It started out humbly enough: In July 2008, latimes.com launched the Hero Complex blog for fans of comic books, sci-fi and fantasy film and TV. It quickly gained a following among the self-described "fanboy" set -- so much so that in 2010, the Los Angeles Times Media Group decided to see if it could grow it into its own standalone brand.
It's well on its way. In the space of a year, the newly redesigned Hero Complex blog has spawned all manner of social-media-enabled offline events, most notably the first annual Hero Complex Festival (which featured Leonard "Spock" Nimoy and directors Christopher "Inception" Nolan and Ridley "Blade Runner" Scott). HC has also made itself a major presence at geek-fest Comic-Con, book festivals and film screenings and panels around town, often with advertiser backing and sponsor tie-ins. The deep integration into real-world events, meanwhile, has fed plenty of exclusive, fan-pleasing content back into the Hero Complex blog. A leading chronicler of the fanboy scene, in other words, is becoming a major scene-maker itself.