How to get your comic-senses tingling at this year's San Diego Comic-Con

 Geeks, nerds, and aficionados of the strange rejoice! The San Diego Comic-Con has graced our lives once again, delivering comics, scantily clad women, and Storm Troopers. Lots of Storm Troopers. But over the past few years, the invasion of Hollywood and the video-game industry has derailed the convention's original purpose: comic books. Everyone is way more focused on which Hollywood director will be attending the convention, or which video-game trailer will debut. For those looking to get back to the convention's Spandex-clad roots, here are the best ways to put the COMIC back into Comic-Con. Superpowers not included.

1) Attend the comic-book panels, not the movie ones.

Conventions are often the kind of place where comic-book fans and creators can interact on a personal level and talk some shop. All the major comic-book companies have brought in their top talent to answer your burning questions and tease at what's on the horizon for your favorite characters. Don't waste this opportunity by attending the debut of a trailer you can find online three hours later. Mix, mingle, and get all the candid information you won't find anywhere else.

2) Collect, Collect, Collect

It wouldn't be a comic-book convention without tons of comic books, now would it? Conventions of this size have enough comics in them to set the entire city of San Diego on fire, making it the perfect place to fill all the missing gaps in your collection (or commit larceny - your call). Searching for that special issue of Hulk where he's bright purple instead of green? Us neither, but no doubt there will be dozens of copies floating around. More often than not, sellers can be haggled down to cheaper prices, so make sure you pack some negotiating in your utility belt.

3) The clothes make the man

When you think about it, the San Diego Comic-Con is just a really big excuse to play dress-up. Where else can a 300-pound man dress up as Skeletor in broad daylight, and not have the cops called on him? They say copying is the sincerest form of flattery, so show your passion for your favorite comic characters by, well, being them. And depending on the quality of your costume, you can actually gain some street cred on the show floor from fellow nerds. Just a note to all of you dressed-up Jokers: If you see someone dressed like Batman, do NOT challenge them to a duel. On top of looking like complete idiots, you'll probably get thrown out.

_Andrew Steinbeiser

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