Comic-Con begins with action-packed 1st night

Fans arrive at the San Diego Convention Center before preview night at Comic - Con on Wednesday July 11, 2012, in San Diego. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Invision/AP)

SAN DIEGO - The lines outside the San Diego Convention Center were almost as long as the ones inside as Comic-Con guests queued up to collect freebies and collectibles during the four-day festival's preview night.

The 43rd annual Comic-Con International pop-culture convention officially begins Thursday, but those with four-day passes got a peek at the convention-centre floor Wednesday night.

Fans swarmed the massive space, filling their oversized convention tote bags with free souvenirs and limited-edition toys available only at Comic-Con.

Meanwhile, others camped out on the grass near the convention centre to be first in line for popular presentations, like ones dedicated to the final "Twilight" installment and the popular book "Fifty Shades of Grey," planned for Thursday.

Comic-Con continues through Sunday.