Two weeks ago, Comic-Con didn’t want to confront the truth, that holding a gigantic convention that brings together tens of thousands of people from all over the world in the middle of a global pandemic is a terrible idea — if not utterly impossible in light of travel restrictions and local lockdown orders. Today, they conceded to reality. On their official website, they announced that the 2020 San Diego Comic is officially canceled.

It is the first time in the con’s 50-year history that the show has been called off. (Their previously postponed WonderCon event in Anaheim has now been canceled as well.) More, from their announcement:

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.

Officials in California have recently talked about how mass gatherings like Comic-Con will not become more likely until successful treatments or vaccines for coronavirus can be found. Their rough timeline suggests that these kinds of gatherings shouldn’t be expected (at least in California) until 2021. And right now, that is Comic-Con’s plan: to return to San Diego on July 22 to 25, 2021.

Still, this is a huge loss — both for fans who look forward to Comic-Con all year long, to retailers who sell their products at the convention, to comic and movie companies who promote their upcoming content slates, to the local economy that benefits from all the annual visitors. Hopefully everyone does get to return in 2021.

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