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Photos: Comic-Con 2011

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  1. Comic-Con 2011

    Comic-Con, the annual San Diego-based convention for lovers of fantasy, science-fiction and horror genres, has expanded exponentially since its modest start in 1970 as a comic book fan gathering. Today, attention from TV and film studios make it a must-attend event throughout the entertainment industry.

    Members of the audience wear 3-D masks in the image of Edgar Allen Poe during the panel for the movie, "TWIXT" on Saturday, July 23. Val Kilmer plays a writer who has ghostly encounters with Poe and a young girl, and director Francis Ford Coppola says digital technology will allow him to tweak the film every night it's shown. (Gregory Bull / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Yee-haw!

    Executive producer Steven Spielberg attends the premiere of Universal Pictures "Cowboys & Aliens" during Comic-Con on Saturday, July 23. (Frazer Harrison / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. 'Total Recall'

    Kate Beckinsale and Colin Farrell speak about their remake of "Total Recall" at Comic-Con on Saturday, July 23. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Why so serious?

    Jason Figler of Castle Rock, Colo., poses in Joker makeup at Comic-Con on Saturday, July 23. (Frazer Harrison / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Does whatever a spider can

    "Amazing Spider-Man" star Andrew Garfield speaks during Comic-Con on Saturday, July 23. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Who's the fairest of them all?

    Charlize Theron and Kristen Stewart speak at the "Snow White and the Huntsmen" panel on Saturday, July 23. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Rainbow coalition

    Guests in costume pose at Comic-Con on Saturday, July 23. (Frazer Harrison / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Comic-Con

    Convention attendees in costume as Cylon warriors from "Battlestar Galactica" leave the convention center following the pop culture convention's opening day on Friday, July 22. (Mike Blake / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Bloody good

    Jill Pantozzi dressed up as Daenerys Targaryen from "The Game of Thrones" and re-enacts the season one scene where the character eats a horse heart. (Denis Poroy / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Blonde ambition

    Actress Emilia Clarke undoubtedly shocked many at her "Game of Thrones" panel at Comic-Con, appearing without her character Daenerys Targaryen's white-blonde locks. The HBO series received three Emmy nominations. (Denis Poroy / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. All dressed up

    Comic Con attendees showed off their costumes, including Wolverine in the yellow, on Friday, July 22. (Mike Blake / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. America the beautiful

    "Captain America" star Chris Evans strikes a pose before the stars and stripes during Comic-Con in San Diego. (Matt Sayles / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Having a blast

    Costumes are almost de rigeur for the many fans who attend San Diego's Comic-Con ... and they often come with (non-functioning) weaponry. (Michael Buckner / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Just in time

    In the upcoming movie "In Time," humans stop aging at 25 and have to buy more time; co-star Justin Timberlake knows a lot about stopping time, as he drew a crowd of paparazzi and fans to his appearance at Comic-Con. (Mike Blake / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. A Lannister always greets his fans

    Peter Dinklage greeted the crowd as he arrived for a panel for the Emmy nominated HBO show "Game of Thrones" on Thursday, July 21. Dinklage plays Tyrion Lannister on the drama, and was nominated for an Emmy for best supporting actor for the role. (Denis Poroy / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. The Dark Passenger arrives

    Actor Michael C. Hall, star of the Showtime series "Dexter," posed for a portrait at the LMT Music Lodge during Comic Con on Thursday, July 21. Hall plays the lovable serial killer Dexter. (Matt Sayles / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Together again

    "Twilight" saga stars, from left, Taylor Lautner, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson spoke at the "Breaking Dawn Part 1" panel during Comic-Con on July 21. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Surprise!

    "Twilight" stars Ashley Green, left, and Nikki Reed surprised fans by making an early morning appearance at Comic-Con on Thursday, July 21. The two were joined by several other cast members of the upcoming "Breaking Dawn, Part 1," and they signed autographs and delivered breakfast to fans who camped out over night to catch a glimpse of the film. (Dan Steinberg / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Wicked

    Comic-Con attendees dressed as the baddies from Disney's "Sleeping Beauty" (Maleficent on the left) and the witch in "Snow White" walk the convention floor. (Mike Blake / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Big as life

    Fans take in the attractions of the Comic Con. (Sean Masterson / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Scary sight

    She's probably a very nice person outside San Diego's Comic-Con event, but on preview night for the annual convention Caitlin Walters struck a menacing, long-clawed pose for the photographers. (Jerod Harris / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Chomp

    Taking a bite outta Comic-Con: Sinqua Walls, who will appear in "Shark Night 3D" encounters a land shark (alas, mechanical). (Jerod Harris / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Fish food

    Actresses Alyssa Diaz, Sara Paxton and Katharine McPhee take a dive into the deep end at a "Shark Night 3D" press preview evening. The three ladies swim — and possibly sleep — with the fishes in the film. (Jerod Harris / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Red, white and blue

    "Captain America: The First Avenger" may have just opened in theaters, but the character is a long-standing Marvel Comics favorite, as fan Jehoshua Kelly proves. (Jerod Harris / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Who you gonna call?

    It doesn't matter what area of fantasy, sci-fi or horror you may admire — Comic-Con has a place you can geek out. Here, an attendee arrives in full "Ghostbusters" regalia — including the car! (Jerod Harris / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Dressing up

    Costume play (or "cosplay") attracts not just the young at heart, but the young as well. Colin Chamberlin showed up with mask, hat and sword. (Jerod Harris / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. Showing some skin

    She's a little bit Princess Leia, she's a little bit ... we're not sure what. But Danielle Radford was ready to wow the geek crowd. (Jerod Harris / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Eyes on the prize

    Costumes are some of the biggest draws at Comic-Con; everyone's got a favorite genre, and under that a passion for a sometimes very specific TV show, movie or graphic novel collection. This attendee, on hand for the 2011 edition of the convention, wants all eyes on him (or her). (Jerod Harris / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. Where's a phone booth when you need one?

    Security at Comic-Con was clearly well in hand, what with Superman (Demir Oral, right) riding into the convention center alongside Tracy Ho as a warrior princess. (Jerod Harris / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. Ready, aim, fire

    For those who've always desired a laser ray gun of their very own, Dr. Grordbort's booth was on hand to assist. (Sadly, they don't work, but they're quite spectacular to behold.) (Sean Masterson / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. Blending in

    Comic-Con draws costumes of all shapes, sizes and ... well, species. (Denis Poroy / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Image:
    Gregory Bull / AP
    Above: Slideshow (31) Comic-Con 2011
  2. Paramount Pictures
    Slideshow (11) Best and worst superhero costumes
  3. Image:
    Universal Pictures
    Slideshow (22) Summer blockbusters
  4. Daryl Cagle / MSNBC.com, Politicalcartoons.com
    Slideshow (12) The End of Harry Potter
  5. Image: Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows - Part 2 - World Film Premiere
    Ian Gavan / Getty Images
    Slideshow (20) 'Harry Potter' world premiere
IMAGE: Stormtroopers at Comic-Con
Denis Poroy  /  AP
Calling all superheroes and stormtroopers: Comic-Con is back.
By
updated 7/20/2011 11:18:49 AM ET 2011-07-20T15:18:49

Calling all superheroes, zombies, space aliens, comic-book lovers and kids of all ages: Comic-Con is here.

The pop-culture convention, which annually draws thousands of costumed fans to San Diego, begins Thursday, but the die-hards (and those with weekend-long passes) were getting a peek at the colorful convention floor on Wednesday night

Story: A 'Twilight' dawn breaks over Comic-Con

The line for badges to access the festival was already wrapped around the San Diego Convention Center by Wednesday afternoon.

Upon receiving their passes, conventioneers perused a 192-page event guide and toted oversized loot bags emblazoned with "The Justice League" as they milled about the streets of downtown San Diego in anticipation of the festival's opening.

Story: Why 'Batman' is way cooler than 'Captain America'

Gigantic movie ads wrapped nearby hotels: the Hard Rock was covered with "Spider-Man" symbols and the Hilton touted "Cowboys & Aliens."

Hundreds of exhibitors and more than 130,000 guests are expected to pack the Convention Center for the sold-out, four-day event.

Slideshow: Best and worst superhero costumes (on this page)

"The people who go through those doors, most of them are film fans and fans of pop culture, be it video games or movies or television shows, T-shirts or comic books, it's all part of this big cultural stew," says filmmaker Jon Favreau, who will premiere his latest flick, "Cowboys & Aliens," at Comic-Con. "These are people who normally interact with one another through the Internet ... Then when you finally open it up to meeting in person, it just concentrates that experience."

At the Mattel booth, where fans clamored for collectibles including a "Back to the Future" toy DeLorean, marketing manager Scott Neitlich — as 12-year Comic-Con veteran — talked about the excitement of the convention.

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Video: Comic-Con kicks off (on this page)

"It's a place where we can be ourselves and be excited about the properties and characters we love so much, and you're surrounded by people who are just as passionate as you are," he said. "Otherwise, we have our basements."

Story: Captain America villain takes on Mark Zuckerberg

Dylan Hishmeh, a 19-year-old from Santee, Calif., was excited to attend his eighth Comic-Con, where he proudly scored an exclusive "Gears of War 3" collectible game.

"It was one of 100," he said, adding that the game won't be released until September.

He said he was also excited to see Kevin Smith and to share his love of movies, video games and graphic design with other conventioneers.

"It's a nice environment to be with people who are into the same things you are," he said. "It's easy to get to know people."

Story: 'Captain America' keeps things simple

Making friends with like-minded folks is one of the great perks of Comic-Con, said Derryl DePriest, a 35-year festival veteran who now works for Hasbro.

"I've seen it go from an event based on comic books to a celebration of pop culture," he said. "The (toys) we make are fantastic, but it's the camaraderie built around them that makes it special.

Hollywood continues to command a headlining presence at Comic-Con, and Tinseltown offerings are some of the most anticipated at the Con.

Interactive: Evolution of the movie (and TV) superhero (on this page)

"Captain America" will play in San Diego for a full day before its nationwide opening Friday, and star Chris Evans is set to introduce the earliest screening. "Cowboys & Aliens" will hold its world premiere at Comic-Con on Saturday — a festival first. Steven Spielberg is coming to the convention to talk about "The Adventures of Tin-Tin"; Sony is offering a peek at "The Amazing Spider-Man"; and the "Twilight" trio — Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner and Robert Pattinson — will again greet their fans at the Con.

TV-wise, "True Blood," "Game of Thrones" and "The Walking Dead" are big draws, while new shows such as "Person of Interest," "Grimm" and "Terra Nova" will present preview footage and introduce their casts in an aim to attract viewers before their fall premieres.

New video games are also expected to score big at Comic-Con, where players can get an early look at sci-fi shooters "Halo" and "Gears of War 3" and the latest "Batman" and "Spider-Man" games.

"Comic-Con is this incredible celebration of the arts, and the arts spans movies, television, video games — which are incredibly artistic now. It's toys, it's collectibles, it is straight comics and graphic novels," says documentarian Morgan Spurlock, who made a movie about Comic-Con and will introduce its companion photo book at this year's festival. "It is this cornerstone of pop culture that has so much influence now."

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Celebrities, costumes rule at Comic-Con

Timeline: Evolution of the movie (and TV) superhero

From George Reeves' tights-wearing "Superman" to Chris Evans' hunky "Captain America," the size and build of cinematic heroes has changed over the years.

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