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New York Comic Con will go online-only this October

New York Comic Con will follow the example set by San Diego Comic-Con International and go completely virtual for the 2020 version of the annual pop culture convention.

Originally scheduled to happen in October at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, New York Comic Con will now encompass a series of live and pre-recorded panel events on the convention’s YouTube channel. The virtual New York Comic Con will begin October 8 and run through October 11.

New York Comic Con parent company ReedPop announced the virtual event August 11, and indicated that YouTube’s live chat features will be used to re-create the typical audience question-and-answer sessions that are part of the convention’s panels. The online version of San Diego Comic-Con only featured pre-recorded panels, making the virtual New York Comic Con a large-scale experiment of sorts as a live, online convention.

The decision to go virtual with New York Comic Con makes the convention the latest example of a large, annual fan event to go online at a time when large gatherings in the U.S. have become increasingly dangerous due to the coronavirus pandemic. After an early crisis that made New York one of the nation’s hotspots for the virus, the state has now become one of the few states to get a handle on the spread of COVID-19.

“We are thoroughly disappointed that we can’t gather together, in-person for the New York Comic Con we love to build and our fans love to revel in,” said ReedPop president Lance Fensterman in a statement to Variety announcing the decision to move New York Comic Con online. “We look forward to this weekend all year long, just like you, and with this being our 15th edition, we were particularly excited. I will miss walking up and down artist alley and seeing friends that I’ve made since we were in the basement at the Javits Center.”

Among the networks and studios already confirmed to be participating in the virtual New York Comic Con this year are Hulu, Starz, FX, DreamWorks Animation, and CBS All Access. Panels for the Star Trek franchise and the American Gods series have already been announced. ReedPop also indicated that some additional elements of the live event will make the shift to the virtual environment in some form, too, including meet-and-greet sessions and creator workshops.

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