Exhibitors, creators pull out of ECCC over coronavirus concerns [Updated]

Emerald City Comic Con offers refunds to attendees who aren’t comfortable attending.

Multiple exhibitors, including DC Comics, Dark Horse and Penguin Random House, have announced they will no longer attend this year’s Emerald City Comic Con, citing concerns over the coronavirus (COVID-19). Seattle, ECCC’s host city, has seen nine people die of the virus since Feb. 26.

In a statement to the Hollywood Reporter, DC Comics said they are cancelling all of their convention appearances for the rest of March.

In addition, several comics creators, including Jim Zub, Jen Bartel, Benjamin Percy, Richard Pace, Christian Ward and Jody LeHeup, have said they will no longer appear at ECCC.

“I’m less worried about personally getting ill than the risk of the show being cancelled soon after we arrive or, more importantly, possibly transferring a virus to my family, friends, or students here in Toronto,” Zub said on his blog. “This year is extra special for me, career-wise, and I’d love to celebrate that in a big way but it’ll have to wait until another event.”

Creator Kate Leth tweeted that she also would not attend, but she does plan to have an online sale for the various items she was going to bring to the con:

Despite the cancellations, ECCC has said they still plan to hold the show:

ECCC 2020 will take place as scheduled March 12th-15that the Washington State Convention Center (WSCC) in downtown Seattle. We have implemented enhanced cleaning and sanitization across the show, including adhering to the recommendations set forth in the U.S. EPA’s Emerging Pathogen Policy regarding cleaning disinfectants effective against the COVID-19 virus. We are working closely with the WSCC and our other venue partners and aligning with local,state and federal public health guidelines and agencies. As ECCC approaches we will be constantly reviewing our health protection activities, public health messaging, hygiene and medical control measures with the aim of strengthening our COVID-19 response further in line with up to date public health advice and guidance, including that of the CDC.

ECCC has grown into a pretty major show for Reedpop over the last few years, with growing attendance, big guests and many publishers making announcements at the show. It’s really a shame to see this happen, but given what’s happening with the coronavirus you really can’t blame anyone for making the decision not to attend. These sorts of decisions are happening across the board for big events, and I’m sure we’ll see more of them opt to postpone or cancel this year as the virus spreads.

Update, March 4, 2:30 p.m. Pacific: The ECCC website has been updated with an offer to refund ticket prices to any fans who aren’t comfortable attending. “We here at Reedpop remain dedicated to running Emerald City Comic Con but understand that not everyone will be comfortable with that decision; if you wish to forgo aמּending this year’s edition of Emerald City Comic Con, we absolutely respect your wishes and will refund your ticket purchase.” They state they’re also allowing staff to decide whether they want to attend as well. Here’s the link to the refund request page.

Update, March 4, 3:50 p.m.: Oni Press has joined the list of publishers who will not be attending.

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