This week, Comic-Con International kicks off in San Diego, and just in case there wasn't enough to do crammed into four days of the world's biggest comic book and pop culture convention, we here at ComicsAlliance have decided to add a little extra fun of our own. So if you're heading to Comic-Con, grab your camera (or camera phone) and get ready for the first-ever ComicsAlliance Comic-Con Photographic Scavenger Hunt!

Whether you're waiting in line for a panel, browsing the back issue bins, meeting your favorite artists or just basking in the warmth of 150,000 fans all crammed into the same room, keep your eyes out for ten things to take pictures of and you might just win our prize: A $50 gift certificate for Dark Horse Digital comics!

We want your pictures of: obscure cosplayers, mashup cosplayers, child cosplayers, gender swap cosplayers, huge costume weapons, bootleg items, weird back issues, anime body pillows, comic book tattoos and ComicsAlliance staff members. Submit and stay tuned, because We'll be featuring the photos -- and the names of those who contribute -- on the site!

First up, our ground rules:

1. Each Category On Our List Is Worth 10 Points. For the best chance of winning, take pictures of something for every category, and send them all in to (or tweet them @comicsalliance with the hashtag #scavengerhunt)!

2. Only One Picture Per Category: It's tempting to take pictures of every cool thing you see in San Diego (and by all means, you should) but for the purposes of this contest, we only want to see the best pictures you've taken for each category.

3. Bonus Points For Multiple Categories In One Photograph! If you manage to find an item that fits at least two categories, you'll get the points for each category plus an additional 10 points for each category beyond the first! So start looking for kids with tattoos!

4. It should go without saying, but if you're taking pictures of a person, always ask permission and be polite. If we hear you're acting like a jerk, you're out of the contest.

5. Submit all entries to (or the #scavengerhunt hashtag) by 11:59 PM, Monday, July 25, 2011. Put all of your pictures (or links, if you're using a service like Flickr) in one email and send them over to us, and keep in mind that we may be posting them on ComicsAlliance.

So just what is it that you'll be keeping an eye (and a camera lens) out for? Here are the categories for our first-ever Scavenger Hunt:

1. An Extremely Obscure Cosplayer. There'll be plenty of Slave Leias and Deadpools running around San Diego this weekend, but how many Super-Hips and Fatman the Human Flying Saucers are there going to be? Keep in mind that the person must be actually cosplaying (no just taking a picture of a dude in jorts and claiming he's dressed as Kevin Smith), and you must be able to explain who they are and where they come from. Include a link if possible.

2. A Mashup Cosplayer. Someone cosplaying as at least two different things at the same time. And for those of you looking to maximize your entries, here's an opportunity for Bonus Points: For each mashup element beyond the first two, you're looking at an additional 10 points. A Zombie Jedi might get you a cool ten, but a Rollerblading Steampunk Zombie Jedi Elvis will land you a whopping 40.

3. Gender-Swap Cosplayer. Why let gender hold you back? Note: Nice try, but Wonder Man and Power Girl don't count, unless they're actual gender-swapped versions of Wonder Woman and Power Man.

4. A Kid Cosplayer. C'mon, they're adorable. Just make sure you ask for their parents' permission!

5. Ridiculously Huge Costume Accessories or Weaponry. Is someone trying to get a 10-foot papier-mache longsword onto the escalator? Is traffic in the aisle being blocked by a pair of gigantic wings? Snap a picture while you're waiting and it might just pay off.

6. Ridiculous Back Issue. What's Comic-Con without comics? The staff at CA has seen a lot of strange things over the years, but if you can find something even we think is crazy -- whether it's a bizarre back issue or just a slabbed 9.8 copy of Punisher 2099 someone's bold enough to try selling for $100 -- you're on your way to another ten points.

7. An Obvious Bootleg Item. C'mon, you know someone's got a DVD of Roger Corman's Fantastic Four for sale in there.

8. An Awesome Comic Book Tattoo. Just make sure it's somewhere we can actually show on our hard PG website. Also, any submissions that are pictures of the graphic novel Comic Book Tattoo will be disqualified, smart guy.

9. An Anime Body Pillow. The trick here is going to be finding one that's interesting and hilarious without crossing over into horrifying.

And finally...

10. A ComicsAlliance Staff Member. Laura Hudson, Andy Khouri, Caleb Goellner, Chris Sims, David Brothers, David Uzumeri, Chris Murphy and Bethany Fong are all going to be on the floor covering Comic-Con all weekend. If you can find us when we're not running somewhere or conducting an interview, snap a pic for those last crucial points!

One more time, for ease of copying into your notebook or writing on your program:

  • Obscure Cosplayer
  • Mashup Cosplayer
  • Gender-Swap Cosplayer
  • Kid Cosplayer
  • Huge Costume Accessory
  • Ridiculous Back Issue
  • Obvious Bootleg
  • Awesome Comic Book Tattoo
  • Anime Body Pillow
  • ComicsAlliance Staffer

Remember to get your entries in by next Monday night, for your chance at winning $50 worth of Dark Horse Digital comics, and we'll see you at Comic-Con!

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