As reported from

Richard Alf, one of the founders of Comic-Con, died Wednesday from pancreatic cancer. He was 59.

The comic-book lover served as the chairman of the first Comic-Con at San Diego's U.S. Grant Hotel in 1970. Alf also helped front the money to get the gathering up and running, Co-founder Mike Towry told U-T San Diego.

The three-day annual gathering has become a phenomenon, drawing a heavy Hollywood presence in recent years as the movie business has put an increasing emphasis on superhero films such as "Batman" and "Spider-Man."

Alf, however, had long since left the volunteer position before Comic-Con became a signature events for geeks across the globe.

Alf went on to found a comic-book store, Comic Kingdom, in the late '70s and became involved in stock trading and outdoor advertising, according to U-T San Diego.

In 2009, Alf and his co-founders were saluted at Comic-Con for their role in creating the iconic festival.

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