San Diego Comic Con International announced this weekend the dates for its first in-person convention since the COVID-19 pandemic began, with Comic-Con Special Edition set to run over the Thanksgiving weekend from November 26 to November 28. Now, organizers are having to defend those dates to fans disappointed that they have to choose between family and a convention this fall.
Comic-Con Special Edition is a three-day event, one day shorter than a full-size Comic-Con, and quite a bit later than its usual July dates. Fans decried the announcement on social media, and convention organizers have now released a statement in hopes of appeasing those conflicted con-goers.
“As conventions and events have had to cancel their in-person shows or have converted to virtual formats during the pandemic, some have been postponed to later years while others have been rescheduled to the later part of 2021, resulting in a very packed Convention Center calendar,” said convention organizers in an official statement. “When reviewing dates for an in-person event, it was clear that available meeting and exhibit space would limit our options. 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.”
Countless events reaching all the way back to March 2020 were canceled as a precaution for COVID-19, including huge events like San Diego Comic-Con and E3, as well as many smaller conventions across the country. The second half of 2021 will mark the first chance fans have to go back to these gathering places, but is also going to be the first time many will see families they may not have seen since Christmas 2019.
Comic-Con Special Edition, organizers say, “was never intended to be the large gathering reflective of the summer event,” but rather “a shorter event” meant to “slowly and cautiously” allow fans to gather. It’s also a matter of money, as usual, with Comic-Con organizers stating that the event will “generate much needed revenue not only for the organization, but also for local businesses and the community.”
“The loss of revenue has had an acute impact on the organization as it has with many small businesses, necessitating reduced work schedules and reduction in pay for employees, among other issues,” said Comic-Con spokesperson David Glanzer. “Hopefully this event will shore up our financial reserves and mark a slow return to larger in-person gatherings in 2022.”