Hearts, Comic-Con

What do you love about the world's most famous pop-culture con?

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Trying to share highlights of what we can confidently call the world's wowiest, star-attract-iest pop culture convention can be like trying to recommend a movie to a person you just met. You'll eventually land on something they like, and probably sooner than later, but it is best to just hand them the theater schedule and get out of their way.

But talking about the quirkier bits of Comic-Con International, which opens on Thursday, July 21? We wish we could make a career out of it. Is anyone hiring? Director of Quirky Comic-Con Love? Ping us.

Here are a few things we like about the little shindig at the San Diego Convention Center.

1. Star sightings. Not at the panels. We rode an elevator with Ray Bradbury. Ray to the Bradbury. Were you on the elevator with us? Did you nearly lose your head in quiet, brain-twirly excitement? Hoo boy.

2. The combo costumes. Anyone can show as an elf (props, elves; we know you put your time in). But how about the Elvis-Stormtrooper guy? Ingenious. Inweird. And Inalotofotherstuff. Amazing. We also love the family costuming (see above). The family that costumes together is awesome together.

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3. The homemade comics on view in Artists Alley. "Homemade" isn't pejorative here. It's loving. And we recommend you love on these artists who are trying to break in to the biz.

4. Mark Evanier. He's always there. Find him and listen to him.

5. Phil Foglio and Kaja Foglio's MCing duties at the Saturday night Masquerade. The get-ups are perfectly outlandish, too. Sometimes the act and the costume don't particularly mesh, and we love the performer all the more for it.

6. The company selling the Lovecraft merch. Sure, a lot of current artists and movies and books have booths, but we like to see stuff inspired by authors who left us decades ago. It truly goes to show that Comic-Con has some mega-huge-wide-reach.

7. The rumors. Good rumors, rather. The one where a certain star shows up on the convention floor wearing a full squirrel suit.

8. The swag comb-through. It always cheers us to see tons of people sacked out while they paw through their nine different bags. The day people aren't combing through their strange and free swag is not a day that'll be at Comic-Con.

9. That panel queues form days ahead of Comic-Con even opening. Check out the Breaking Dawn Twilight line, which got going on Monday, July 18. Dedication.

10. The t-shirts that don't just tout a property, like say "Army of Darkness," but rather call-out to something within the movie, like S-Mart. That's inside. And maybe that's what we like about the convention most. Everyone's inside, regardless of what they fancy.

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