New dates are only the start for the organizers of Emerald City Comic Con. There are thousands of decisions still to be made now that the annual pop culture celebration has been moved to Aug. 21-23, postponed from the original March 12-15 dates due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The biggest question: How will they cram four days of fun into the three now allotted in late August?
“We will find out together!” Reedpop President Lance Fensterman said in an email to The Seattle Times. “This is a first for us too!”
ECCC draws about 100,000 fans each year with a premier celebrity lineup. It’s also popular among comics creators and draws thousands of artists, writers and small business owners and vendors.
Guests slated for this year had included Michael J. Fox and the cast of “Back to the Future,” Hulk/rom-com heartthrob Mark Ruffalo and fellow Marvel Cinematic Universe star Karen Gillan, DC Publisher Jim Lee and “Hellboy” creator Mike Mignola.
It’s unclear if these guests and others originally slated to appear will be on the schedule in August.
The show is one of two at the Washington State Convention Center produced by Reedpop.
The company also owns PAX West, an annual video and tabletop game convention. That event will be held on Labor Day, two weeks after ECCC, a spokeswoman said.
Reedpop is among the largest entertainment convention companies in the world and coronavirus has been its most difficult challenge in more than two decades of operations. The scale and speed have been a challenge, as evidenced by the rolling wave of moves they made with ECCC as the scope of the outbreak began to widen.
They initially offered fans refunds (when they weren’t going to postpone or cancel), then added Artist Alley guests to the list, before announcing a postponement last week.
Fensterman said less than a quarter of the original 75,000 badge buyers asked for refunds; those who didn’t can now exchange their badges for the new con dates. When that process is done, the remaining badges will go on sale to the public in mid-April. They’re not sure what date yet. That’s just one of the many decisions still to come.
“We are making decisions on a myriad of issues every hour,” Fensterman wrote. “To date we have moved 4 shows in the U.S. and the U.K. to new dates and each of those moves has dozens and dozens of smaller decisions and steps to take.”
Chris Talbott is a Seattle-based writer and editor.