A national disaster has been declared due to the global pandemic of the COVID-19 coronavirus. We are being told to employ social distancing and further the work of the isolationist tendencies that our nerd culture has employed for decades.
The reality is that there is a very serious illness that is spreading through humanity and it is fatally dangerous to a large segment of our community. Unfortunately, the solution that have been implemented includes the cancelling of numerous chances for our normally isolationist community to get together.
I was listening to a special video version of John Siuntres’s Word Balloon podcast with Ed Catto. They were lamenting the understandable cancellation of Ithacon45, and noted that “Con Season” is a great way to get together with friends and colleagues. This is absolutely true.
The economic cost of this coronavirus pandemic cancelling mass gatherings is felt throughout various industries including air travel, hospitality, food service, and more. An often ignored real cost for the cancellation or postponement of events like Emerald City Comic-Con, SXSW, Planet Comicon, Wonder Con, and others is the loss of revenue for artists and creators who depend on those shows for a significant portion of their income.
In the spirit of coming together in crisis, we would like to highlight both the effects of these cancellations and offer ways to help those who are affected.
How have the cancellations affected creators?
We reached out to a bunch of creators who were impacted by the cancellations. We asked them about recouping expenses that they had already put out for the tables and accomodations. Many were looking forward to the rescheduling of the events and essentially letting some things ride. Travel cancellations were still hit or miss. It took a little while for Alaska Airlines, for example, to make appropriate concessions for those no longer travelling to Seattle for ECCC.
While some creators have diversified their income streams to the point that they are not exclusively reliant of con table income, we did have one very successful creator say this when asked how much he relies on it.
“More than I’m comfortable with. It feels way too variable to count on as opposed to my general freelancing income. I do a lot of shows, so losing one isn’t the end of the world. If every convention from here to the end of the year was cancelled, it might be a 20-30% dip.”
This is a serious concern as that quote was given after only one cancellation, and more have happened since. A different creator was asked to describe the effect of the cancellation had on them and this was their reply,
“The week leading up to the show was possibly the most stress-out about a convention I’ve ever been. There is so much packing and planning and preparation that goes into a show already, not to mention having to fly across the country to get to it. Adding the question of whether the show is even going to take place, or wondering if anyone is even going to attend if it does, is NOT something that assuages anxiety. “
The benefit of already having a robust online community of writers, artists, and vendors is that there is a simple method of getting the word out for a way to support the community. A hashtag has been created to allow people to get into contact with people who are opening commission lists and online outlets in the wake of the mass cancellations.
If you search #ECCCOnline on Twitter, you will find a bunch of people offering ways to purchase their work this weekend.
The #ECCC community is unmatched in its efforts to come together even when there is no physical show to be had (yet). We’ve collected some threads on our website and encourage everyone to use the hashtag #ECCCOnline to spread the emerald joy this weekend. Also… pic.twitter.com/MUztr7gIik
— Emerald City Comic Con (@emeraldcitycon) March 12, 2020
Here are just a few posts that we found..
Hey #ECCCOnline and #artistalleyonline! I was going to be at both ECCC this week and MoCCA later this month but since both are postponed (and I still have to pay taxes) I’m doing a sale in my shop! Use code SPRING15 to get 15% off! Thank you!! https://t.co/cfhTq39Prd pic.twitter.com/GtEHFHbWb4
— nat noodle (@natAndrewson) March 13, 2020
— Liana Kangas (@lianakangas) March 11, 2020
— Tiffany Turrill📣COME AND ECCC ME SOMETIME (@TiffanyTurrill) March 14, 2020
— David Pepose @ The Con of Your Imagination (@Peposed) March 14, 2020
— Rafer Roberts (@plasticfarm) March 14, 2020
I am 2 copies of A Letter to Jo AND The Dark from my goal of 20. Still a ways away with the pokemon sketchbook.
You are all amazing for purchasing right now. I am going to draw so hard in your books!
— Nacho Man Sandy Cabbage (@TreeBeerd) March 13, 2020
Please go search for yourself and find something that you would enjoy having in your home while we all self quarantine and practice social distancing.
Also, Wonder Con, which was supposed to happen in early April in Anaheim, CA, will have its own online sales hashtag. #WonderConOnline
Tired of staring at the news? Stare at art instead! We created a compiled list of everyone who would have been in #WonderCon Artists Alley, with social/webstores/etc. Go buy some fun stuff and support artists! #WonderConOnline https://t.co/JPZMWv8xXW
— SDCC Unofficial Blog (@SD_Comic_Con) March 13, 2020
The most important thing to remember in this crazy time is to be safe and follow common sense precautions. However, if you were planning on going to a con, or even if you weren’t, you can still get your hands on some pretty sweet art and other products if you want it.