For many, comic conventions are the highlight of their year.  But nearly every comic con in 2020 was canceled.  One year later, Comic Con International, the organization that produces both San Diego Comic Con and Wonder Con, is tentatively dipping its toes in the water to adapt to the post-Covid world.

San Diego Comic Con boasted an attendance of 135,000 in 2019, making it the single largest comic convention in the United States.  But in 2020 it was canceled for the first time in 50 years, citing health concerns due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

You can read the official statement about the Covid-19 impact on Comic Con International here.

Badge-holders for 2020 had their passes “rolled over” to 2021, and now, their badges are being “rolled over” a second time, in the hopes of an in-person convention in 2022.

Anaheim’s WonderCon, the spring sister convention, was likewise canceled in 2020.  It typically brings in about 60,000 people.

Now, in 2021, WonderCon is back, with a scaled-down virtual event.  Usually spanning three days, next weekend (March 26th and 27th), it will be open as a free, online, two-day series of panels, podcasts, and media screenings.

With hundreds of programs spanning over 24 hours on Friday and Saturday, WonderCon’s virtual event is a hopeful bellwether of bigger events to come.  Covid-19 continues to loom large, with three panels specifically discussing its impact: “Taking it Personally: Comics and Politics in the Age of COVID”, “COVID-19 and Entertainment: How Safer-at-Home Changed our Consumption of Media”, and “Inside the Writer Room: The Show Must Go on – Surviving the Room, Virtual and Otherwise, in the Age of COVID.”

Nonetheless, nerds can rest assured that cons are gradually making a comeback and remodeling their production in order to deliver programs in the safest way for the fans who love them.

Here are a couple of panels the Grand Geek Gathering thinks you should check out:

  • “Burn After Pitching – Something to Pitch About” Mar 27, 2021 3:00 pm
    • Featuring Michael Tanner (writer), Greg Smith (writer), Sandra Dimas (editor), Abed Gheith (writer), and Chris Piers (host).
  • “Unnecessary Debates” Mar 27, 2021 5:00 pm
    • Featuring Eric Lopez (actor/comedian, Young Justice), Genevieve Marie (cosplayer/host, The Roll Out Show), Jason Linere White (actor, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse), Shondalia White (actor/comedian, Onward), and Tyler McPhail (host).
  • “Gaming Across Comics and Books” Mar 26, 2021 12:00 pm
    • Featuring B Dave Walters (comic writer, Dungeons & Dragons), Elisa Teague (senior RPG producer, Renegade Games), Gail Simone (comic writer, DC Comics), Jim Zub (comic writer, Marvel), and Matt Forbeck (author, Dungeons & Dragons).
  • “Comics and Popular Culture Items for the Visually Impaired” Mar 26, 2021 2:00 pm
    • Featuring Joshua Loya (Adventure Mind host) and Roy Samuelson (ADNA founder).

For a complete list of programs, check here!