See All Topics

Home / Section: Conventions

Swine flu hits Penny Arcade Expo

Last weekend’s Penny Arcade Expo will be memorable for several attendees – more so for many possibly returning home with H1N1, commonly called the swine flu. So far there have been less than a 100 confirmed cases according to Robert Khoo, Penny Arcade, Inc.’s President of Operations and Business Development. Those who attendeded and contracted the virus are urged to email Robert with their train and flight information to warn others who may have been exposed as well. So far the Penny Arcade blog lists about 20 flights and one train ride. On Twitter, the flu out break has been labeled Paxflu (Pax = Penny Arcade Expo).

Clarification: I lazily used “several attendees” above to describe the number of attendees at this year’s Expo. According to, the event had more than 58,500 attendees in 2008 and this year was reportedly sold out. It’s a big production no doubt. No sleight was intended to the Penny Arcade guys or their fans.

Community Comments

#1 Bill Amend
@ 9:22 am

As one of the “several attendees” (nice understatement Alan), I’ve so far been symptom-free, although a good 2/3rds of the people I was hanging out with have gotten sick since the convention, so I’m sort of waiting for an anvil to hit me on the head at any moment.

Best wishes for speedy recoveries to anyone who caught something.

#2 Alan Gardner
@ 10:05 am

Thanks for calling that out, Bill. I’ve added a clarification to the original post regarding the number of attendees.

#3 Howard Tayler
@ 10:35 am

There was also an H1N1 outbreak at Washington State University across the state, with some 2500 cases according to CNN. I suspect that’s the origin, since many of those students would have been at PAX over the long weekend.

#4 Wiley Miller
@ 11:19 am

I read that as several attendees getting sick, not that there were just several people attending. Seemed clear enough to me, Alan.

But, wow… over 58,000. That’s quite impressive.

#5 Jesse Cline
@ 11:26 am

Check out Bill Amend’s guest comic!

#6 Scott Kurtz
@ 2:34 pm

As one of the infected, I’m through the worst of it and feeling better. I’m going to take it easy today anyway and hopefully tomorrow I can feel human again.

Despite the outbreak of the flu virus, PAX was the best show I attended this year. It was an amazing con.

Would get sick again!

#7 Darryl Heine
@ 3:31 pm

For any comic-con, you should get vaccines first!

#8 r stevens
@ 6:05 pm

Aw, everybody knows webcomics don’t cause *real* viruses. And even if they did, we’d need to see your medical records! ;)

#9 Dave Stephens
@ 6:05 pm

As Jules Feiffer once said in 1958

Sick, Sick, Sick.

Drink lots of fluids Mr. Kurtz – I enjoy your strip immensely.

#10 Abell Smith
@ 8:45 pm

Dear God, sick gamer nerds!

For a few days, they may have do nothing but… um… lay around and play video games…


#11 Ben Rankel
@ 3:16 am

LOL @R Stevens. Clever boy.

#12 Henry Clausner
@ 6:47 am

..this swine flu is all around us….just talking about it gives me a stomach ache…

#13 Scott Kurtz
@ 5:11 pm

Honestly, I doubt I had the swine flu. I was missing all the stomach symptoms and the doctor didn’t feel the need to send my flu test off for state testing.

But let me tell you, it was no fun. The worst part was being stuck in this beautiful state and not being able to enjoy it or my friends.

#14 Holden Carver
@ 5:35 pm


I think you may have confused ‘sleight’ with ‘slight’.

#15 Mike Peterson
@ 4:18 pm

Another stereotype shattered …I didn’t think these were the kinds of conventions where you came home in need of antibiotics …

#16 Dan Collins
@ 10:40 pm

I got sick going to LA this July! I am glad I don’t travel like some folks do just for that reason.

#17 Scott Kurtz
@ 12:06 pm

Actually, the Penny-Arcade Expo has the most hygenic fans of any con I’ve attended. I don’t think I’ve seen more fans that I consider to be “normal” in my life.

They have really attracted a special crowd. The con almost is a physical representation of internet culture. It’s people like you and me who show up to celebrate the net culture they love.

Sure there are some people in kilts and the occasional person dressed up as Mario. But for the most part, this con is the one con where the attendees are people I would want to hang out with after the show.

In fact, the volunteer staff of PAX (the Enforcers) are all fans from the Penny-Arcade community.

#18 Lucas Turnbloom
@ 5:28 pm

Hey Scott, welcome back.

#19 Jason Nocera
@ 7:20 pm

It’s kind of ironic that a web comic con gets hit by a virus, isn’t it?

#20 Patrick Scullin
@ 12:37 pm

Wow, I used to worry about getting computer viruses by going online, now they tell me it’s possible to catch H1N1 from web comics…

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.