Penguin Random House, whose RH Graphic line of young adult graphic novels has been a major focus for the company recently, has decided to pull out of Emerald City Comic Con amid concerns about the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). With a number of companies and conventions electing to shut down big group meetings in recent days, Emerald City Comic Con has so far elected to keep the show on the schedule, instead focusing on keeping the facilities cleaner and less conducive to passing germs along. Convention organizers have said that they are monitoring the situation, but so far the onus is on fans and exhibitors to decide whether to pull out.
Washington State, home to Emerald City Comic Con, has already had six deaths and numerous other confirmed cases of the virus. King County, where Seattle (and thus the convention center) is located, declared a public health state of emergency earlier this week. While the county has not asked for events to be cancelled or postponed, given the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's general advice to avoid big gatherings when possible, for many it seems like an obvious leap to make.
"Penguin Random House has come to the difficult decision to cancel its participation in ECCC due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus," the publisher said in a brief statement on social media. "While this show is an important way for our staff and authors to connect with readers, the health and safety of everyone take priority."
Earlier this week, Warner Bros. announced that they would cancel the planned New York premiere of Superman: Red Son, the DC Universe animated movie that is set to hit DVD and Blu-ray later this month. Reports came later that indicated that WarnerMedia was limiting travel across the board in response to the outbreak.
Comics creators Scott Duvall, Jen Bartel, Jim Zub, and Kate Leth have already told fans they would not take part in the convention, as previously planned. Dark Horse Comics also pulled out earlier today, citing concerns about the health and safety of their employees and fans. With no clear end to the current viral outbreak in sight, the start of convention season will present a lot of question marks for comic book fans and professionals as companies weigh concerns about the spread of disease with the need to carry on their day-to-day business and make the big announcements common to major conventions.0comments
Keep your eye on ComicBook.com for more on this developing story.
Presently there are about 100 confirmed cases of the virus in the United States, with an expected jump in the weeks to come since COVID-19 can be present without symptoms for a while.