This past weekend marked the anniversary of C2E2 2020, otherwise known as the last major in-person convention. The COVID-19 pandemic caused all the other cons of 2020 to cancel or postpone their in-person events, and the lingering effects of the pandemic have already taken a toll on 2021. Last month it was announced that WonderCon 2021 would be an online-only event, and now Comic-Con has released a statement that they will also be postponing the in-person festivities for SDCC 2021, instead hosting another (albeit smaller) free Comic-Con@Home event. Additionally, San Diego Comic Con plans to hold a smaller in-person event in November, though details on that are still to come.
— San Diego Comic-Con (@Comic_Con) March 1, 2021
The statement, released via Comic-Con’s social media channels, outlines the organization’s decision-making process, which takes into account “information from local and national healthcare officials as it pertains to the COVID-19 pandemic.” Convention attendees, who already had their 2020 badges roll over into 2021, will again have badges carried over to 2022. As for the length reduction for the Comic-Con@Home, the statement cites the cancellation of in-person events as leading to a budget crunch that necessitated hosting a shorter virtual show than last year.
Last year’s virtual Comic-Con@Home was consisted largely of pre-recorded Zoom panels of varying degrees of quality, with a lot of panelists still figuring out how to best use virtual meeting technology. The overall lack of any interactive elements with fans was also a big detractor from many ‘attendees’ overall excitement for the event, which at times felt more like attending a lecture than a comic convention. Other virtual cons like last year’s DC Fandome event felt like a much more communal experience, and were presented in a slicker fashion than Comic-Con@Home’s plain YouTube links. It seems likely that Fandome will return, and it would be a surprise if Marvel didn’t follow suit in some capacity with their own virtual con.
The full text of San Diego Comic Convention’s statement is below. This year’s Comic-Con@Home event will be held from July 23rd through the 25th, and the in-person SDCC will return in 2022.
STATEMENT REGARDING COMIC-CON 2021
As you may be aware, due to concern for public health and safety, San Diego Comic Convention had to cancel both of its in-person events in 2020 and recently announced that our spring 2021 show, WonderCon in Anaheim, will also be canceled. In its place, WonderCon@Home will once again be held as a free online event on March 26 and 27, 2021.
It is the policy of the organization to continue to closely monitor information from local and national healthcare officials as it pertains to the COVID-19 pandemic. Never could we have imagined what the world experienced in 2020 and continues to experience today. While we are buoyed by the rollout of the vaccine and the growing number of individuals being inoculated, it appears that July will still be too early to safely hold an in-person event of the magnitude of Comic-Con. For this reason, we have made the challenging decision to postpone Comic-Con 2021 as an in-person gathering until our 2022 dates, and once again hold this year’s celebration as the free online Comic-Con@Home. Unfortunately, the challenges of this past year and the multiple postponements of our two largest events have left us with limited financial resources, so this year the online experience will be reduced to a three-day event, spanning July 23-25, 2021.
While we lament the postponement of the in-person Comic-Con, our commitment to this community of fans and our celebration of comics and the related popular arts endures as an important part of who we are. As the timing and scope of our larger event factored greatly into our decision to postpone, we believe that launching a smaller in-person event at a later time may be a safe alternative. For this reason, we are happy to announce that San Diego Comic Convention is planning to present a three-day in-person convention in San Diego in November. At this time, we are still working on specific details as to attendance capacity, badge cost, and related information, and those details will be forthcoming. Please continue to visit our website, comic-con.org, for official updated information as it becomes available.
At this time, individuals who have purchased badges that were rolled over to the 2021 show will have those badges automatically transferred to the 2022 event unless a refund is requested. To submit a badge refund request, visit www.comic-con.org/cci/comic-con-cancellationrefund-policy. All confirmed exhibitors with a rollover payment from Comic-Con 2020 will receive a separate email with instructions and deadlines for continuing to forward your payment on to Comic-Con 2022, or for requesting a refund. In addition, we are currently working on an option for those wishing to transfer their badge or exhibitor deposits/payments as full or partial payment towards our 2021 November event. Information will be forthcoming, so please watch your email inbox and the Comic-Con website for further details.
The past several months have taken a great toll on both families and friends, and we hope this effort is a small move toward a return to gathering as a community to not only celebrate popular art, but also friendship, education, and the enduring spirit of the fandom that is so much a part of Comic-Con. We thank you all for your continued and unwavering support during these most challenging times.
We look forward to seeing you in November!
–San Diego Comic Convention