Comic-Con hits 50: from fandom hotel basement celebration to greedy Hollywood hangout

The sprawling convention today draws Hollywood A-listers like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Patrick Stewart and the cast of “Game of Thrones” to its frantically hyped panels, where billion-dollar franchises are launched.

But the first iteration — the brainchild of an unemployed 36-year-old comic collector and his five teenage acolytes — drew just 100 people to a seedy hotel basement down the road in March 1970.