The 10Best Readers’ Choice Award contest is highly regarded in the travel industry, and this year’s competition saw tens of thousands of votes cast by members of the public.
Jackie Estrada helped San Diego Comic-Con become the international sensation that it is today. She is one of only five confirmed people who have been to every single San Diego Comic-Con since it started in 1970.
Estrada edited several of the souvenir books through the years and helped curate the “Cover Story” exhibit at the museum that showcases every cover of the San Diego Comic-Con souvenir books. She also loaned the museum some original pieces from her private collection to help showcase 50 years of complete history.
“It’s a dream come true because, you know, back in those days, comics were not exactly considered art,” Estrada said.
Comic-Con Museum executive director Rita Vandergaw says the museum is a celebration of the historic and ongoing contribution of comics to art and culture.
Vandergaw says the contest featured prominent museums from across the U.S., but they took the prize by popular vote.
“It’s stunning,” she said. “I mean, for us to be recognized as the top pop culture museum, we’ve only been open for less than a year and a half.”
Vandergaw hopes winning the honor sparks more awareness of and appreciation for comics and other art forms.
“The goal, of course, is to live up to it and to have people say, ‘Yeah, that’s really cool. That’s different, that’s unique, that’s engaging, fun and educational for everybody,'” she said.
Estrada is now the Eisner Awards administrator, comics’ most prestigious awards program. She hopes everyone can appreciate how the magic of Comic-Con has grown through the years as they look back on its humble beginnings.
“There were actually people dressed up in costume, so cosplay before it was called cosplay,” she said. “Comic book people, science fiction, fantasy fans. All the things that you see at Comic-Con today had their origins in these early, early years.”
The Comic-Con Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, with the last entry at 4 p.m.