To stroll by the window of a comic book store and spy a flier detailing a fundraiser for a favorite artist or writer or customer isn't all that unusual.
Comic shops have long been nexuses of true community, a place where people come to not only purchase the latest graphic novel but to hang out with fellow fans and discuss all manner of topics.
Comic-Con International, which could be looked at, in a way, as the world's largest, busiest comic book shop, keeps that fan-nice community spirit aglow throughout its four-day run each year. (Those dates in 2016 are just ahead: July 21 through 24.)
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And much like seeing the fundraising flier in the window of your corner shop, it isn't unusual to stroll by an impromptu charity event or giveback drive during the convention, a fundraiser that is helping the San Diego community or another specific organization.
The annual Robert A. Heinlein Blood Drive returns to the mega pop culture convention for its 40th go-around. Billed as "the San Diego Blood Bank's longest-running event," the Comic-Con blood drive has collected "16,652 pints of blood" over its four-decade history.
Talk about superheroes. Want to give? Head for Grand Hall D at the Manchester Grand Hyatt.
Once you've given your pint, and you want to look for more ways to lend a hand, consider two off-site traditions that, while not affiliated officially with the convention, still keep ties to its cape-wearing themes and charitable heart.
The Heroes Brew Fest raises money each year for Warrior Foundation — Freedom Station. Yep, you can wear your costume, yep, you'll drink nice beer, and yep, you'll need to zoom through the clouds from the convention center, or at least catch a ride, to San Diego's Waterfront Park on Saturday, July 23.
Earlier in the day the Helen Woodward Animal Center's Pawmicon returns, though don't head for Rancho Santa Fe, the home of the center. The "Cosplay for a Cause" — think furry pumpkins in their "Star Wars" and superhero best — is happening at the Hazard Center in the late morning.
If you dig helping out dogs, and kitties, and beasties of all stripes, swing by and "awww" over the pop culture cuteness, while helping those animals who need homes.
Where can you lend a hand during Comic-Con International? Keep your supersight goggles on for the opportunities that pop up, heroically, near the world's largest pop culture convention.