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San Diego Comic-Con: Wednesday – Preview Night madness

Trolls from The Hobbit
Life-sized Trolls from The Hobbit

San Diego Comic-Con 2012 is on, like the proverbial barrel-tossing monkey! Passes started being given out at 3 p.m. Wednesday, but as I drove past the convention center early that morning, it was obvious that pop culture loving fanboys and girls couldn’t wait to get their hands on that golden ticket as people were already lined-up and appeared to have been there a while.

Downtown San Diego is bathed in geeky advertising banners for movies like Wreck It Ralph, Frankenweenie and Total Recall, and the side of at least one hotel is covered in a giant ad for the upcoming video game/Syfy show combo, Defiance. Many Con attendees took the few hours before show time at Preview Night to just chill out at a bar and eat a good meal at one of the many downtown restaurants, in preparation of the several hours of uncanny craziness that was to come.

Waiting for Preview NightBy the time passes started being issued, it was fandemonium as people scrambled to get not only their badges, but also the event program, 2012 souviner book and the Warner Bros. swag-bag that has become a must-have item for this event. The event program in particular is very cool this year, showcasing Tarzan and the Golden Lion artwork by the incredible Joe Jusko. It’s the ape-man’s 100th anniversary this year, together with Edgar Rice Burroughs’ other classic hero, John Carter, and the two centenarians are getting some special recognition at this year’s Comic-Con, including the aptly titled panel event, the 100th Anniversary of Tarzan and John Carter of Mars. The Con’s souvenir book this year focuses on the 50th anniversary of many of the Marvel superhero characters.

With badge and swag bag in hand, most attendees headed straight for the exhibit halls Preview Night event line for a three-hour wait for the doors to open. Many used this time to go over the event program and strategize a plan of attack for the Thursday-through-Sunday convention, others were seen just reading comics or playing video games on the portable electronic devices, and others still just took the opportunity to make new friends with the people they would spend the next three-hours of their life sitting/standing next to.

When the hall doors finally opened, the excitement level peaked as people made their way onto the exhibit floor and headed for their respective ‘can’t-miss’ booths for exclusives and hard-to-find items, from limited edition comics and art prints like the Mars Attacks #1 exclusive retailer edition, to the hot must-have toys like the Walking Dead Rick and Zombie minimates. For some, the must have item was just a Fox Network poster tube to keep their precious poster swag from being damaged. There were also enormously long lines to get the coveted 2012 Comic-Con souvenir T-shirt with an awesome Batman art design.

Steam CrowFirst stop on my list (and coincidentally the first booth I stumbled upon as I entered the exhibit hall) was the Valley’s own Steam Crow and Monster Commute team, Daniel & Dawna Davis. The dynamically-moustached Daniel and his wonderful wife are selling a con-exclusive Steam Crow style Nosferatu print, in honor of the vampire’s 90th anniversary. Of course they also have their complete catalog of art and other curiosities, and their booth is bigger and bolder than ever. Make sure you swing by booth space number 4205 and say “Hi” to this ultra-talented team and take some of their incredible art home.

With no specific goal in mind other than to just go with the flow of wall-to-wall people and take-in all the sights, sounds and spectacles, I stumbled upon dozens of amazing attractions including life-size character statues of Gollum, Gandalf and a gigantic trio of trolls from the new Hobbit film. There was also a Walking Dead exhibit where fans could pose as a chained zombie pet with a life-sized statue of Michonne. There were Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Total Recall car, a Looper movie motorbike thingy, and even a tricked out Walking Dead car that was a spiked zombie-killing Hyundai (with emphasis on the ‘dai’ part!)

Nicole BruneOne of the coolest finds of the evening though was a Con-exclusive print by pin-up artist Nicole Brune titled “Daddy’s Little Princess.” It’s a sexy advertisement for a fictional “Rebel Tattoo Parlor” and it features a tattooed Princess Leia posing seductivly in a space-style corset. It’s a limited edition print and every fanboy’s dream.

You can check out the slideshow below to see pictures of some of the attractions I came across on Wednesday’s Preview Night. Scheduled for Thursday is the Stan Lee’s World of Heroes panel and then Nerdvana will be sitting in on the roundtable interview with Stan Lee and Mark Hamill.

Be sure to follow our Comic-Con coverage on Twitter and all our Con blog posts HERE.

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About the author

Bob Leeper

Bob Leeper is the co-owner and manager of "Arizona’s Pop Culture and Alternative Art Network," Evermore Nevermore. He is the co-creator of the pop culture events Steampunk Street and ENCREDICON, and is a member of the Phoenix Film Critics Society. He also curates the Facebook fan site The Arizona Cave – AZ Fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and is one of the few brave and bold fans of Jar Jar Binks.


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