I Was Totally Robbed Three Different Times in Fanfare’s ‘Thunderdome’ Battle and It Still Vexes Me

I will never stop being angry about this

Paul Combs
3 min readJun 9, 2024

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Credit: Warner Bros.

A few years back, when I was new on this site and the Fanfare publication had not yet become a global phenomenon with its own podcast, Eric Pierce issued a series of writing competitions brilliantly called “Thunderdome.” The premise was a simple one: two or more writers would debate some matter of pop culture and then readers would settle the issue by voting on the article they felt made the most compelling case. It was great fun, and I’m sad that it ended in 2022.

It was not always a source of enjoyment, however; in three specific instances, it frustrated me more than anything else during my time on this site except not yet converting everyone to The Fellowship of the E Street Band. This is because in three of the Thunderdome competitions, my entries were defeated when they absolutely should not have been. Most maddeningly, I was twice defeated as the result of, of all things, shirtless images of Captain America (Chris Evans) and Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill). If you want to know how bitter I am about this, ask Simon Dillon if I still mention his shirtless Cap at least once a month.

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Paul Combs

Writer, bookseller, would-be roadie for the E Street Band. My ultimate goal is to make books as popular in Texas as high school football...it may take a while.