Conventions

The Comic-Con Mess of 2021

If you’re like me, you’ve been missing cons. It seems like forever ago that we were cosplaying, interviewing, and chatting with friends for an entire weekend of fun. While the pandemic did dampen our fun for 2020, there has been some chatter lately about holding in-person conventions later this year. I’ve rounded up all the latest announcements I could find for you.

First off, let’s start with the one that’s created the biggest wave right now. San Diego Comic-Con went virtual last year to deal with COVID. From the media and fan side, this was a dream event to cover and watch. All the panels were live-streamed on Youtube, so everyone got to be involved with SDCC@Home as they dubbed it. In all honesty, it was great to watch panels from the couch in my PJs and not have to sleep on the ground to get a spot in the panel next to another sweaty human being. It became clear early though, that this year’s SDCC would indeed be down the same path as 2020. Before they could nail that coffin, though, they announced a smaller extra “SDCC Special Edition” over Thanksgiving weekend. This would be an in-person event at the same SDCC location. Fans erupted in confusion and cries of “What are you thinking?”. Many were convinced the annual July event was canceled altogether. SDCC assured everyone that “SDCC@Home” would return for 2021, and the regular SDCC Comic-Con in-person event would return in July 2022. This event in November is a separate “special edition” convention for fans wanting to do an in-person event, ultimately though it’s up to the state and city government if the event will actually be allowed to happen.

After SDCC dropped the “Special Edition” bomb, Reed Pop was the next convention company to declare their intentions for the rest of this year. In an email sent out to existing ticket holders, they announced they would be putting on the following events for this year:

  • Flordia SuperCon – Miami Beach Convention Center: September 10th – 12th, 2021
  • New York Comic Con – Javits Center: October 7th – 10th, 2021
  • Emerald City Comic Con – Washington State Convention Center: December 2nd – 5th, 2021
  • C2E2 – McCormick Place: December 10th – 12th, 2021

Reed Pop is already warning its fans there will be a strict: no handshakes, high-fives, or hugs policy during the convention. It also will be limiting the number of people in each building and the number of tickets sold. Thankfully they can use SuperCon as a test run before the even bigger NYCC Comic-Con a month later to fix any obvious problems. As someone who has been in Emerald City Comic Con before and visited Seattle in December, this isn’t ideal. ECCC usually uses two separate locations for this convention which are a good distance apart. If it were to rain or storm that weekend, it would be an utter disaster.

On the flip side, Creation Convention, the home to Supernatural, Stranger Things, and Star Trek conventions intends to still have its first in-person convention in Burlingame, California, this June. It will be a Supernatural Convention with Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, and Misha Collins, all scheduled to be in attendance. The only mention of COVID on the entire website is in the FAQ. The first statement is that these tickets are non-refundable even in the event of COVID. The second time is a general statement that by buying the ticket you are assuming the risk and won’t hold Creation Entertainment at fault for catching COVID or the common cold. They also have the right to remove you at any time if they think you may “pose a danger.” Fans really have no information on whether temperature checks, mask requirements, or even restrictions on celebrity interactions like Reed Pop have made clear for their conventions.

PAX is another convention system that has decided to go ahead with in-person events. It’s tentatively scheduled the events for the following dates:

  • PAX East – June 3 – 6, 2021
  • PAX West – September 3 – 6, 2021
  • PAX Aus – October 8 – 10, 2021
  • PAX Unplugged – December 10 – 12, 2021

Wizard World has survived this pandemic by offering free virtual events and panel series, and celebrity favorites. This is one convention that thought quickly and smartly. Frankly, these virtual events have been a huge hit with fans. They have had the ability to be able to buy autographs and 1:1 videos with their favorite celebrities mid-pandemic from the comfort of their own home. While it might not be the same as an in-person con, it did take the sting out of the pandemic. I’ve heard many uplifting moments between fans and celebrities via these 1:1’s, which really brings out the reason why these conventions are so important. Wizard World did have two events scheduled for 2021 in Chicago and Philadephia, but neither of these events has tickets available for purchase. I think it’s safe to say they may hold off until 2022 since the virtual convention idea works so well for them.

There are a few other major conventions who have made decisions like:

  • FanimeCon 2021 in San Jose, CA, was canceled
  • E3 will be all online starting June 12th for four days of gaming news and releases
  • FanExpo Vancouver has been postponed until February 2022.
  • Anthrocon 2021 has been canceled as well.
  • Silicon Valley Comic Con is now SiliCon and will be held on August 28th – 29th
  • DragonCon in Atlanta, Georgia is still being held on September 2nd – 6th

While the convention scene seems to be a mess, it’s safe to say we are all trying to get back to normal. Personally, if SDCC were smart, they would continue to have the panels live as they’ve done. Out of all the conventions, SDCC is almost impossible to get in and, frankly, the most expensive. Stop making it exclusive and make it more inclusive for your fans. I’m really impressed with how Reed Pop is handling these in-person events with its already strict restrictions. I think the way they handle these conventions could become the standard for how the rest of the companies move towards post-COVID.

Is there a convention you are waiting for an update on? Is there one we missed that still going on? Are you attending conventions or planning to stay at home? Leave a comment below and let me know!

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