The cancellation of San Diego Comic-Con left many Marvel fans disappointed.
The San Diego Comic-Con Convention (SDCC), or Comic-Con International, is a California NonProfit Public Benefit Corporation organized for charitable purposes and dedicated to creating the general public’s awareness and appreciation for comics and related popular art forms. The convention got its start in the 1970’s, and has been a household name ever since. Each year people travel from all over the world just to attend this event, with people even creating blog posts to help travellers make the most of their trip.
Comic-Con, which was slated to take place in July of this year, was yet another California business to be shut down due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. This was saddening news for Marvel fans, as this is the first time in 50 years that the event hasn’t taken place. Marvel fan and previous Comic-Con attendee Thomas Turner said, “It’s particularly painful and frustrating to see Comic Con Canceled when major sporting events are allowed to not only happen, but even happen with limited participants. It seems that state and local governments can find ways to allow sporting events to happen, but anything having to do with the arts (comics, theatre, music) is out of luck.”
The convention, which is known for being geared towards comic books and pop culture, was a place where many Marvel fans were able to get things like announcement dates for new editions of their favorite comic books. In the past, big names in the Marvel Cinematic Universe like Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow) and Natalie Portman (Who is set to take on the role of Thor) have appeared in a Marvel Panel at the convention, where they discuss the future of Marvel movies.
Although the event was cancelled Marvel decided that the best way to reach fans was to live stream, using ‘Comic-Con At Home,’ a website that anyone could use to watch. This event took place July 22-26, and allowed fans everywhere to experience what they love about the convention from home. The idea behind this was to give fans access to the event digitally, in order to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines. Another benefit to using this website? It was completely free. Even those who didn’t have tickets to San Diego Comic-Con could log on and participate in the events.
During ‘Comic-Con At Home’ Marvel previewed upcoming comic books, and showcased their Disney+ documentary, Marvel 616. While Marvel fans were kept up to date for comic book releases, previous events like Marvel Panels with stars from The Marvel Cinematic Universe weren’t able to take place. These meet and greets are typically something that Marvel fans look forward to when attending events.
San Diego Comic-Con merch is incredibly important to fans, because it adds to the convention experience. Marvel wanted to ensure that fans had access to San Diego Comic-Con exclusive merchandise. Their website published an article that showed fans photos of different Marvel merchandise, and included how fans can get access to it. SDCC also created merch for the 2020 event that was available for purchase on their website.
So what does this mean for the future of Comic-Con? According to their website, fans who purchased tickets for this year’s 2020 Comic-Con will have the choice to claim their refund, or to have their tickets transferred to the event for 2021. Comic-Con hotel affiliates also took care of fans, by cancelling all hotel reservations, and issuing guests a refund. I would be interested to see what the future of this convention looks like in a post COVID world. Will masks be required at next year’s Comic-Con? Will fans be required to maintain a distance of 6-feet apart? Will the event operate at a limited capacity? Only time will tell.