Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

Comic-Con 2012 highlights: Schwarzenegger goes geek, Firefly not-quite-resurrected, 'Iron Man 3' fan love and way more

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Rabid fans claw for giveaways at Marvel Comics' booth at San Diego Comic-Con 2012.

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A preacher (shortly before being kicked off the property by police) tries to win over the Comic-Con faithful.

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Robert Downey Jr. makes his entrance (rocking an Iron Man glove) at San Diego Comic-Con 2012.

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Collectible statues of the Avengers at San Diego Comic-Con 2012.

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"Adventure Time" takes over the children's museum near San Diego Comic-Con 2012.

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Fans gawk at a giant Chewbacca at San Diego Comic-Con 2012.

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Nathan Fillion speaks at the Firefly 10th anniversary press conference.

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The lonely stairs outside the San Diego Convention Center following a day of Comic-Con 2012.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger makes his Comic-Con debut, Thursday, July 12, 2012.

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A Star Wars fan about to shoot the photographer at San Diego Comic-Con 2012.

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There are, in fact, still comics at Comic-Con. (At least in 2012.)

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An unauthorized Ninja Turtles/Star Trek crossover at San Diego Comic-Con 2012.

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A dressed up fan does her best Bartman impression at San Diego Comic-Con 2012.


For those who haven't been, San Diego Comic-Con is a massive pop culture behemoth that can intimidate even those who dare to brave its wilds (pro tip: SDCC for the experienced), but for those who do venture in, it offers some excellent rewards. Those include access to the stars, sneak peeks at the future of entertainment and the opportunity to be part of a community where at least someone else will love the thing that you love.

I present to you but a few of the highlights of the convention:

• Campers catch fire: Some fans are so eager to see the stars of their favorite thing that they're willing to camp out in line in order to assure their place in the room, and hopefully a decent spot after fighting the crowds of fellow enthusiasts to get inside. The Twilight fans set the standard for that for years, with Comic-Con taking note of it and usually making the Twilight panel the first big panel every year so the Twilight fans can see their heroes and get out of the way, but there seemed to be even bigger camping crowds this year. Beyond Twilight, big crowds of campers came out for "The Hobbit," "Iron Man 3," "Doctor Who" and the Firefly 10th anniversary panel.

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'The Hobbit' trailer gives a peek at the latest 2-part epic

Two part movies are all the rage right now with Twilight: Breaking Dawn being split up, as well as the final Harry Potter book making two movies, and that trend is about to continue with "The Hobbit." The first, subtitled "An Unexpected Journey," is out next December, while "There and Back Again" hits theaters in December of 2013.

The first trailer has been meticulously picked apart by fans; my favorite overly in-depth analysis was done by Bleeding Cool.

As someone who hasn't read "the Hobbit" since I was a small lad (wait, is watching this trailer making me talk like them now?), some of the trailer was a bit mystifying, but still exciting. There are enough touchstones for it to be accessible to those who just know the story from "the Lord of the Rings" films, though — particularly a closing appearance by everyone's favorite piece of CGI magic, Gollum.

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