Comic-Con is an Economic Monster

Geeks of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your mint-condition, plastic-wrapped first editions of “Fantastic Four” comics from the 1970s, or maybe that set of lobby cards from the “Terminator 2″ movie.

The nerd universe converges on San Diego this week for the four-day Comic-Con (pictured), which opened on Thursday. About 130,000 fans of pop culture — many sporting costumes from their favorite movies, television shows, video games, graphic novels, manga and anime — are expected to attend the sold-out event.

Comic-Con evolved from a relatively low-key gathering of sci-fi and comic book aficionados in the 1970s into a full-blown marketing event and the world’s third-largest comic convention.. It’s also become a destination for Hollywood actors and studios plugging a movie — and for entertainment and technology companies with something new to sell adoring fans.