Ever since 2022, comic book / pop culture conventions are resuming with either strict health guildelines or none for those wanting that geek/media/nerd culture experience.
Over the Spring and Summer, the Pacific Northwest is very busy because Comic Cons in all its various iterations are resuming. It started with Fan Expo Vancouver in February 2022 and no Kevin Smith wasn’t at this latest. We are hoping that Jay and Silent Bob cancelled appearance prior to this pandemic mess will come back in a future event though!
Even though the province of British Columbia had a lot of health regulations to guide what these indoor shows can do or not, thankfully they were lifted in time for this event, and I had a terrific time. My con report can be read here.
In the past two months, we also had The Vancouver Retro Gaming Expo (June 25), Kelowna Fan Experience (July 15-17) and Anirevo Summer (July 29-31) in one side of the border, and the Washington State Summer Con 2022 (June 23-25) on the other. There were no reports from the groups I monitor to say there were lots of covid cases. Most of these events communicated that attendance is at the participant’s own risk, and none of them advertised what the entry requirement was. That was buried in their webpage’s FAQ under the Health and Safety section. Everyone accepts this pandemic is not going away, and it’s up to the attendee to decide on how to stay safe. The concensus is that people just want life to go on as “normal” as possible instead of living in constant worry.
Dec 2 to 5, 2021 Washington State Convention Center
The winter edition of Emerald City Comic Con is certainly heating up! In about three weeks, Tim Curry will grace the green stage with stories and fond memories of his work in films like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, IT and many more.
Despite a stroke which left him partially paralyzed and affected his ability to speak, he’s still able to perform and focuses more on voice-acting than being in front of the camera. This talent has been in the forefront of many fond animated works in the past and continues to do more work in the present. He was Mr. Curry in Paddington Bear, offered the occasional pain to Peter Pan and the Pirates as Captain James T. Hook and voiced Konk in Pirates of the Dark Water. He often continued to be a ‘mad doctor’ of sorts in many a cartoon, like Doctor Moroco in Transformers: Rescue Bots.
But its the live action works he’s best and fondly remembered for.
Those able to make it to Seattle’s seminal fandom exposition will be in for a thrill. Though not many remember his time in the recording studio making music, it’ll always be his forays into this scene that defined this man as a true entertainer.
Let’s just hope he’s ready to face the greatest challenge many similar events are facing, is having massive indoor events a good idea while the world is still in the midst of a pandemic?
By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
Appearing Dec 4th, 2021 Emerald City Comic Con (Dec 2-5)
From World Wrestling Entertainment’s ring to cinema’s silver screen, John Cena certainly made an impact. He follows after a small line of “athletes” turned actors who’s developing a splendid career in the latter. This veteran of crazy dramatics certainly shows he has the chops for good-hearted family films like Daddy’s Home to action-star material with Suicide Squad. In December, he’ll be making a one-day appearance at Emerald City Comic Con! Let’s just hope he’s ready to face the greatest challenge many similar events are facing, is having massive indoor events a good idea while the world is still in the midst of a pandemic?
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.
By 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.
When San Diego Comic-Con announced this morning that it’s cancelled for this year, other events must follow suit. This news was inevitable because of Wondercon preferring to err on the side of caution. With no surprise, Anime Expo 2020 is next to be cancelled until next year. In the Pacific Northwest, that means Emerald City Comic Con, managed by ReedPOP, should be brought back next year than continue this summer. I understand they are a business and is motivated to give a show (making a profit or not) than bite the bullet. When the grandmother of all pop culture events made the tough call, all other events should pay attention. Even concerts from the likes of ZZ Top and KISS are not likely to continue; It’s ironic to note that it’s not quite the “End of the Road” yet when it’s postponed.
Pushing a show to another season is not always the best idea. When Covid-19 is a virus that doesn’t pick who to infect and has no known medical cure, every mass gathering is just courting disaster and potential law-suits. The request by the government to the populace to stay at home is to mitigate the number of people getting infected. When stepping out for doing essential tasks is required, all the top doctors advice is to keep your distance away from other folks. Having as many barriers all around you might help prevent catching or spreading it, but there’s no guarantee.