BLAARGH! Festivus 2010: The Airing of Grievances

Why do bad things happen to good fans? Whether it’s atrocious art, ridiculous writing or something else entirely – some crimes against fandom cannot go unanswered. When that happens, it’s time to say “BLAARGH!”


Fans of the celebrated TV sitcom Seinfeld should all be familiar with the famous episode that introduced the made-up anti-Christmas known as Festivus. As explained by Frank Costanza, played by the great Jerry Stiller, one of the main traditions of this holiday is the annual airing of grievances, in which you have the right to tell all your friends and family all the ways they have disappointed you throughout the year. Since I’m cool with most of the people I know, I choose to point my ire to the comics, movies, and assorted pop culture miscellania that stroked my ire in 2010. Some of these were mentioned before on the site, but I think they deserved to be revisited before we close the books on the year. Join me for this brief but (hopefully) entertaining stroll down bad memory lane.

"First ScarJo plays you in a movie, then Marvel drops your book. This was not your best year, Natasha.

"First ScarJo plays you in a movie, then Marvel drops your book. This was not your best year, Natasha.

The first target of my grievances is the current number one publisher in the world of comics. Marvel, you started this year strong, with Siege putting a somewhat acceptable end to the Dark Reign storyline (despite totally screwing up The Sentry for good), and The Heroic Age has given us some fun storylines. Lately, however, your insistence on giving us more and more mini-events is getting quite annoying. Chaos War and World War Hulks are basically inventing new series and minis that most of us cannot afford to keep up with, and Shadowland has all but ruined Daredevil, a book that for the past ten years was on the top of my “must read” list but I have now completely abandoned. Also, your practice of cancelling quality comics with a female lead is a rather disturbing trend. Axing Spider Woman, Black Widow, and Hawkeye & Mockingbird after their initial story arcs just show that you value marketing and cross promotion over quality storytelling, which is a real shame. Also, why are you allowing one of your best titles, Punishermax, to be delayed while Steve Dillon draws some dumb Ultimates book with vampires? Remember when your “Quantity over Quality” mindset nearly did you in during the Nineties? Try to get your act together in 2011 so it doesn’t happen again.

DC Comics, your sins aren’t as numerous as Marvel’s, but you’re not entirely blameless. Your highly-touted Brightest Day storyline started out with an interesting angle, but it has taken so many twists, turns, and detours that I am quickly losing interest. I’m willing to stick with it since it’s now more than halfway done, but I just hope that Johns and Tomasi, two writers whose work I usually enjoy greatly, don’t let me down. Also, your handling of the Return of Bruce Wayne storyline could have been better. Those Road Home one-shots were not necessary at all, and while I enjoyed the first issue of Batman Incorporated, I don’t have much desire to pick up most of the other Bat titles aside from Batman and Robin once Tomasi takes over the writing chores. Like Marvel, I’m going to be reading less books from you in 2010 simply because you’re trying to flood the market with stuff I really don’t care that much about.

To Hollywood, thanks for what was probably the least inspiring movie year in recent memory. This past summer, minus a few exceptions, was a depressing morass of shallow retreads and unoriginal ideas. Even Iron Man 2 wasn’t quite up to snuff. This Fall has brought a few more interesting offerings, such as The Social Network , 127 Hours, and the first part of the final chapter of the Harry Potter series, but there’s still not much out that I won’t be willing to wait for DVD on, no matter how much 3-D you throw at me. I’m still holding out hope that next year’s movie offerings will be better, underwhelming trailers be damned.

Going from the big screen to the old idiot box, I’d like to call out Robert Kirkman, Frank Darabont, Gale Ann Hurd, and the AMC Network for both delighting and infuriating me with this year’s best new TV show, The Walking Dead. It’s a fantastic show and a wonderful adaptation, but just giving us six episodes and then making us wait ten months for the next season is just cruel. Now we’re left with dumb remakes like Hawaii Five-Oh, uninteresting Lost wannabees like The Event, and offensively unfunny comedies like Outsourced. Seriously, NBC, it’s 2010 and you’re giving us a show making fun of Indian people? There’s still a lot of good stuff on TV, but as far as brand new shows, the quality stuff was few and far between. Louie was really good, but its first season has already ended, and Boardwalk Empire is supposed to be great, but since I don’t have HBO, I’m forced to wait for DVD.

It's like "The Office" but with way more curry jokes.

It's like "The Office" but with way more curry jokes.

So there you have it – all of the things that happened in pop culture that got my goat in 2010. God, I miss that goat. In hindsight, this year wasn’t really that terrible, and there were few things that were truly facepalm-inducing in my opinion.

Wait…oh no, I completely forgot about Spider Man: Turn Off the Dark!!!

God help us all.


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Who ARE these people!?

Ben Gilbert is an avid comic and movie fan, father of two amazing kids, and husband to one awesome chick. He resides in the hills of East Tennessee and still doesn't quite know what he wants to be when he grows up.

Comments (9)

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  1. Robert Eddleman says:

    Great idea for a subject, Ben. It needs to be a yearly entry.

  2. goatt says:

    It’s ok Ben, I’ll be your Goatt……

  3. TENIME_art says:

    I like Outsourced, and when trying to look it up on IMDB, I stumbled across the listing for the 2006 movie that it’s based on.

  4. Heytherejeffro says:

    Spider-Woman wasn’t canceled, as it was intended to be a mini anyways. I think they were doing it for the digital comics or something. Bendis’ plan was to do it quickly, I believe.

    If there is a less funny/inspired sitcom than “Outsourced”, I have yet to see it. Man, what a turd.

  5. Spider_Fan14 says:

    Im getting pissed at the marketing of today’s mainstream comics too

  6. Spider_Fan14 says:

    Oh my god I didnt know that the show was based on an actual movie! I wonder if it was intentional or not.

    Also try watching “S&%# My Dad Says” or “The Middle” for uninspired unfunny comedy

  7. Ben Gilbert says:

    ^ I’d rather not watch any of those shows.

    The “Outsourced” movie is on Netflix Instant. I’m not sure if the show is a direct adaptation of it, but it sure sounds similar. Don’t they know they make movies of TV shows nowadays and not the other way around?

  8. I’ve only see The Middle a couple of times, but when I’ve watched it I’ve really enjoyed it.

    My main grievance of the year: Terriers got cancelled. The best new show of the year and the name and ad campaign fucked it over.

  9. brians says:

    TERRIERS was my fave this year too. Dr.Who had a good season this year.

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