COMIC book heroes and villains will not be descending on Dovercourt this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Organisers of the Essex Comic Con, which has been held at Dovercourt Skating Rink, in Lower Marine Parade, for the past three years have been forced to cancel this year’s summer spectacle.

The comic con was set to be held on June 21 - but due to Government’s social distancing rules it has been postponed until next year.

The colourful event has welcomed hundreds of fantasy fans to the rink since it launched in the summer of 2016.

Each year a plethora of cosplayers have attended the event in a bid to win the best dressed competition and display their creative costumes.

Screen stars who have featured as extras in blockbuster films, such as Harry Potter and Star Wars, have also greeted visitors at the event since the comic con started.

Actors dressed as movie characters like the Incredible Hulk and Stormtroopers are regulars at the comic con, and they pose for photographs with youngsters.

Live entertainment by a range of musicians and wrestling matches with homegrown heroes are also a large part of the festivities.

Food stands selling a range of cuisine, and craft stalls selling hand-made goods and children’s rides are a key attraction at the event year on year too.

Chris Scutt, who organises the comic con and runs the skating rink, said he was disappointed to have to cancel this year’s extravaganza. He added: “Unfortunately we had to cancel due to social distancing and the number of people who had booked to come.

“It is with great disappointment but we need to ensure the safety of our customers, film stars, cosplayers and special guests.

“We have rebooked for April 18, 2021.”

All tickets already bought for this year’s event will still be valid for the new date.

Mr Scutt added: “We are hoping to make it bigger and better, with even more stalls next year.

“We want more attractions and new film stars too.”