Tag Archives: covid

It’s Alive!’s Drew Ford has passed away due to COVID complications

It's Alive!

The news started to go around earlier today that It’s Alive!‘s Andrew (Drew) Ford has passed away. Ford was found September 26 in his car in distress from COVID related pneumonia. His heart had stopped working for 20 minutes and he was rushed to to the emergency room where was pronounced brain dead. His organs will be donated.

His wife Kiki is currently running a GoFundMe to raise funds to pay for his medical bills. Unfortunately, Ford’s insurance had lapsed.

It’s Alive! was launched by Ford in 2016 who had previously had worked for Dover Publications. The imprint was to get “long out of print comics back in print”. It also published new English translations of foreign releases as well as original projects. Later that year, the publisher struck a deal with IDW Publishing to release comics through them which lasted a limited time. In recent times Ford turned to crowdfunding for projects.

The GoFundMe has a $50,000 goal.

CDC Says Anime NYC Wasn’t a Superspreader Event

COVID

Not long after Anime NYC in December it was reported a person from Minnesota had attended the convention has tested positive for Omicron. A few days later, individuals that attended with him tested positive for COVID as well. A study release by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday released a report that a combination of good air filtration, widespread vaccination, and indoor masking helped prevent the convention from becoming a superspreader event.

The amount of attendees who indicated they tested positive for COVID was similar to the positivity rate for New York City around the same time. Also, the few samples that were looked at were of the Delta variant, not Omicron.

Those that did test positive were more likely to have gone to bars, nightclubs, and karaoke clubs indicating these locations is where they might have been infected.

The CDC did say that if the convention had been later in the year, it could have been much worse as Omicron had just begun to spread around this time and wasn’t yet the dominant strain. Omicron spreads much easier than Delta.

The study relied on people who came forward with their testing which indicates a flawed data set due to it being self reported and those individuals would more likely have been more cautious indicated by their willingness to report.

The CDC came to a similar conclusion as to the New York City tracing officials in that they couldn’t find evidence of a widespread infection due to the convention.

Of the 4,560 attendees that were identified, 119 people tested positive. That’s a rate of 2.6 percent. The conventioned drew 53,000 people to it. Of those who could be matched with test and vaccination data, 85 percent had completed the primary vaccination series, 12% had received a booster dose, and 3% were partly vaccinated.

Otakon 2022 Announces its Vaccine and Mask Policy

Otakon

In the interest of the safety of all members, Otakorp will require all Otakon 2022 attendees eligible for COVID-19 vaccination to be fully vaccinated and masked in all convention areas in the Walter E Washington Convention Center and the Marriott Marquis.

In addition to Otakorp’s policies, Otakorp reminds all members that they are individually responsible for complying
with any and all standing policies of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and with any and all laws and ordinances in effect in the City of Washington, DC, including those related to COVID-19.

Additional information can be found here:

More details will be released as soon as they are available.

This policy is subject to change based on changes to CDC guidelines, local regulations or other data.

Otakon 2022 takes place July 29th to 31st in Washington, DC at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Individuals Linked to Minnesota Omicron Positive Man that attended Anime NYC Test Positive as Well

COVID

Yesterday was news that the Minnesota man who contracted the omicron variant of COVID had attended Anime NYC in November. It now turns out the individual met up with about 35 friends at the convention and so far half have tested positive for the coronavirus according to state health officials.

The group had traveled to Anime NYC from multiple states. The convention began November 19 and ran through November 21. The individuals tested positive after their return home. It hasn’t been said if they tested positive with omicron or other variants.

Kris Ehresmann, director of the Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention, and Control Division at the Minnesota Department of Health said in an interview:

We don’t know if we’ll see a lot of omicron, or we’ll see a lot of delta. But we’re likely to see a lot of covid (out of the convention).

The convention drew 53,000 people. It’s hard to say where people were infected since they traveled throughout New York City, just that people infected attended the convention.

The Minnesota man flew to New York City on November 18 and his symptoms began on November 22. He was vaccinated and received a booster in November. The individual’s symptoms were mild and resolved on November 24.

The convention required proof of at least one vaccine shot and the use of masks. But, videos and photos showed some attendees not wearing masks and as happens at conventions, masks are often not worn in gatherings outside of the convention. Twitter responses to Anime NYC’s initial statement includes numerous individuals complaining of lax enforcement of masks as well as checks on vaccination.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio released a statement saying anyone who attended Anime NYC should get tested immediately especially if they experience symptoms.

(via Washington Post)

Update: Minnesota Positive Omicron Variant Attended Anime NYC

COVID continues to spread and impact communities with the latest variant, Omicron, raising concerns over its mutations. The variant has now been detected within the United States with a Minnesota resident showing it.

The individual had recently traveled to New York City to attend Anime NYC which took place from November 19 to 21st. He then developed mild symptoms on November 22 and sought testing.

According to the news reports:

The agency said the person was an adult man who had been vaccinated against COVID. He developed mild symptoms on Nov. 22 and sought testing. He told investigators he’d attended the Anime NYC 2021 convention at the Javits Center from Nov. 19-21, MDH said.

Anime NYC made numerous announcements concerning COVID for the convention. They worked with the Javits Center and New York State on their policy and the last update was October 4, 2021.

The convention required the vaccine. Attendees needed to have proof of at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized by the FDA or WHO. Those were were unable to get a vaccine due to their age, a negative test was required. Attendees, exhibitors, guests, staff, and crew, and all others over the age of 2 were required to wear a face covering. There were numerous other health and safety measures in place, which you can read about here.

If you attended, it could be good to get tested and do so multiple times, especially if you’re experiencing any symptoms.

Update: The office of Mayor de Blasio has released a statement:

COVID

AfterShock Announces Delays

Delays have been hitting every industry due to shipping, supply, and labor issues. AfterShock has announced that Cross to Bear #1, Search for Hu #2, and Afterdark will be delayed. The new release date is October 27th.

The supply chain disruption has been hitting the comic industry in many ways, the most interesting is a temporary paper shortage. Every publisher is being impacted in some way so expect numerous changes to continue in the coming months.

Warnings about this issue persisting well into the fall and winter have regularly been going up with expectations being that this holiday will see difficulty getting product as consumers.

AfterShock logo

Otakon Announces Masks Required but Vaccinations are Not for 2021

Otakon 2021

Otakorp Inc. has announced the safety procedures for Otakon 2021. Masks will be required, but proof of vaccination will not be required. But, Otakorp recommends that all individuals that are able to should get vaccinated if they plan to attend Otakon.

This year, Otakorp requires that masks be worn at all times for anyone over the age of 2. Certain exceptions will be made, such as:

  • Presenters during panels or workshops while socially distanced
  • Cosplayers while photos are being taken while social distanced
  • While eating or drinking in designated areas
  • For the convenience of having their lips read by a person who is deaf or hard of hearing
  • Other areas as approved by Otakon Staff

This policy is subject to change based on changes to CDC guidelines, local regulations or other data.

In addition, the Walter E. Washington Convention Center will be providing enhanced cleaning, with environmentally-safe surface protection and disinfection. Deep cleaning cycles will be performed daily. Frequently touched surfaces such as door handles will be coated with antimicrobial and antiviral surface coatings. 

In addition, the convention center now has hospital-grade air filtration systems, including dry hydrogen peroxide and UV disinfection. There will be plasmacluster ionization technology in all elevators and UV light continuous sanitation on all escalator handrails. Full information on the Otakon 2021 safety policy can be found on the web site.

Awesome Con Updates Attendees on Updated Safety Guidelines

Awesome Con 2021

With COVID restrictions in flux and cities “opening up” by lifting restrictions there are still many questions out there as to who will be impacted how and what requirements will be outstanding for conventions. Awesome Con, taking place in August, has sent out an update as to where they stand.

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has announced plans to lift most capacity restrictions beginning May 21, 2021, with a full reopening of Washington D.C. effective June 11, 2021. LeftField Media, which runs Awesome Con, is still being cautious with the health and safety of those attending the convention a priority.

So, while some precautions will no longer be required by local authorities, the covention will still evaluate their own guidelines and safety measures “based on the science of the moment”.

At this time, these precautions will include:

  • Required use of masks within the Walter E. Washington Convention Center
  • Enhanced sanitization stations and cleaning protocols throughout the event
  • Increased spacing with wider aisles, designated entrances, and directional signage to ensure social distancing in all areas of the event on the show floor, panels, meeting rooms and public spaces
  • Ongoing updates on queueing procedures and capacity reduction measures for higher traffic periods over the weekend

At present, they do not plan to require proof of vaccination for entry, but the situation is fluid and this and any measures could change at any time. Furthermore, Awesome Con does not plan to have on-site badge pickup or sales this year. To allow for adequate social distancing, the hope is to reduce the number of touch points and eliminate long queues at in-person registration.

All preordered badges will be mailed after the Friday, June 25th mailing deadline. Those attending are encouraged to purchase their badges before the mailing deadline as tickets ordered after June 25th will include increased shipping fees for expedited delivery. 

Again, please remember, all of this information is valid as of Friday, May 14, 2021, and is subject to change. We’ll keep things updated as Awesome Con releases more information.

Awesome Con takes place this August 20-22, 2021! 

GlobalComix Announces Resilience: Creators Against COVID, a Charity Anthology

Resilience: Creators Against COVID

GlobalComix has announced Resilience: Creators Against COVID. The anthology is the digital platform’s first original release. GlobalComix has teamed up with creators for original stories about perseverance and hope. 100% of the revenue will go to the creators for them to donate to causes or comic shops of their choosing.

Resilience: Creators Against COVID features 7 chapters which will be released twice a week starting on May 18.

Check out the full creative lineup below:

Persevere
Released on May 18 2021, made by
Landry Walker (Batman),
Eric Jones (Star Wars),
Taylor Esposito (Daredevil)
are donating to Fantastic Comics in Berkeley, CA

Supposed to Be
Released on May 20 2021, made by
Jamal Igle (Wonder Woman),
Jess Fleming (Outgoing)
are donating to The Trans Women of Color Collective in Bethesda, MD

The Fantastic Flame
Released on May 25 2021, made by
Alex Segura (Archie),
Chantel Acevedo (Muse Squad),
Richard Ortiz (DC Bombshells),
Ellie Wright (Black Ghost),
Taylor Esposito (Daredevil)
are donating to A&M Comics in Miami, Florida

Persian Version of Pop Culture in America
Released on May 27 2021, made by
Sina Grace (Iceman)
is donating to Secret Headquarters Comics in Los Angeles, CA

Surviving Camino Del Diablo
Released on June 1 2021, made by
Henry Barajas (Helm Graycastle),
Nicky Rodriguez (Pulse),
Gabbie Downie (Harleen)
are donating to Palabras Bilingual Bookstore in Phoenix, AZ

7 O’clock
Released on June 3 2021 by
Frank Tieri (Wolverine),
Leisha Riddel (Smooth Criminals),
Christina Rose Chua (Adventure Time)
are donating to The Coronavirus Response Fund for Nurses

The Hike
Released on June 8 2021 by
Jeremy Holt (After Houdini, Made in Korea),
Chris Peterson (Dead Beats),
Gab Contreras (Witchblood)
are donating to Vinyl Fantasy in Brooklyn, New York

Janelle Asselin provided editorial management for Resilience: Creators Against COVID, a Charity Anthology while Kat Jackson provided the cover art.

Small Press Expo 2021 Goes Virtual

Small Press Expo

Things are generally still up in the air concerning conventions being held in 2021. Small Press Expo has announced that they have decided to go virtual for this year. Due to the health and safety of guests and the community, the convention decided this was the best course.

SPX 2021 will feature a full slate of programming along with a livestream of the Ignatz Awards ceremony. They will also be announcing special guests who will take part in the virtual panels and workshops so stay tuned this summer for all the details.

They have also announced they have come to an agreement with Marriot concerning this years and future convnetions. The convention will incur higher costs for their 2022 and 2023 conventions instead of having to deal with the cancellation policy.

With that, funding for charitable initiatives are paused until 2024 at the earlest. That includes the Graphic Novel Gift Program and support of the National Book Festival. But, this means the beloved convention will be able to continue for years to come.

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