Sure, he's a genre icon now, but George R.R. Martin was always, first and foremost, a fan.
Martin famously spent his early years becoming a voice in comics and science fiction fandom. His letters to the editors at Marvel Comics were printed in the pages of Fantastic Four, and he became a contributor to various fanzines as a teenager, which brought him a connection to other fans via letters. So when it came time for the first ever comic book convention in New York City, he was naturally very interested.
The very first New York Comicon was held on July 27, 1964. The event, featuring booklet art by Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko and guests like Stan Lee's long-serving secretary, Flo Steinberg, was organized by Bernie Bubnis, Ron Fradkin and now-legendary comics creator Len Wein, who is said to have coined the word "Comicon" to describe the event. Though at least one other small fan gathering had already been held somewhere in the United States at that point, this event is now known as the origin of comic-book conventions, and Martin -- who wasn't even 16 yet -- was among the approximately 100 attendees.
Martin has also claimed that he not only attended the con, but was the first person to purchase a ticket, making him Comic-Con Attendee Number One for the ages. But is that true? According to Wein, who's been friends with Martin for decades, and according to Brian Cronin's Comic Book Legends Revealed, it is. George R.R. Martin was the first among eventual legions of fans to pay to attend a comic convention.
So Martin isn't just one of the most respected, acclaimed and best-selling genre authors of his generation. He's also got some one-of-a-kind nerd street cred.