hilarious. Gotta love the group of clowns. WTF.

    But in all seriousness, the Alien spacesuit complete with xenomorph head gets first prize by a mile.

    And the first pic caught me by surprise. I think Anna Paquin might be a time traveler.

  • jaromir

    Sometimes I’m glad that we live in a day of age where it is hip to be geek. Because of lot of these women look like dudes.

  • bill

    i agree with jaromir most of those women look like dudes. Either women have gotten a lot hotter over the years or hotter women are just finding it acceptable to dress up in costumes?

  • Grey

    Women have gotten hotter. Also, improvements in makeup and hair products have had a major effect as well. (Seriously, have you SEEN hair from the 70s and 80s?). New materials created since then allow for better looking costumes as well.

  • RemyCarreiro

    That lady up there doing Ripley with the Alien is actually pretty impressive. Yo Paul, jump on this. This NEEDS to be a coffee table book.

  • Mike

    I’m glad nerdy chicks are hot now.

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  • Tim

    Now that’s some cosplay I can get behind. Great stuff.

  • GW

    Does anyone want to take a stab at what they were dressed up as in these pics?

    BTW: The woman right above the snake lady, her dress matches the carpet.

  • Grant

    The wallpaper and carpet are hideous…

  • raven

    OK, Wilma Deering in the dress uniform from Buck Rogers (next to what I think is supposed to be the ape thing from the ST:TOS episode “A Private Little War” is pretty cool.

    Though not nearly as hot as Erin Gray…

  • Julie

    Not sure about some of them, but funny collar guy in 2nd to last pic page 2 is a Time Lord from Doctor Who.

    Is anyone else thinking the pink dress ladies were an attempt at Princess Peach?

    And yeah…not sure all those “women” are female.

  • ChrisHerself

    Christ you guys. Your social conditioning is showing. Here, I know just how to make them look more feminine for you all. Gimme a sec while I load this shotgun with fake eyelashes and pancake makeup and glitter.

    People didn’t spend thousands on their costumes back then. Or on breast augmentation. Nor was “professionally looking hot at Comic-con” considered a viable way to make an income until pretty recently.

    The “hot nerd girls” didn’t show up in droves until it became chic to be a voracious consumer of pop culture.

    Lastly, you realize that no one had Photoshop on their home computer then, right? Even a home computer was a stretch.

    Fap to whoever you want. GTFO if you’re gonna rip apart normal women from 30 years ago. CC is still awesome as hell, but these nerds are far more legit than most of the pretty young women you’ll see this year.


  • James

    No way! A guy doing Charlton Heston’s portrayal of Moses in the second-to-last picture!

  • Wite Boy

    the luke skywalker looks just like him, cept for that cheesy 80’s pornstache

  • Clay

    You can definitely tell this was before “Return of the Jedi”. All the women are wearing something other the the slave Leia bikini.

  • Ben

    The guy in the orange and red with a fencing foil and a chalice is King Random of the Court of Amber.

    The caped tiger headed guy is basically right out of a D&D monster compendium. I forget the name of the creatures, Radajasks or something, but they had feline faces, their hands pointed palm out, and they were high level extra planer bad guys.
    (there are quite a few others that look to be sourcing out of those books)

    My guess is the red head with the headdress, mini shorts, and matching cape is going for an ElfQuest look. ElfQuest actually can answer for a whole lot of these costumes.

    I am going to guess that the couple in black with the white make up and masks are going for a Dancers at the End of Time look but that is only one of many possibilities.

    The three guys at the bottom look Battlestar Gallactica esque but their color scheme is wrong. If they were in brown instead of black… DnD had put out a space pirate thing that they would fit into.

    Basically Zelazny, Moorcock, ElfQuest, and DnD can explain all of the costumes that do not fit into “star wars” but many of them could be from any of those sources as the tropes overlapped like mad.

  • Dudley D.

    Are we sure some of these “women” aren’t trannies/men? *shudder* :S

  • micdavis

    I do not believe those pics are either Comic-Con or 1980.

    Looks more like ’82 to ’84 and probably a Western Con in Los Angeles.

    I know several of the folks in those costumes and attended that Con.

    Costuming was far better then, than it is now. The overall costume quality at Cons had done nothing but decline in 30 years. With many notable exceptions of course.

    A lot of what I see out there is pretty weak.

  • Janna


    Thank you! I love this site and the comments, but damn you guys can be jerks to your women.

  • Jake Stone

    “just how humble it is humble beginnings were”

    What does that mean?

  • @Jake Stone

    Yup, this never, ever gets old.

  • Chris

    These pics are not from the 1980 S.D. Comic Con.

  • anon

    Being a girl over here, I agree with you all, we nerd ladies have definitely gotten better looking…