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Comic-Con 2011 kicks off with Preview Night (photos)

North America's largest comic book convention returns, and CNET editor Seth Rosenblatt provides a glimpse into Preview Night, originally for comics industry but now expanded to include some fans as well.

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Seth Rosenblatt

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1 of 21 Seth Rosenblatt/CNET

Batman, angry and large

North America's largest comic book convention starts in San Diego, and CNET editor Seth Rosenblatt showed up yesterday to provide a glimpse into Preview Night--originally for people working in the comics industry but now expanded to include some fans as well.

Here, an enormous screenprint of Batman from the upcoming Arkham City game hangs above the DC Comics booth.

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2 of 21 Seth Rosenblatt/CNET

Yes, you can draw on the rabbit

One booth let visitors express themselves with chalk on a slate bunny.
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3 of 21 Seth Rosenblatt/CNET

Own a piece of Star Wars

Although expensive, Sideshow Collectibles Star Wars replicas are always a big hit with attendees. Shown is the life size version. The 25.5" high model, which weighs 12 lbs., costs $299.99.
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Spider-Parker

One of several exclusive San Diego Comic-Con toys is Dark Horse's model that's half Spider-Man and half his alter ego, Peter Parker.
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5 of 21 Seth Rosenblatt/CNET

Leggo my Lego

Lego provided a big pile of yellow bricks for kids to play with at their booth.
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6 of 21 Seth Rosenblatt/CNET

Iron Man and Thor

Nine-year-old Mason Scott dePedro, costumed as Thor, stands in awe in front of the Marvel Comics booth, which has been designed to resemble Shield. His brother, six-year-old Lucas Walker dePedro, is dressed as Iron Man carrying Captain America's shield.
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7 of 21 Seth Rosenblatt/CNET

Marvel's movies

The organization known as Shield plays a pivotal role in next year's Avengers movie, and the set has been turned into the focal point of Marvel Comics' Comic-Con booth this year.
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8 of 21 Seth Rosenblatt/CNET

Mad, mad figures

The goofy mascot of Mad Magazine, Alfred E. Neuman, comes dressed as several DC Comics superheroes in these limited-edition toys.
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9 of 21 Seth Rosenblatt/CNET

Dark Horse designs its own

Mark Bernardi, director of special programs at Dark Horse Comics, shows off its iOS app for buying and reading comics.
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10 of 21 Seth Rosenblatt/CNET

Munky King or demon controller?

The Munky King toys booth features a demonic character controlling a robotic bear with big claws--because the world lacks demons with robotic bears.
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From curtains to clothes

Diana Rennie of Anaheim, Calif., spent about 10 hours making 1980s "Empire Strikes Back" curtains into a dress.
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PC Cast goes to Dark Horse

Author P.C. Cast, known for her "House of Night" vampire novels, announced at Preview Night that she will collaborate with Dark Horse to adapt them into comics.
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13 of 21 Seth Rosenblatt/CNET

ABC revives Pan Am

A new ABC series in the vein of "Mad Men" features the stewardesses of Pan Am Airlines, who were in full costume at Comic-Con.
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14 of 21 Seth Rosenblatt/CNET

Prime in the Matrix

A limited-edition Optimus Prime toy from Hasbro features the Transformer in wearable packaging designed to look like the Autobot Matrix of Leadership.
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Five for five bucks, even on Preview Night

Hannli Young shows off Radical Studios' special Comic-Con book, a paperback that collects five of its titles' first issues. The collection retails for $5.
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16 of 21 Seth Rosenblatt/CNET

Spartacus!

Pop culture that's not actually a comic has been a growing part of Comic-Con, and Spartacus is just another example of Hollywood studios attempting to capture some of the comics geek's passion. Along with Hollywood studios comes Hollywood money, and elaborate booth sets like this one to prove it.
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17 of 21 Seth Rosenblatt/CNET

Star Wars graffmobile

Popular comics artist Ken Lashley has been hired by Lucasfilm and BMW to illustrate key Star Wars scenes and characters on a car. Although there was no official confirmation, it's likely that the car will be given away during the convention.
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18 of 21 Seth Rosenblatt/CNET

Graffmobile up close

Here's another look at Lashley's Star Wars art.
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19 of 21 Seth Rosenblatt/CNET

Digital drawing with Sketchbook

A charity promotion with Viz Media and Autodesk has them recruiting artists with a digital hook to raise money for Japanese tsunami relief. Here, Kyle Runciman of Autodesk shows how the desktop version of the program works with a Wacom Cintiq.
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20 of 21 Seth Rosenblatt/CNET

Walking Dead re-enactment set

Fans of the Walking Dead show and comic can re-create the gory scene where one character has to cut off his own hand to escape the zombies. In this photo, brothers Brandon Munoz, 14, and Michael Munoz, 13, pretend to struggle with the handcuffs and hacksaw. While Brandon is a comics fan and into manga, Michael told me that he doesn't read comics, showing that there's a lot to be said for well-made adaptations from any medium.
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Watch us, we're nearly naked

One industry media outlet with a booth at Comic-Con had a barker-style promoter wearing a Speedo. It got attention, that's for sure.

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