So it's official: none of us are going to Emerald City Comic Con next week. It has been "postponed" and you can read the official statement here.
Rumors have run around our world like rats this week, so let's clarify what this means.
- It's more accurate to say that ECCC has been cancelled - the one we were promised anyway. Another one will be held under the same name in the same calendar year, but it's impossible to replicate this one with all the same guests and exhibitors and events. I'm sure Reed Pop will try their hardest, but Comic Con season reaches a fever pitch in summer and I'm sure many of the people we were excited to see next week will be engaged elsewhere - or just have summer plans like the rest of us.
- But that doesn't mean the new ECCC2020 won't be great. I'm sure it will. That said, those of us with SDCC plans pencilled in - and maybe Dragon Con or Boston or Denver or just saving our $$ for NYCC in October - may be too tuckered out for another summer Con. This could shift the attendee demographics to a more local population.
- Refunds will go out to all attendees. They don't need to do anything. This gets a bit muddled for the people who went through Lyte, but I'm sure that can be figured out easily; what can't are the people who bought badges off StubHub, Reddit, Craigslist, etc. I believe they're just out that amount of cash.
- ECCC has promised to highlight creators' work over the coming days and weeks to help them financially, though it's not clear how they'll do so. At any rate, don't write off the digital Emerald City community for now - keep checking back and see how you can help support your faves.
- Obviously there will need to be another ticket sale. While that's never fun, it's also not that horrendous for Emerald City. It's not like nabbing a Preview Night badge for SDCC and then being told it's void and you have to try again. And since we had Thursday, Friday and Sunday badges still available for ECCC, it seems open to anyone who wants to go.
- I know there's a high level of frustration with Reed for not doing this sooner, but let's be reasonable: they have contractual and legal obligations with the facility, the city, exhibitors, staff, entertainers, guests and other parties that were probably a nightmare to navigate. Let's assume positive intent.
- As for whether the cancellation was necessary - is there really any doubt? Look at the Egyptian Nile cruise ships or the Biogen conference in Boston. Gatherings are deadly. ECCC would have lit a match to a viral conflagration. This was the right call, it can't be disputed.
And finally, unpleasantly, it's entirely possible COVID-19 will spread through the land like a hex and ruin our summer nerd dreams. In a few months it could just be a bad memory or we could be facing societal changes that make a missed Comic Con seem comparatively minor. But for now, let's assume we'll have ourselves a lovely time in Seattle this summer.