SAN DIEGO, CA - San Diego Comic-Con is the mecca of pop culture, so it's no surprise that it's always a hotbed of pop-culture stuff.
Amid all the movie and TV panels, assorted hoopla and - yes - comic books, there are all sorts of toys, statues, doodads, tchotchkes and more to buy or just salivate over due to awesomeness.
Here are just a few of the items that more than 125,000 conventioneers will see this week in San Diego beginning Wednesday night:
Disney: Director Tim Burton's family-friendly animated movie Frankenweenie stars a cute, resurrected canine named Sparky-saurus, and Disney Store teams with Funko for a Vinylmation toy ($40) based on the electrified critter. Vinylmation figures are all the collecting rage at Disneyland and Disney World, and Comic-Con also will feature a pair of So Tasty! vinyl exclusives that smell oh-so-good and are based on food-truck fare. Yummy!
Hasbro: Poor Jar-Jar Binks. Other than maybe the Ewoks, arguably no Star Wars character gets as much grief as this hapless Gungan. Well, it's not stopping anytime soon: Hasbro is offering a set of figures ($79.99) including Darth Vader, Princess Leia and others in "lost" packaging, with a special action - or inaction, as the case may be - figure of Jar-Jar trapped in carbonite. In addition, Hasbro has a pair of Transformers offerings, including the combiner Bruticus ($99.99) and zombie-esque Terrorcon Cliffjumper ($24.99), a special-edition 2012 My Little Pony toy ($19.99), and Hollywood Jem ($125), the first in a new line of fashion dolls from the 1980s cartoon Jem and the Holograms. (All these items will be available in limited supply after Comic-Con at HasbroToyShop.com.)
Sideshow Collectibles: Speaking of Star Wars, Sideshow is showing off a couple of cool pieces from George Lucas' galaxy far, far away. There is a sixth-scale, helmetless Darth Vader featuring how he looked at the end of Return of the Jedi that will be on display - he's up for preorder beginning in August. But available at Comic-Con will be a couple of alien dudes from the Mos Eisley cantina band ($159.99). For those about to rock, may the Force with you.
QMx: Who says Battlestar Galactica and "cute" can't be used in the same sentence? The spaceships Viper Mark II and Cyclon Raider ($11.99 each) have been turned into plushies for the little sci-fi fan in your home. Also just for Comic-Con: a pop-art print ($14.99) of Tricia Helfer's Six as part of QMx's "Ladies of Battlestar Galactica" collection.
Diamond Select: Minimates are a Comic-Con staple, and this year, they're screaming, "Thundercats Ho!" A $20 set of five miniature figures on sale for the first time features Lion-O, Panthro, Jaga, Snarf and evil Mumm-Ra from the classic 1980s cartoon and more recent animated reboot. Diamond Select is launching a line of Battle Beasts (which first appeared in the late '80s) at the event, too, including a preview two-pack of the good-guy ram Vorin and evil dragonfly Zik.
Zydeco Studios: Floppets made their debut at Toy Fair earlier this year, and their makers at Zydeco are bringing little characters and icons from two different properties that can attach to your finger, clothing, bags and other accessories. Fans of Felicia Day's The Guild Web series can choose from Codex, Zaboo, Bladezz and others - priced at $2.95 each - while more hard-core sci-fi nerds will want to check out the many $4 Star Trek Floppets depicting the U.S.S. Enterprise, Klingon Bird of Prey, phasers, communicators, logos and even an Orion Slave Girl.
Mattel: The toy company has become a hotbed for collectors in recent years with its Masters of the Universe and Voltron lines, but also for putting out figures based on the Ghostbusters movies. Mattel is dipping back into the first film for this year's exclusive Zuul ($25) - aka Sigourney Weaver after she gets possessed and waits for the return of Gozer. (Now folks can have something womanly to pair with their Peter Venkman.) And for the kids, there's a Cars 2 Mater toy ($30) inspired by a scene involving the lovable tow truck in a Japanese bathroom.
Lego: Maybe the coolest stuff that the building-block giant is unveiling are things you can't buy - namely, two life-size Lego models of Martin Freeman's Bilbo Baggins and Sir Ian McKellan's Gandalf from the upcoming movie The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The 6-foot Bilbo weighs more than 100 pounds, took 320 hours to build and is made up of 21,112 Lego bricks, while Lego builders completed the 170-pound Gandalf, who stands more than 6 feet tall, in 405 hours and using 34,307 bricks.
By Brian Truitt