There is perhaps no show in history that has the sheer volume of amazing side characters as The Simpsons. Picking a favorite is difficult, but your choice may say so much about you. If you’re a bar guy, it may be Moe or one of the regulars at his establishment, but if you’re into all things nerdy and consider yourself a bit of an aficionado in the realm of, say, sci-fi, Star Wars, comic books… there’s one character who will resonate far more than the rest.
Of course, we’re talking about Comic Book Guy, who is voiced by Simpsons icon Hank Azaria and first debuted in the season 2 episode Three Men and a Comic Book. He’s the owner of The Android’s Dungeon & Baseball Card Shop, which has seen the likes of Stan Lee visit across the show’s history.
It’s the ultimate nerd hang-out, and for better or worse, many fandoms will see a lot of themselves in Comic Book Guy, whose real name is Jeff Albertson. As it turns out, the sitcom’s creator, Matt Groening, reportedly addressed that the character is somewhat based on him, or rather, the way that he believes the people around him perceive him.
He’s one of the most—if not the most—hilarious caricatures of ‘the fan’ in all of entertainment, and huge fans of The Simpsons can perhaps find more of a kindred spirit in Matt than they thought. Beyond that, however, Matt recognizes that Comic Book Guy is not just one, but many.
“I can’t tell you how many times people have come up to me and said, ‘I know who you based that comic book guy on. It’s that comic-book guy right down the block,'” he once said, according to Simpsons Archive. “And I have to tell them, ‘No, it’s every comic-bookstore guy in America.'”
Interestingly, he was originally going to be called Louis Lane, a play on Superman’s love interest Lois Lane in DC Comics. Matt told MTV that he “Had a different, much more tragic design, but I was out of the room when [the writers] named him. In my mind, ‘Louis Lane’ was his name, and he was obsessed and tormented by Lois Lane.”
While it’s clear that he was a creation born of people’s perception of Matt rather than how he is himself, it still adds a little extra humor to the character upon revisiting old episodes.
And let’s be honest, how many amazing moments have we had with the character? Whether it’s him putting his hope in The Internet King or seeing “the worst Cosmic Wars ever! I will only see it three more times. Today.”
We thought it fitting to part on some words of wisdom: “Loneliness and cheeseburgers are a dangerous mix.”