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Months after postponing the annual spring event in the hope that things would be safer in the summer, Emerald City Comic Con organizers have now canceled the 2020 convention altogether in favor of a virtual event later this year.
ReedPOP, the organizers behind ECCC, announced Tuesday morning that it's made the "excruciating yet necessary decision" to eliminate the in-person version of the con, one of the most popular annual conventions in the United States, amid the continued threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Emerald City Comic Con was originally scheduled to be held March 12-15 in Seattle, but Washington state became the first national hotspot for COVID-19 in the weeks leading up to the event. Numerous exhibitors, including major comics publishers, backed out of planned ECCC appearances in February and early March, which led organizers to announce a postponement on March 6. The hope was that the situation would improve throughout the summer and leave Seattle free to host a convention in August, but COVID-19 caseloads continue to grow around the country, so we'll now be getting a virtual ECCC instead.
In their announcement, ReedPOP advised fans to stay tuned to ECCC social media channels and the ReedPOP YouTube page for upcoming details about the virtual convention planned for August. All ticketholders who had their tickets transferred for the August in-person event should expect a refund by the end of June, and organizers noted they're still hoping to announce ticket details for the 2021 Emerald City Comic Con, scheduled for March 4-7.
"ECCC will return," the statement read, in part. "We will connect with our favorite artists and creators again. We will cheer for our heroes again. We will discover new fandoms and meet new friends again. We will wear and take pictures of awesome cosplay again. We will celebrate what we love with each other again."
Because of its placement near the start of the convention season, ECCC was among the first major pop culture events to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. That impact has since grown to encompass every major event of the spring and summer, including other major conventions like SXSW (which was canceled the same week that ECCC was postponed), E3, and San Diego Comic-Con, which held out hope until mid-April before canceling its own in-person convention and planning a virtual presence instead.
We'll keep you posted on ECCC 2020 virtual convention updates as we have them.