Chris Evans is still scheduled to come to a comic con in Boston next weekend. But please don’t shake his hand.
Ace Comic Con, which is hosting a Northeast fan event from March 20-22 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, will go on as planned, despite coronavirus concerns, according to organizers. That said, there are some new rules regarding social distancing, posted on ACE’s Facebook page:
“During Photo Ops & Autographs - Handshakes, hugs, requests to hold props during Photo Ops, and physical contact will not be permitted. No gifts, letters, or cards will be accepted by celebrity guests so we ask that you do not bring in those items.
We are requiring all fans to utilize hand sanitizing stations prior to entering your Photo Op and/or Autograph. These stations are located at the entrance of each booth, prior to your ticket being collected."
ACE said in a statement to the Globe that there’s still excitement and enthusiasm about the Northeast event, and that many fans are still scheduled to come (more than 20,000 are expected). As of Monday afternoon, Ace hasn’t had any celebrity cancellations. The list of stars expected at Ace is huge; Evans shares the list with Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Jake Gyllenhaal, Tessa Thompson, and “Star Wars” actors Ewan McGregor and Keri Russell. “Harry Potter” fans will also get their fix with two Weasleys – Rupert Grint and Bonnie Wright.
Of course, some have fans have posted complaints on Facebook. They bought special autograph packages expecting to get hugs and handshakes from stars.
“I am coming from FL and I wanted a hug from both Chris’. Now I’m gonna stand side by side with them? How is that fair? ... I honestly don’t want to come anymore,” one Facebook user said.
Another said: “There have been three winter ACE Comic Cons, during flu season. I caught a cold at the first ACE, probably from Henry Cavill who apologized for having one as he extended his hand to me. I was not about to refuse his handshake. I don’t see the difference now, except for mass hysteria. Everyone, guests and attendees, should be able to choose for themselves what they are comfortable with.”
One fan asked: “Does putting your hand on the celebrities shoulder during a photo op count as physical contact? Paying a lot of money for photo ops and im not ok with taking an awkward picture with the celebrity 10 ft away.”
Ace said if any individual feels that the new rules would “deter their experience” at Ace Comic Con, “we’re happy to work with them and offer a refund.” ACE did not give specifics about what the refund would be.
This will be ACE’s first convention in Boston. Gareb Shamus, who started ACE with his brother after many years in the fan business (Shamus founded Wizard magazine in the early 1990s, then hosted events, which led him to the world of conventions), says that while comic books are present at ACE, he considers it a different kind of fan event. He said it draws a broad audience that loves the characters, even if they don’t know the comics. He said his event is inclusive, and that more than 50 percent of the people who attend are women.
“Ninety percent of the people all over the world have never read a comic book,” Shamus said by phone, as he prepped for Boston. “What we wanted to with ACE was appeal to people who love superheroes.”
Shamus said he’s particularly excited to be in Boston for the first time because of one star.
“We had the opportunity to work with Chris Evans in his hometown. We wanted to inaugurate that.”
Shamus confessed that even though he’s used to meeting stars, he still gets nervous around some of them. Hemsworth, for instance, is very good looking in person, Shamus said.
“That guy … he just floats through air. He’s just got this aura around him that’s incredible.”
Worth noting: auras are germ-free.