On Saturday, San Diego Comic-Con announced that they will be holding a scaled down in-person event this year during Thanksgiving weekend (November 26-28).
It’s easy to understand why the convention doesn’t want to go two full years without a live event. But scheduling it during a major U.S. holiday that will likely be the first time many people can safely visit their extended families (and when airfares prices are at their peak) has not been warmly received.
Of course, it’s a moot point if Comic-Con can’t get enough guests to attend to make it worthwhile, which is a distinct possibility based on social media reactions this afternoon. Although San Diego Comic-Con has evolved into a celebration of all things pop culture, the comic book industry is still where it all begins…and so far they don’t appear to be onboard with a Thanksgiving convention in the slightest:
So they scheduled #SDCC on the same weekend as the first chance most families will (hopefully) be fully able to celebrate Thanksgiving in two years.
See you in 2022! https://t.co/5TUS26rOsQ
— Charles Soule (@CharlesSoule) March 28, 2021
“We’ve heard the fans loud and clear and they hate their families” https://t.co/vRwWUgzQSY
— Chip Zdarsky (@zdarsky) March 28, 2021
My family missed Thanksgiving last year because of the pandemic.
This year, we'll all be vaccinated. There's no way I'd be attending any event instead of spending that time with them. Even if everything were magically back to normal.
I can't imagine others feeling differently.
— Dan Slott (@DanSlott) March 28, 2021
Finally, a convention for orphans. https://t.co/SynrUYiWXP
— Andy Khouri (@andykhouri) March 28, 2021
I have to believe the SDCC conversation went something like this:
"We need to have an event for solvency. But herd immunity will still be weak. How do we keep it small?"
"Nerds will freak."
"Vendors will freak."
"Hold it…OVER THANKSGIVING."
— Seanan McGuire (@seananmcguire) March 28, 2021
SDCC on Thanksgiving weekend, huh? Sure, that’ll go over well with the family. Might as well take a dump on the kitchen table on the way out, too
— Frank Tieri (@FrankTieri) March 28, 2021
LOL no https://t.co/jdXuoqY6yY
— Fred Van Lente-Action Philosophers on KICKSTARTER (@fredvanlente) March 28, 2021
— Zack Davisson (@ZackDavisson) March 28, 2021
Did you hear that roar?
That was the sound of thousand of creator spouses simultaneously decrying, “Over my dead body…” https://t.co/XGrgijy4Cg
— Mitch Gerads (@MitchGerads) March 28, 2021
ah the good old "fingers crossed america gets its s--t together by november" gambit https://t.co/92ciIPBtfD
— Christopher Sebela (@xtop) March 28, 2021
Comic-Con responded to the backlash on Sunday evening with a statement basically stating that they understand everyone’s concerns, but are still hoping/planning to proceed with the Thanksgiving weekend event (which they also admit might not be possible if COVID restrictions on large gatherings are still in place).
Perhaps the oddest passage in the statement came when the convention organizers tried to show some empathy, stating:
“Of the dates presented with the fewest restrictions, Friday through Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend seemed to be the best balance of available space and our envisioned event. As longtime fans ourselves, we have attended many conventions over that holiday weekend, opting to spend Thanksgiving day with family and the rest of the weekend with friends and our families of choice. While this is not unusual in the convention trade, we understand this choice is not optimal for everyone.”
They go on to say that the event was never meant to be the usual massive gathering, but something that might attended mostly by people who live near San Diego. That’s all fine and good, but you also have to consider that most creators would to fly out on Thanksgiving night at the very latest to get there. Vendors and hospitality employees would need to arrive even earlier to get everything set up, basically eliminating any chance they had at spending the holiday with their loved ones.
So yeah…hopefully Comic-Con rethinks these dates soon. My vote is for Halloween weekend (October 29-31), but no one asked me. In the meantime, at least we can all look forward to this July’s Comic-Con@Home virtual convention.
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