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U-T San Diego reported that Alf joined up with a band of volunteers in 1970 to help start the now-annual convention celebrating comic books and pop culture.

Friend and fellow Comic-Con co-founder Mike Towry said Alf fronted the money to pay for the convention for the first three years and gave other co-founders rides in his car.

In 1970, the first Comic-Con was relatively modest compared to the convention that now draws more than 125,000 people to San Diego every summer for a three-day extravaganza.

Alf also founded the Comic Kingdom shop in North Park in the 1970s.

He was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer in December.

Compiled from Web and wire service reports.