San Diego Comic-Con canceled due to coronavirus

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Comic-Con San Diego, one of the world's largest pop culture gatherings, has been canceled for the first time in its 50-year history due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The sprawling convention which draws Hollywood A-listers, billion-dollar franchises and 135,000 screaming fans each year had been due to take place in July.

But it became the latest major festival to be scratched due to the global pandemic, after California Governor Gavin Newsom this week indicated mass gatherings were unlikely to be allowed for months to come.

Organizers announced Friday "with deep regret that there will be no Comic-Con in 2020."

They "had hoped to delay this decision in anticipation that COVID-19 concerns might lessen by summer," but warnings including Newsom's comments "made it clear that it would not be safe to move forward with plans for this year."

Fans who had already purchased tickets for the four-day extravaganza will be offered refunds, or the option of attending in 2021.

Comic-Con began life as a small gathering of around 100 comic book fans in a San Diego hotel basement in 1970.

But it has sprawled into a giant launchpad for mainstream Hollywood films and television shows attended by movie stars, studio heads and the world's press.

In scrapping its 2020 edition, Comic-Con follows other major US events such as the Coachella music festival, Las Vegas Cinema-Con summit, and SXSW media and technology festival in Texas.

"The prospect of mass gatherings is negligible, at best, until we get to herd immunity, and we get to a vaccine," Newsom warned at a press conference Tuesday.

"When you suggest June, July, August, it is unlikely."