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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.