WonderCon has been our main fan convention for the past decade or so. We’ve been every year since it moved to Anaheim in 2012, and several years back when it was in San Francisco.
But this year it’s not happening.
By February we were already looking at what was going on with the new coronavirus and starting to think, do we really want to go somewhere with huge crowds and lots of travelers? This could easily turn into ground zero.
By early March it became clear that a convention in April wasn’t going to be ground zero — because the virus was already here and spreading. An outbreak would be pretty much guaranteed.
So we weren’t surprised when they officially canceled the event on March 12. California had only started ramping up restrictions on gatherings, but WonderCon is a lot bigger than 250 people (the cutoff at the time, which sounds like a huge crowd now after weeks of “safer at home”). They refunded the tickets, which I hear some conventions had problems with.
This weekend was going to be one of chaos, crowds, comics, cosplay, and crafts. Instead we’re sitting at home, like last weekend, and the weekend before, and the weekend before. Sure, there’s the online “WonderCon@Home”, but it’s more something to check in on once in a while, not an all-encompassing event.
Summer’s still up in the air. If they’ve made a decision about Comic-Con International, they haven’t announced it. On one hand, it would be a huge blow to fan culture for them to cancel San Diego. On the other…I’m not sure who’s going to want to be there. Even if the current wave of the pandemic subsides before then, and even if it fades during summer (which is just wishful thinking at this point), cramming 100,000 people into a convention center for five days (plus setup/tear-down) seems like asking for trouble. [Update: A few days later, they cancelled SDCC too.]
I haven’t even tried to get tickets to SDCC in five years. I suspect they may be easier to get next year. (Or not. People are good at forgetting risks, as long as they’re abstract enough.) But I’m not sure I’m even going to want to attend a smaller con until we come out the other side of the pandemic.