Fans hop aboard Comic-Con train
For a lucky fellowship of fans, Comic-Con began early on a private train carriage trekking to the US pop-culture convention.
The fan-centric social networking site Wikia picked 30 users to board a private vintage carriage transformed into the Wikia Fan Express.
The special expedition from Los Angeles to San Diego included an assortment of unique on-board entertainment, including special sneak peeks and Q&A sessions.
"Comic-Con is supposed to be all about the fans, so what cooler way to get some of our fans to the show than to take them on this really beautiful train car," said Wikia entertainment programming director Eric Moro while perched underneath the car's domed glass ceiling.
"The fact that we're not only taking this really cool train to Comic-Con, but we've got all this great content to show them along the way is awesome."
The Wikia-sponsored railway journey included a preview of the upcoming video game Middle-earth: Shadow Of Mordor, a sneak peak at the fantasy-meets-reality TV series The Quest and a demonstration of Wikia's new interactive mapping feature, which allows users to collaboratively annotate maps of both real and fictional places like Middle-earth.
"This is the first time I've ever demoed a game on a train," said Shadow Of Mordor design director Michael de Plater.
He showed off a level from the open-world combat game, which is set between The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings tales.
Wikia decked out booths inside the domed Silver Splendour car, which was built in 1956, with maps of the villainous realm Mordor and flat-screen monitors to broadcast game and TV clips.
Mr Moro and his team hand selected fans for the expedition from hundreds of Wikia users headed to Comic-Con.
Rebecca "cyabude3" Lietz, who contributes to the site's "Shadow of Mordor" page, travelled from Germany for the special trip. It is her first Comic-Con.
"It's really special," she said. "People from all over the world come to Comic-Con to see things like DC, Marvel and Archie Comics, so for me to be here for the first time and go to San Diego this way, it's really great."
Comic-Con, the four-day extravaganza that celebrates film, TV, video games, comic books and costumes, is at the San Diego Convention Centre from today with more than 150,000 fans expected to attend the sold-out event.