Virtual Comic Convention Set for This Month

Dragon Hoops - Publicity - H 2020
Gene Luen Yang/First Second Books
Though the coronavirus pandemic has stopped multiple cons, First Second Books has found a way around it with "Comics Relief."

The coronavirus pandemic may be forcing comic conventions to cancel or reschedule across the country, but First Second Books has unveiled plans for a virtual convention taking place mid-April, featuring creators of its titles.

Comics Relief, A First Second Festival will run from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. PT on April 18 and feature appearances from Lisa Brown, Lucy Knisley, Kat Leyh, Ngozi Ukazu, duo Lily Williams and Karen Schneemann, and Gene Luen Yang, with the publisher promising that the live-streamed event "will give comic fans an in-depth look at key moments in comic creation."

The free event is currently open for preregistration.

In the wake of the novel coronavirus, a number of big conventions including Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle, Anaheim's WonderCon and Miami's Florida Supercon have been forced to postpone as public gatherings have been shut down by state authorities. Most recently, Denver Pop Culture Con has moved from an early July date to the end of November. It remains unclear whether San Diego Comic-Con, one of the largest conventions in the U.S., will be forced to move from its July 22-26 dates; as recently as last week, organizers were “hopeful” that it would run as initially scheduled.

First Second Books, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing, the parent company of Macmillan, launched in 2006. Headed by editorial director Mark Siegel, it has published creators including Eddie Campbell, Tillie Walden, Faith Erin Hicks, Paul Pope and Mariko Tamaki.