With yesterday’s announcement that San Diego Comic-Con will once again not be happening in 2021 came a glimmer of hope for those itching to get back to conventions — the convention’s organizers, Comic-Con International, are planning and hoping for a smaller, in-person event this November.
There is reason to be hopeful that CCI could pull this off. November is certainly further out than July, in a distant time when hopefully vaccines will have been readily available to anyone who wants one for long enough that those who wish to be vaccinated will be. And, while a 135,000 attendee event in July was almost certainly going to be “too much, too soon” — a smaller event in November may be just right.
So what do we know about this potential event? Not much currently, is the answer, as Comic-Con International is still in the early planning stages. Much will also depend on vaccine rollouts and the current guidelines and laws in the state of California, including whether or not the event will really be able to move forward. But there are a few things we do know.
Comic-Con International has stated that it will be a smaller, in-person, 3-day (instead of 4) event in San Diego. We know it is primarily being planned at the San Diego Convention Center, both because the convention center tweeted that they will see us “back at [the] center for the November 2021 event” and because David Glanzer, Comic-Con International’s Chief Communications and Strategy Officer, revealed as much on the Darren & Jack show on KOGO in San Diego (you can listen to the full interview below).
“I know the convention center can accommodate us so our fingers are crossed for a great event in November,” Glanzer said in the KOGO interview.
However, that doesn’t mean it will only be indoors — as anyone who has attended San Diego Comic-Con or even their smaller WonderCon in Anaheim can attest, the “outside” is as much a part of the experience as the stuff actually happening inside the convention center. While things are still very much in flux, CCI is hoping to re-create some of that experience.
“To be honest, this is really still very much in the planning stages,” Glanzer said. “I realize that as I say that, please don’t hold me to that, because that may not be the case. But a lot of people at Comic-Con do stuff outside, whether that’s activations from different companies, whether there are different activities people can do. My hope is that we’ll see some of that during the November show as well.”
Which sounds, to us, like the main event is being planned for the San Diego Convention Center (which, as Glanzer noted, has “incredible” circulation of air thanks in part to its high ceilings) — but depending on which companies turn up, we could see a “lite” version of the offsites offered during San Diego Comic-Con, perhaps similar to WonderCon, which typically has a handful of offsites or activities outside around the convention center.
As for attendance size, it will likely be dictated by what the state of California is allowing at the time of the event — and that Comic-Con International doesn’t currently have an exact size in mind.
“How big [November] is, we really don’t know,” Glanzer said. “But if we get a lot of people who are interested and we’re able to sell a lot of badges and accommodate a lot, and we get a lot of programming and exhibitors, then I’m hoping it will be a terrific show.”
As for those who enjoyed the online aspects of Comic-Con@Home last year, Glanzer suggested some elements of that experience may be here to stay.
“When Comic-Con went online last year, we had really never done that before, and I think the result of that is there will probably always be an online component to Comic-Con,” Glanzer said. “Even maybe in 2022 or whenever we get back to a complete, full, big show, I think we’re still going to have some stuff online.”
This post will be updated as we learn more.