Shel Dorf, one of the creators of the San Diego Comic-Con, passed away November 3 of kidney failure at the age of 76.
Dorf ran Detroit’s “Triple Fan Fest” before moving to California. When he met Ken Krueger, owner of Alert Books in Ocean Beach, they gathered other enthusiasts and held the first Golden State Comic Con, at San Diego’s U.S. Grant Hotel in 1970.
Dorf led the convention for about 15 years, but as Mark Evanier tells it on his “News From Me” site, “There’s a long, uncomfortable story of how he came to be estranged from the organization. Many of us witnessed it (and tried to help) but it was one of those problems that just could not be solved, at least to his satisfaction.”
Dorf confessed to The San Diego Union-Tribune in a 2006 interview “We had no idea it would get this big. To me, it’s just become an ordeal. I don’t know of any way to make it smaller, though. I guess in some ways it’s become too much of a success.”
There remained bonds of respect and affection, however. Six of the original Comic-Con committee members visited Dorf in the hospital on October 17. And many others posted salutes to the Shel Dorf Tribute site before he died.