Just because bad news is inevitable or expected, doesn’t make it suck less. That’s exactly how geeks around the world must have felt this weekend past when it was officially announced that San Diego Comic-Con (aka Comic-Con International) has been cancelled for this year. With the COVID-19 pandemic rampaging across the world, and America being the most hard-hit country (they have over 760 000 cases and over 40 000 deaths), the organisers had no choice but to scrap this year’s event which had been scheduled for July.
Just to make this even worse, this year’s event would have marked the 50th anniversary of SDCC since it started on 21 March 1970 as the Golden State Comic Book Convention. This is the first time in that half-century history that the convention has been cancelled. This was revealed via the event’s official website:
For the first time in its 50-year history San Diego Comic Convention (SDCC), the organizers behind the annual pop culture celebration, announced today with deep regret that there will be no Comic-Con in 2020. The event will instead return to the San Diego Convention Center from July 22-25, 2021.
Recognizing that countless attendees save and plan for its conventions each year, and how many exhibitors and stakeholders rely upon its events for a major portion of their livelihood, they had hoped to delay this decision in anticipation that COVID-19 concerns might lessen by summer. Continuous monitoring of health advisories and recent statements by the Governor of California have made it clear that it would not be safe to move forward with plans for this year.
Along with SDCC, the organisers also revealed that WonderCon Anaheim – which should have been held a week ago – now has a new date of 26-28 March 2021. The planned grand re-opening of the Comic-Con Museum has also been delayed to 2021, as required renovations to Balboa Park Federal Building cannot be completed. Any individuals who have already purchased badges or booked accommodation through Comic-Con’s official hotel partners will be contacted in the next few days and given the option of requesting a refund or a transfer to SDCC 2021.
The biggest and most well known comic book and pop culture convention in the world, SDCC attracts in the region of 135 000 attendees yearly. While it may have been purely dedicated to comics in the past, it has become a massive entertainment event with major Hollywood studios and TV networks now dominating the stages each year. SDCC’s famed Hall H has been the venue for some of the biggest reveals in the movie business over the last few years. As such, you have to wonder what these studios are planning now. Usually the footage of upcoming blockbusters or the like shown at SDCC is exclusive for attendees and not shared outside of it. This helps to build massive hype to these productions. Now that can’t happen anymore.
Would the likes of Marvel Studios, Warner Bros, Sony, Universal, and Paramount maybe do all their announcements and releases online? Or just do and say nothing at all? Marvel still has Disney’s D23 Expo (although it will more than likely also be cancelled) but the others don’t have a platform that even comes close in terms of reach and exposure. We’re in uncharted waters here, so it will be interesting to see how the big players react.
Would you prefer if these studios did all their reveals online? And if any of you answer “No” to that question, then please stop lying to yourself. I’ve never been fortunate enough to attend SDCC (it’s a major bucket list item) and every year, while I cover the event via second-hand info all the way from my couch here in SA, the FOMO hits hard. Yes, a YouTube video stream definitely won’t be the same, but I will gladly take it. Hell, even if they were to paywall their “event” to keep the exclusivity, I would still take it.
Last Updated: April 20, 2020