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Dispatches from San Diego: Comic-Con 2011 Preview Night

I'm not in San Diego for this year's Comic-Con (marking the first year in about six that I haven't traveled south for the annual pop culture confab) for a number of reasons. While I'm sad to be missing some friends and some of the events (particularly the Game of Thrones panel moderated by George R.R. Martin), I'm feeling a rare sense of Zen that I never do this time of year.

However, Mark DiFruscio was on the scene to offer his report on Wednesday's opening Preview Night and some photos from the convention floor.

* * *

The 2011 San Diego Comic-Con kicked off Wednesday night with an uncharacteristically subdued Preview Night.

While a throng of Con-goers still managed to pack the aisles of the exhibit floor-- frequently to suffocating degrees-- absent were the more overtly eye-catching feature film promotional displays of recent years such as the life-sized Owl Ship from WATCHMEN, the Light Cycles from TRON, and even a deceased Abin Sur under glass from GREEN LANTERN.

Although Marvel Studios did fill up a fair amount of real estate to promote AVENGERS and Sony offered up a few life-sized replicas from MEN IN BLACK III, there was an undeniable shift in focus this year, away from the big budget blockbuster films, and toward upcoming television projects and Blu-ray releases. Particularly noteworthy was WALKING DEAD's rooftop display centered around a frighteningly realistic Michael Rooker mannequin caught between a hacksaw and a handful of zombies.

The evening's Most Incongruous Award goes to the "NBA Garden," which was apparently there to promote some rather odd Kobe Bryant and Derek Rose dolls.

Ultimately it remains to be seen whether the reduced role of blockbuster films at this year's San Diego Comic-Con signals the beginning of a trend but it's hard to recall the last time the convention felt this much like trade show.

[Photos from Preview Night follow, after the jump...]


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