San Diego Comic-Con 2020 officially off due to coronavirus

The massive four-day convention was scheduled for late July, but like so many other events, has been hit by the pandemic.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
CNET freelancer Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
2 min read

Harley Quinn cosplayers pose at San Diego Comic-Con in 2019.

Tania González/CNET

San Diego Comic-Con , the gigantic four-day pop culture convention scheduled for July 23-26, has been canceled due to the coronavirus  crisis. It's the first-ever cancelation in the event's 50-year history.

"Recognizing that countless attendees save and plan for its conventions each year, and how many exhibitors and stakeholders rely upon its events for a major portion of their livelihood, [officials] had hoped to delay this decision in anticipation that COVID-19 concerns might lessen by summer," SDCC said in a statement. "Continuous monitoring of health advisories and recent statements by the governor of California have made it clear that it would not be safe to move forward with plans for this year."

California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a stay-at-home order on March 19. He has not yet given an end date. 

The Comic-Con statement mentioned "deep regret" at the decision and said the event will return in 2021, from July 22-25. 

Last month, Comic-Con organizers postponed a smaller convention, WonderCon Anaheim, which was scheduled for April 10-12, and also postponed events planned for its Comic-Con Museum. WonderCon has now been rescheduled for March 26-28, 2021, and the schedule for the museum's renovation will be adjusted.

Those who had already purchased Comic-Con badges for 2020 can either request a refund, or transfer their badges to next year. Both attendees and exhibitors will receive an email explaining their options. Those who booked rooms through onPeak, Comic-Con's official hotel affiliate, will receive automatic refunds of all deposits.

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Fans were naturally disappointed, but in keeping with the theme of the convention, many allowed comic book and other characters to express their disappointment for them. One tweeted an image of Batman crying.

Many similar events have had to make the cancelation or postponement call earlier as scheduled dates approached. Seattle's Emerald City Comic-Con, which had been scheduled for March 12-15, was postponed less than a week before its starting date, but organizers said they would reschedule for Aug. 21-23. The Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival was pushed back to October, and the South By Southwest festival is off for this year. 

Here's a running list of all the major sports, cultural and tech events canceled so far

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Originally published March 12.
Update, April 17: Adds news that SDCC has been officially canceled.