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Embrace your inner nerd at Comic-Con Preview Night (pictures)

The San Diego Comic-Con's Preview Night has become the de facto convention kick-off, and last night did not disappoint with everything from seven Iron Man suits of armor to James Bond's boat.

1 of 25 Seth Rosenblatt/CNET

Come to me, my armor

The San Diego Comic-Con's Preview Night has become the de facto convention kick-off, and last night did not disappoint with everything from seven Iron Man suits of armor to James Bond's boat.

Guaranteed to be as big a hit as the Avenger's helicarrier set piece from last year's Comic-Con, Marvel's big booth decor this year is a scene from Tony Stark's lab in Iron Man 3 where you can see all the previous versions of the Iron Man armor. Sadly, you can only try it on if your name is Robert Downey Jr.

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Avengers versus Kinect

Also at the Marvel booth, you could jump into a Kinect-fueled Avengers video game.
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James Bond's boat

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of James Bond, the Ian Fleming Foundation hauled in the secret agent's classic boat.
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Cartoon Network turns 20

The Cartoon Network celebrates its 20th anniversary at this year's Comic-Con.
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Testifying to the digital masses

Comixology, the top distributor of comic books digitally, set up a camera to record fans' impressions of its comics-reading app and store.
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Injustice for the heroes

While Marvel dominated its booth with its Iron Man 3 set, DC went for a divide-and-conquer approach. Here, fans get a chance to demo the new Injustice: Gods Among Us video game.
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Free Alfred

MAD Magazine was handing out free Alfred E. Neuman masks at Preview Night. No word if they'll replace the V for Vendetta masks popular with the Occupy movement.
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DC pushes digital

DC Comics used some of its booth space to let fans read its comics on tablets.
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Personalize that cover

Another option for DC fans was to have a photo of themselves inserted into either a Justice League or MAD Magazine cover. Seconds later, they were handed a printed copy of the image and given a URL from which to download it later.
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Terry cloth costumes

It can be cold when you get out of the Bat-tub, so Stylin' Online has a range of terry cloth super-hero bathrobes to keep you warm and snug for $60.
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Freebie Batman

Giveaways at Preview Night can be big, but they're generally small, like this Entertainment Weekly-distributed The Dark Knight Rises figurine. Just don't call it a doll.
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A different kind of cosplay

Stephanie Castro, a 20-something resident of San Diego, spent four hours making this skirt featuring Marvel characters.
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Cooke the signer

Darwyn Cooke signs copies of his latest adaptation of Richard Stark's Parker series of crime novels, and paints in some yellow, too. It's a time-consuming process, an unexpected touch that shows his appreciation for his fans.
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Alien blinkies

In one of the more unusual giveaways of the evening, if you submitted to sitting on a front-facing chair and having a formed piece of rubber in the shape of an alien tickle the back of your neck, you would be rewarded with a blinkie attached to the neck strap for your Con badge. It was all a promo for the "Falling Skies" TV show, but that didn't make it any less strange.
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Popular is the Nerdist

Chris Hardwick, author of The Nerdist Way, was an understandably popular target for fan photos.
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Andrew, 9, of Pleasanton, Calif., was galavanting around the show floor and lightly thwacking people with his inflatable tomahawk. His Uncle Eric admonished him, "No head shots," as he carried around his niece, Amy, 11. It was a scene as unexpected as the alien blinkie lights.
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Spike hearts video games

Collecting pins to attach to your badge neck strap is another popular Con pastime, and to the surprise of no one, Spike TV's "I heart video games" was a big hit.
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A quick critique

Writer Mark Waid, left, offers some enthusiastic words to his artist Shane Davis when shown photocopies of his latest work. Waid and Davis are working on a new comic from Legendary called The Tower Chronicles.
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Comics in 3D?

The film studio Legendary is branching into comics, with top-shelf talent and a partnership with LG. This LG Thrill has been forced to show Tower Chronicles in 3D, although that may have been more for the amusement of the photographer than anything else.
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Join the Walking Dead

A big hit last year was the Walking Dead life-size, participatory diorama, and this year's features the fan-favorite, katana-wielding character Michonne.
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This is what a troll looks like

This is what a troll looks like, if you're in Peter Jackson's adaptation of "The Hobbit."
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K.I.T.T.'s back... sort of

The talking car from David Hasselhoff's series Knight Rider, K.I.T.T., was a welcome surprise to the many fans who remember the '80s TV show.
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It's raining Vader

Star Wars-branded lightsaber umbrellas have been around for a while, but they're still a novelty item at Comic-Con.
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Kinda cosplay

Preview Night doesn't offer much in the way of cosplay, so a hat with Yoda ears stands out more than it would later during the Con.
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Angelic Chitwood and Ryan Porter, both of Los Angeles, picked up substantial hauls of swag at Preview night. Their loot included fedoras from the Fringe TV show, a talking blue dalek from Dr. Who, a King's Hand pin from Game of Thrones, and a Yoda pin.

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