Cool Jerk and SDCC 2020, or “Sorry folks, park’s closed. Moose out front shoulda told ya.”

This year, the “con crud” could kill you

Due to Covid-19, San Diego Comic-Con had to cancel its annual 5-day event for the first time in its 51-year history. I know people are depressed, disappointed, upset… but considering how every summer SDCC becomes a 133,000-population Petri dish regardless of a coronavirus (Darlene and I get sick about every third year post-con), I can’t even imagine how many people would be exposed to Covid-19. Due to my congenital asthma, I probably have less than a 50-50 shot at surviving a full-blown case.

I haven’t missed a SDCC since my first year attending in 1983; one year I only managed the last 3 hours on a Sunday but hey admission was like $6 and I got the souvenir book. I’d be absolutely ruined (emotionally) if I couldn’t make it due to illness or some other conflict (I blew off my 20-year class reunion because of SDCC)… but this year I’m just sad that so many people had to scuttle plans for this show, the largest of its kind in the U.S. And I really feel for my fellow professionals who rely on comic-conventions to make a living. For me, it’s officially a side hustle though I won’t sugar-coat it, I’ll definitely miss the income exhibiting at SDCC provides each year.

The last convention I exhibited at was San Diego Comic Fest in March, and it seems like last year TBH. I had hand sanitizer at my table, people were semi-jokingly greeting each other with elbow bumps and people were sharing news of other conventions/events across the U.S. that were being canceled (WonderCon, Emerald City Comic Con, SXSW, Burning Man, concerts, monster truck pulls, campaign rallies, etc.). The salad days.

A month later, the folks at SDCC announced their cancellation of the 2020 show, though they thought up a Plan B— a virtual comic-con you can attend from your home computer or mobile device. I haven’t seen it in action yet, but apparently you’ll be able to wander through the convention floor and explore exhibitors’ tables and booths as you would in real life. And it won’t cost a nickel to attend.

Not 100% certain how this Comic-Con@Home will translate to buying Cool Jerk books and merchandise from yours truly, but I think once you come to my “table” in Small Press, K-9, you’ll be able to link to my website and online store. From there, I think you can order my goods and I’ll ship them out (or maybe do a safe in-person delivery if you’re a local). As ever, I’ll personalize books to you and include a quickie character sketch.

This virtual comic-con will run today (Wednesday) through Sunday, July 26. I hope you’ll swing by between Zoom panels, YouTube programming, webinars, cosplay live-feeds and virtual awards ceremonies.

This summer just won’t feel the same without the annual pilgrimage to the San Diego Convention Center, loading in and setting up the Cool Jerk table, catching up with my friends, sharing war stories with fellow exhibitors, meeting (and making) new fans of Cool Jerk and Doc Splatter, stalking my mentors, having chance encounters with comics celebrities, buying that one item you can’t get anywhere else, “swimming through the sweaty rivers of meat” (i.e. the crowds) in order to explore the convention, laughing until I’m hoarse, having the traditional Saturday night downtown dinner with Darlene, taking photos of mind-blowing cosplay and exclusive merchandise, getting as-it-happens updates and scuttlebutt from the movie studios, the inevitable projectile vomiting (not necessarily from me)….


Thanks for reading, thanks for coming by (virtually) and thanks for helping to support the independent creators. Darlene and I will miss you all terribly, but we’ll make up for it next year. Now be safe and go have fun!


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