In a long-expected announcement, ReedPop, organizer of New York Comic Con, announced it has canceled the annual in-person 2020 event, which was scheduled to be held October 8-11 at the Javits Convention Center. Instead of the physical event, ReedPop plans to partner with YouTube to produce an all-digital version of the giant pop culture convention.

ReedPop outlined plans to host a Digital New York Comic Con from October 8-11 that will offer a slate of exclusive events streamed via the NYCC YouTube channel. In addition, ReedPop will host an online event it calls The Metaverse, a virtual pop culture festival scheduled for August 13-16 that will serve as a preview of what Digital NYCC will look like.

The Metaverse will offer its own slate of interactive events, offering fans online access to comics creators and celebrity interviews, previews of new comics, TV shows and movies, video streamed cosplay events and other fan-focused activities via ReedPop and YouTube.

The cancellation of the physical New York Comic Con, which sold more than 210,000 tickets to last year’s show, has been long expected. New York Comic Con’s decision to switch to a virtual event follows the postponement and/or cancellation of virtually every pop culture event of the past year (among them the San Diego Comic-Con International, which also switched to a virtual event) due to public health restrictions on public gatherings put in place to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. ReedPop is the organizer of more than 20 pop culture convention-events in the U.S and around the globe, among them Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle, originally slated for August, but which has been canceled.

In response to the switch to a virtual NYCC, ReedPop president Lance Fensterman said, “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. We look forward to this weekend all year long, just like you. While this year will definitely be a different experience, we are going to look to bring the best and most engaging event to our fans, exhibitors, and studios through our partnership with YouTube.”