With the single exception of Star Trek fans, there’s perhaps nothing considered more quintessentially geeky by non-geeks than the comic book enthusiast. And it’s clear to see just how the categorical characterisation is perpetuated when we look at how they’re portrayed on some popular TV shows. Now, we’re not necessarily talking popular among geeks, so be prepared to be offended on some fronts and amused on others…
Heroes – Season 3 Episode 19 Shades Of Grey March 2009 Masses of Heroes worshippers were put off by the very recent portrayal of graphic novel shoppers as cowering, leering guys who evidently had never seen a real live girl in their RL realm. But equally appalling was Claire’s apparent lack of any prior knowledge of Wednesdays. Even-handed slights were dealt to comic fans and cheerleaders alike.
Rocko’s Modern Life – Season 1 Episode 8 Canned October 1993 The self-assured and socially adept wallaby of the title has a turtle friend, who is by contrast a neurotic, obsessive-compulsive paranoid hypochondriac. We first met Filbert in the comics megastore, suffering for his fanaticism, along with a couple other ‘typical’ customers.
Malcolm In The Middle – Season 2 Episode 21 Malcolm Vs. Reese April 2001 Co-worker and friend of the family (with a crush on Malcolm’s mom), Craig Feldspar is a comic collector attending a convention while Malcolm’s dad and brother Dewey look after his cat. The costume says it all.
30 Rock – Season 1 Episode 10 The Rural Juror January 2007 With those few examples under your ultility belt, and a trend stoutly established, see if you can spot the comic book fan before he or she announces it in this short clip from one of our favourite US comedies.
As rough as those stereotypes are, comic book shop owners and counter jockeys come off far worse than all the afficionados and collectors put together.
Simpsons – Season 2 Episode 21 Three Men And A Comic Book May 1991 Inky hands down, the most famous of all snotty comic clerks is Jeff Albertson, the Comic Book Guy. Though not nearly as maniacal as Elijah Price (Unbreakable) he comes close for a cartoon character. Worst. Proprietor. Ever!
Everybody Loves Raymond – Season 4 Episode 17 Hackidu February 2000 This particular comic shop owner (played by Paul Reubens) obviously has personal problems beyond the haughty hawker attitude that’s an occupational hazard.
Malcolm In The Middle – Season 4 Episode 5 Forwards Backwards December 2002 Craig Feldspar’s back, this time in the role of a sortahero (sans suit) as he comes to the aid of Hal, who’s at the mercy of a supercilious salesman.
Spaced – Season 2 Episode 2 Change March 2001 We end our brief peek with our absolute favourite portrayal and forgive it any offence, accidental or intended, as Tim Bisley (Simon Pegg) ventures to his dark side behind the comics counter. (Harsh language alert)
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Have your say. Declare or deny any similarities to what we see here. Have other examples? Add them to the comments too.