In a move that could bring changes for the world’s biggest pop culture event, Comic-Con International executive director Fae Desmond has announced her retirement after 47 years working with the con.

Desmond has been associated with the San Diego Comic-Con, and CCI, the non profit that runs it, for much of the last 50 years. She started as a volunteer and rose through the ranks to become the organization’s very first employee, then general manager and eventually executive director. She had an instrumental role in guiding the sprawling event through its growth, especially after the sudden death of John Rogers, the president of the board of directors. 

“When I started volunteering for Comic-Con, I never imagined we would ever be where we are today,” Desmond said in a statement. “We focused on fulfilling our mission and providing the attendees, exhibitors, professionals, and our community with the best experience possible while doing so. That passion for the mission will not change when I leave. Comic-Con is being led by amazing people who are focused on our mission, education, and serving the community. I hope to continue to contribute as Comic-Con and Comic-Con Museum move into the future.”

CCI will continue to be run by the current president of the Board of Directors, Robin Donlan. Desmond will stay on for a few months during a transitional period although who will replace her was not announced.

I interacted with Faye all the way back in the 90s when we were both involved with Friends of Lulu, an organization to promote female participation in the industry. At the time, we often pointed out that Desmond was one of the most important people in the industry. She’s remained mostly behind the scenes for the last 30 years however, even as Comic-Con became an unstoppable juggernaut of entertainment. As the PR announcing her retirement noted, she was often first in line to take calls from “potential exhibitors, hoteliers, attendees, and even civic leaders.” Even the last Comic-Con without Hollywood was still a massive event involving thousands upon thousands of people, from every level of local and global society, from the return of DC Comics to the launch of India’s Project K, to the Congressional Popular Arts Caucus.

It’s a vast undertaking, and Desmond deserves all her flowers for shepherding it through all the mind-boggling growth the event has undergone.

As the pr noted, “We are grateful for her many years of dedication and commitment to the organization and the championing of comics and popular art as not only a viable artform, but one deserving of wider recognition. We are delighted she has agreed to stay on for a few months to assist with the transition and ultimately wish her a wonderful and well-deserved retirement.”

We wish Fae the same….while also wondering who will step into what is literally one of the most demanding jobs in the industry.

Editor’s Note: Because I’m an idiot, I misspelled Fae Desmond’s first name throughout this piece. Apologies. 



  1. I wish Fae the very best in her future endeavors.

    If it wasn’t for Fae Desmond, I probably wouldn’t have the enduring career in Hollywood as I do now. Even though I didn’t see eye to eye with her and Jim Pascoe on how I should’ve run the small press area at CCI:SD in the late ’90’s – she still found time to give me a glowing recommendation as a good reference when I was looking to score a gig with Warner Bros and that good will of gesture of hers got me in the door within the entertainment industry which has since snowballed into gigs with Paramount, Fox, and Sony. To this day, when I’m currently working as one of the site coordinators with the WGA and SAG strikers at the CBS Radford Studios, I’m reminded in some parts of how things used to be when I was working for her as the Small Press Coordinator.

    And I owe it all to Fae. So thank you.



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