The annual San Diego Comic-Con was canceled in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, dozens of smaller conventions have postponed their events to the later part of the year. However, it would be better if none were held at all in 2020.
In 2016, I traveled to Jackson to attend the Mississippi Comic Con. It was a thrilling experience, since it was the first time I had been to one. Well, imagine if, at the 2016 Mississippi Comic Con, attendees waiting to get inside had to first get checked for any COVID-19 symptoms. Then, after attendees finally got inside, the guests weren’t allowed to shake hands or stand with us for a picture, one of the main reasons people go to cons at all.
That’s the unfortunate reality cons currently postponed for the second half of 2020 might have to face. As much as we would like to meet those responsible for creating or starring in our favorite works, it’s no fun if people are constantly being monitored to make sure William Shatner or whoever attends doesn’t contract COVID-19.
Not to mention, cons are expensive. On average, attendees spend $455 on collectibles, $86 on tickets and $300 on travel. It takes a lot of time and effort to save up the cash to attend even one convention. Right now, that’s cash a lot of folks don’t have. Nearly 25 million Americans are unemployed because of the pandemic, so priorities should be focused on finding a stable source of income once things die down, not buying con tickets. Which is assuming that there are even items available for purchase at cons. When it comes to vendors, cons tend to rely on local and out-of-town businesses for merchandise, better adding to the sense of community cons are famous for. But if those businesses are closed, there’s nothing to sell.
I like going to conventions, be they related to comics, horror, anime, whatever. Cons are like state fairs for nerds where the main attraction isn’t the rides, but the fandom. However, cons are also a business. No longer are they the underground meetings held in the cramped ballroom of a Ramada. Now, they’re multi-million-dollar events that attract a lot of names from the entertainment industry, both big and small. In these times of uncertainty, it’s best to call off cons and wait.
This year, instead of using your hard-earned money to attend a convention, do something more worthwhile with it, like travel to a new place or visit family you haven’t seen in a long time. With the pandemic wreaking havoc, they could appreciate the company.
Comic and horror conventions will survive, so don’t worry about not being able to attend this year’s festivities due to the pandemic. If anything, it gives you more time to commit to attending any cons held in 2021.
Right now, though, put away the Klingon outfit and focus on how you and your loved ones are going to make it through the rest of 2020.