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Comic-Con cements itself as an international star

From its humble beginnings down in the basement of San Diego's US Grant hotel, the 38th annual International Comic-Con has managed to grow into a massive social phenomenon, which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the globe. (video)

No longer relegated to obscurity, the International Comic-Con has also managed to become an integral part of San Diego's economy as America's Finest city eagerly opens the doors of its convention center for more and more attendees each year.

Unfortunately some of those conventioneers would have to be turned away this year, as the event has become so large that for the first time in the convention's history, all tickets were sold on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

So what change has occurred that makes comics such a huge draw today?

First and foremost, comic books are no longer viewed as simply a type of entertainment geared toward children. As a society we are now coming to view comics as a true form of art and thanks in no small part to Hollywood, blockbuster movies such as "Spiderman," "Ghost Rider" and "Blade" have all helped to solidify this change in perception.

If this all sounds familiar it's for good reason: This is almost the exact same kind of social transformation that the video game industry has undergone.

It is also a key reason why video games have gone from a market viewed as simply "kid's stuff," to a multi-billion dollar a year juggernaut.

So it only makes sense for video games to share some of the spotlight with comics, especially as the line between the two becomes increasingly blurred.

A perfect example of this type of crossover is 2K Games' recently released first-person shooter, "The Darkness." This title started out as a comic book by Top Cow Productions and was already considered a commercial success in its own right long before being turned into a game.

And of course you can't mention cross-genre these days without talking about "Halo."

This video game has managed to permeate its way into just about every creative medium available.

That being said however, people looking to Comic-Con for earth-shattering game announcements or for publishers to roll out special pre-release builds just for the event will be sorely disappointed.

In fact this year's biggest game announcements were that LucasArts is currently making "Lego: Indiana Jones" and that there are plans to bring television shows "Lost" and "Heroes" from the small screen into games.

So for many what Comic-Con holds is a chance to get their hands on some games that won't be out until next year or perhaps onto some that may have been missed during one of the gaming industry's other tradeshows.

It is also the main reason why many refer to the event as the "unofficial post-E3 party."

And while the E3 the industry once knew is gone, it's nice to see that this year's Comic-Con still lives up to that moniker.

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