San Diego Comic-Con Exhibitor Impacted By Canceled Expo

The pop culture expo that brings fans, exhibitors, and celebrities together for a long weekend in July every year in the heart of downtown San Diego is not happening this summer

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For the first time in its 50 year history, San Diego Comic-Con International was canceled. The San Diego Comic Convention announced the decision was due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The convention said Governor Newsom's recent statements made it clear that it may not be safe to hold large events for months to come.

The decision is disappointing many that have never missed a Comic-Con. It also has others concerned about the economic damage it will do to businesses in the Gaslamp Quarter and many of the exhibitors.

"It's a tragedy for those guys, I mean these guys live for this stuff," said Ed Sandburg, an exhibitor and owner of Comics-N-Stuff.

Organizers said they had hoped to delay the decision as they know so many exhibitors rely on the convention for their livelihood.

"My stores are way busier during Comic-Con," Sandburg said. "A lot of my regulars can't get into Comic-Con so they shop my stores."

Sandburg owns seven Comics-N-stuff stores across San Diego County, one in Temecula and another in Las Vegas.

"A lot of my employees are like family to me so it's really hard for me to see them not working," said Sandburg who has gone from 55 employees to just one.

Sandburg said his stores rely on the foot traffic, but for the time being, he can only sell online.

Items for sale inside Comic-N-Stuff are available online throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I love what I do, I wouldn’t change it for anything," he said. "I've been doing this since I was 10 years old. I was selling at the swap meets and I was selling comic books."

Sandburg said he's never missed a Comic-Con, but understands why it was canceled, he said he awaits its return in July of 2021.

Comic-Con organizers said the decision is necessary to protect public health and safety.

"There is no social distancing (at Comic-Con) if it was up to the fans they would go," Sandburg said.

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