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Toucan: The Origin of the Species

1984 San Diego Comic-Con logo

Exactly why are we calling our new blog “Toucan”?

The answer goes back to the early 1980s, when San Diego–based cartoonist Rick Geary—who had done a number of drawings for the San Diego Comic-Con since the mid-1970s—came up with the toucan as a kind of mascot for the event. It was originally designed as an image for letterheads, mailings, ads, etc. Rick says, “At the time, I was big into animals in human clothing, so I drew this generic big-beaked bird, never intending it to be a toucan. Also, I understood at the time that this was just to be used for a few things. I had no notion of it becoming Comic-Con's permanent logo.”

1990s SDCC logo original art

Art by Rick Geary

Rick’s first image included the bird’s head beside a palm tree with a big “San Diego Comic-Con” next to it. And from there that little bird flew, becoming a part of a ton of Comic-Con printed material up until 1995, when the show's name changed to Comic-Con International: San Diego and adopted the iconic “eye” logo. The toucan and the eye didn’t quite see . . . well, eye-to-eye on this topic, as Rick’s cover illustration to the 1995 Souvenir Book shows (below left). The toucan took early retirement, but it came back sporadically for special events. In 2009, the bird was prominently featured on two covers (by Rick Geary, of course), celebrating the 40th anniversary of Comic-Con.

1995 CCI Souvenir Book cover

When we decided to start a blog in conjunction with the launch of the newly redesigned website, “Toucan” immediately sprung to mind as its title. It’s a part of the show’s 40-year-plus history, and an iconic image in and of itself. Rick Geary graciously agreed to do a set of new drawings of the Comic-Con bird exclusively for this blog, which we’ll be showcasing over the coming months.

The Toucan is back, in a big way, as part of Comic-Con International!

(Click the images for a closer look!)