Stay At Home Con

The reality of there being no San Diego Comic-Con has fully set in by now, of course; this is the day I should be in the air on the way to Southern California for a week of overwork and panicked socializing, seeing people in person that I’ve only talked to via email or Slack for a year. Alas, this year, it’s not to be, and I’ll admit that I’m still struggling with that in a number of ways.

Don’t get me wrong; with everything happening in the world, I don’t want to be in a packed convention center with hundreds of thousands of other people right now, especially not in all-too-warm San Diego, with everyone sweating over each other — if ever there was a perfect petri dish for infection, it’d be that scenario. (Also, at this stage of quarantine, even the idea of being in that kind of crowd feels unreal and more than a little scary; imagine going from being cut off from the rest of the world for four months to suddenly being seemingly surrounded in close quarters by it!)

But the fact remains that the loss of SDCC feels like the true signifier that this year has been lost to the plague, for some dumb internal system waiting to reach a particular level before sounding the alarm. This is where the true break is for my ridiculous broken brain. If there’s no San Diego Comic-Con, then all is lost, apparently. Mother of mercy, is this the end of Rico…?

It’s that the SDCC trip has been, perpetually, the closest thing I’ve had to a summer vacation in — what, a decade, if not longer, by this point…? That’s part of it, and that it is a place (and event) that resonates so strongly for me for a number of reasons, as well; more than any other convention — the others all feel like “work trips” far more than SDCC, even though I traditionally work irrationally hard at SDCC — it’s become a traditional place to see friends and have experiences that are often surreal and heightened and a break from reality in some indistinct, but very real, way.

Perhaps that’s what I’m missing the most from the absence of the show this year — that break from the norm. 2020 is a year that’s “not normal,” of course, but it’s steamrolled everything into this new shape where everyday is more or less like the one before because we’re in the same space, doing the same thing, all the time. If ever there was a need for something unusual and special, it’s now — but, instead, SDCC has been cancelled and replaced by an event online that we watch from the comfort of our own homes, like everything else.

I miss the alternative, is all.

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