Comic Cons, Concerts and Concerns in the Midst of a Continuing Pandemic

18 Feb

20200215 120548By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Usually around this time, I’d be planning (or have attended) a pop culture convention by now. Emerald City Comic Con may run their 2021 event at the end of the year, but by then, are we sure it’ll happen when information of COVID-19 variants is the new concern? We’re in a pandemic, and although a vaccine is available, it’s not guaranteed to completely placate the virus. LiveScience published an article explaining how they work. People can still be carriers and not show any symptoms.

Plus, not everyone are able to get the shot right away. The rollout will target particular public health sectors first, before the public, and most regular joes–the fandom–is last in line. Changes to these events are expected because any show that doesn’t incorporate safety measures as a precaution is not only hazardous to everyone’s health but also a breeding ground for another wave.

As much as I like to resume that life of an avid con goer in a normally busy month of March, I don’t see myself feeling comfortable being at one unless these events invest in “the new norm” which includes plexiglass barriers to put between fans, dealers and guests along with many sanitizing stations. Whether that’s with ultraviolet portals to pass through or a table with cleansing dispensers, it won’t be enough. The shows that want to take place sooner than later may include waivers for everyone to impress their fingerprint upon so that the company can’t be sued if an attendee gets sick.

Lineups must be controlled. I foresee folks being given a numbered ticket to show when they can come back and be sorted to rooms. These passes are on a first come first serve basis and when they’re gone, they’re gone. No extra heads will be allowed in. On this list includes getting in line to see a talent for an autograph. Anyone who has attended San Diego Comic Con knows this already.

I also predict the following coming into place.


  • Heavily reduced entry portals to the exhibitors’ and panel rooms.
  • Masks (and gloves) required while at certain parts of the building.
  • Food Services and resting areas moved to outside of the venue.
  • Photo-op / autograph prices going up due to the risk factor involved (which includes meet n’ greets).

Concerts & Sporting Events

  • Distributed or reduced seating capacity.
  • All merchandise listed online and available to order at stalls to get mailed instead of purchasing at the show.
  • Private areas / booths (for small parties) may become the norm for those who can afford it.

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This virus is not likely to disappear either. All it takes is one sourpuss to ruin an event for everyone else. I probably dodged the bullet last year because some of the earliest cases were at a Dentist’s convention, which occurred in the same building where Fan Expo Vancouver took place. Only a tape barrier separated fans from dental people.

Even for my home grown show, Capital City Comic Con, the committee here isn’t ready to offer a date. It won’t be in March–B Woodward of Cherry Bomb Toys confirmed they will make an announcement when they know more about what’s going on about the spread in Vancouver Island.

Plus, until travel is fully open to allow for talents to visit, no show is likely to take place. It’s possible to go to Hawaii, but the governments and airports require proof before anyone can board. Not everyone can be tested fast enough because anything can happen in the meantime.

The only safe events are the online ones where a webcam is required. While it’s good for fans wanting to meet guests, the experience is not perfect. It lacks a certain “real life” magic that these conventions are known for, including the fun silly randomness which occurs in the show floor. My most memorable moment was at ECCC, where Slimer was being chased by the Ghostbusters with the saxophonist playing the theme song!

The dates being offered for upcoming events are placeholders. It’s a consolation so fans have an idea when a nerd’s life might be okay to resume.

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