A few years ago, it seemed inconceivable that the nation's largest de facto pop culture event, Comic-Con Intl., might occur anywhere other than its hometown of San Diego, where 300 like-minded enthusiasts first crowded into a hotel basement back in 1970.

Yet as the event has exploded in popularity over the past decade, organizers have found it increasingly hard to ignore the logistical limitations presented by wrangling more than 125,000 attendees into the San Diego Convention Center, where the show is booked through 2012. From fire-code violations to body-odor issues, overcrowding is the complaint on everybody's lips.

That means Comic-Con may have to embrace the marketing mayhem that became a fixture of E3 before it downsized a year ago. So, even with the convention locked into San Diego for the next four years, cities such as Las Vegas and Los Angeles are actively trying to lure Comic-Con away.

& #8226; Read the full Variety story .

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