From its humble origins as a fringe gathering of comic book fans in 1970, when barely 100 participants attended, Comic-Con has grown into one of the world’s biggest pop culture extravaganzas. These days it draws more than 130,000 eclectic attendees—gamers, anime devotees, and fantasy fans—to the San Diego Convention Center for four days of workshops, screenings, and previews of upcoming blockbusters. Comics still play a big role but you can also attend panel discussions featuring top stars and directors who come to promote works and speak to their most devoted fans. In 2014, Academy Award-winner Matthew McConaughey and director Christopher Nolan discussed Interstellar, while cast members from HBO’s Game of Thrones also appeared. Apart from what’s presented on stage, there’s a whole other show happening all over the convention center, with attendees dressing up in elaborate costumes mimicking their favorite characters.