It looks increasingly as if the entire Spring schedule of comic cons – not to mention B2b gatherings and sporting events – will be postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. WonderCon, which draws about 60,000 people each year and is probably the second biggest show in Southern California, has just announced it is postponed:
To protect public health and slow the rate of transmission of COVID-19, the California Department of Public Health announced a recommendation that gatherings and events of more than 250 people should either be postponed or canceled. Comic-Con (organizer of WonderCon) will abide by this recommendation. Therefore WonderCon Anaheim, scheduled for April 10-12, 2020 in Anaheim, California, will be postponed until a later date. We will begin processing refunds in the coming days.
We continue to work closely with officials in San Diego and at this time no decision has been made regarding the rescheduling of Comic-Con slated to take place this summer; July 23-26, 2020. We urge everyone to follow the recommendations set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and your local health officials.
The state of California has announced that gatherings of more than 250 people were banned, so the postponement was a forgone conclusion after that.
With WonderCon postponed, the fate of SDCC 2020 remains up in the air. While many think in four months the pandemic will be more under control, and summer months will slow the spread, who foresaw all of this happening a few weeks ago? How I long for yesterday!
Elsewhere Ace Comic Con had planned its first show in the East since it launched with Ace Comic Con Northeast set for Boston March 20-22. The celeb attendance was aboslutely LOADED, with Chrises Evans and Hemsworth, Jake Gyllenhaal, Tessa Thompson, Ewan MacGregor and Hayden Christensen among many others. That show has now also been postponed.
To our valued fans, friends, and partners,
ACE Comic Con is an extended family. We feel like we know each one of you personally, and as much as we make you feel welcome into our lives a few times a year, you have been gracious in return. Yesterday, a State of Emergency was called in Massachusetts, and after many hours of consultation with the BCEC, a city owned facility, it was determined that running the event at its regularly scheduled date/time is not possible due to “force majeure.” We are working with the BCEC to reschedule the event, and we will do our best to bring ACE Comic Con Northeast back to Boston Strong!
We feel for anyone and everyone affected by the COVID-19 virus. Stakeholders in events like these include the fans, hotel employees, airline workers, city and state officials, security firms, car services, caterers, union workers and hundreds of hundreds of workers that put months and months of sweat and hard work into pulling these events off, our own staff included. We hope everyone stays safe and healthy, and to those already ill, we wish a speedy recovery.
Due to the volume, we expect you will receive your full refund within 30 days. We appreciate your patience and understanding. ACE Comic Con remains committed to its next event scheduled at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center on October 16-18, 2020. As we have done in the past, the goal is to provide you the greatest event ever, run by people who are as passionate about you! At ACE, you don’t just meet your heroes, you meet your superheroes! And we want to provide you with the absolute best experience you’ve come to enjoy. Please be thoughtful and understanding when posting on social media. Kindness in these times is invaluable.
Thank you and see you in October!
A few days prior, Ace had been moving forward and a few days ago a now-deleted Instagram post had said the show would go on – but with celebrity interactions severely curtailed, including no touching, standing far apart, people using hand sanitizer before entering photo area, and more.
A few events have managed to sneak between the cancellations, but with public gatherings increasingly banned, look for April’s events to get postponed as well.
WonderCon’s postponement, although painful, is a force majeure long planned for by CCI, the non-profit that runs WonderCon and San Diego Comic Con. They have a sizable war chest in case of a show being cancelled – and with their Southern California location, earthquakes and other acts of god were and are always a very real possibility.
As of this morning, Canada’s TCAF and VanCAF in May were scheduled to go on, but in a few weeks things could have changed there as well.
In the months leading up to the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, including Comics X Games in partnership with Hand Eye Society (May 8-10) and the Vancouver Comic Arts Festival (May 16-17), we wanted to update you on our plans.
At this point, both festivals will be moving forward, with enhanced cleaning procedures at venues, and additional cleaning/sanitizing materials made available to exhibitors and the public.
The health and the well-being of everyone involved is our paramount concern. We are closely monitoring updates from Centres of Disease Control, Emergency Management Agencies, the Public Health Agency of Canada, local health agencies, and other official sources for the latest risk assessment. At the time of writing (March 11, 2020), public health officials in Canada have assessed that the risk of COVID-19 transmission remains low, and they have specifically not requested that events be cancelled. We encourage individuals to seek direct updates from public health officials going forward. Regular updates from the Public Health Agency of Canada are being posted on their official website.
TCAF and VanCAF exist to support creators and generate professional, artistic, and opportunities to them, and we remain committed to that vision. We encourage creators to make the best choices for themselves, and weigh the pros and cons of any actions. If exhibitors at either show wish to cancel their participation, they may do so and receive a refund of table fees. We only ask that exhibitors please contact the appropriate email address (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com) as soon as possible to allow us to open up space on our waitlist. If you are exhibiting but unsure of your travel arrangements, please plan accordingly and book flexible travel options that will allow you to cancel or postpone with minimal financial penalty.
We will continue to update all of our exhibitors and the public on the situation as we move forward, and remain committed to clear communication with all parties. We have two months until our festivals begin, and we will be making frequent updates to exhibitors and the public in response to recommendations by public health officials.
Please don’t hesitate to be in touch with the TCAF and/or VanCAF teams in the weeks leading up to the festivals. We wish you, and the entire comics community, good health, and we’re looking forward to welcoming you in 2020 and the many years to come.
- The Staffs of TCAF, HES, and VanCAF
Additional resources from regional health authorities can be found at the following links:
The Beat will continue to monitor the announcements of postponements and cancellations, but in the meantime, please take this seriously and continue to practice good hygiene.