Comic Book Guy is living a lie

The beloved proprietor of Springfield's only comic book shop has been hiding a secret in plain sight for decades.

Something smells funky in the town of Springfield and no one has the guts to say it.

We notice it every week and then conveniently forget it. It's the elephant in the room, the balrog in Moria, the gagh in the Rokeg blood pie, the organic webbing in Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man. We have ignored it for too long. No more.

For years, we have welcomed into our lives a man who is living a lie. He sits there every day of every week talking to us, laughing with us, mocking us, all the while pretending to be something he's not. And we let him! We just smile and laugh and mock him back.

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Not today. Today I'm here to finally say it: Comic Book Guy is no baseball fan! He's just your generic Star Trek geek with zero interest in baseball or any other sport. So why, we must wonder, does he bother calling his store "The Android's Dungeon and Baseball Card Shop"? He's not fooling anyone.

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The evidence is everywhere. Sure, the store is stocked with the appropriate paraphernalia -- that Isotopes pennant has been hanging on the wall for as long as I can remember -- but it all feels much too staged. For example, why is there a Red Sox pennant hanging behind the counter? The Red Sox have nothing to do with Springfield, but there it hangs, just another little mask for Comic Book Guy to hide behind. Who knew the neckbeard would need a beard of his own?

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And the 25-cent sleeve of cardholders that has been hanging on the wall for 24 years? Is there even one other sheet anywhere else in the store? They're not for Magic or Pokemon cards, that's for sure. No self-respecting collectible-card-game enthusiast would store his precious cards in such cheap plastic. No, that sleeve is camouflage, hoping to convince us that The Android's Dungeon is a baseball-card shop. Same with the baseball on the shelf along the wall, or the various ballplayer photos and magazines that are set up occasionally. But we know the truth.

Comic Book Guy wants nothing to do with baseball. When he sold the film rights to his comic book Everyman, the rotund one exclaimed, "I played hardball with Hollywood -- the closest I will ever come to playing a sport in my life." When Mr. Burns bought a squad of Major League ringers to play on his softball team, our pony-tailed friend was nowhere to be found, in the stands or otherwise. Remember all the excitement about the Lisa Simpson-led Little League team a few years ago? Professor Frink, Gary and those college geeks were the nerds in the sabermetric club at Moe's Tavern. Comic Book Guy was probably busy sitting at his (so-called) baseball-card shop muttering, over and over again, "Worst. Sport. Ever."

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Remember when the Isotopes won a championship thanks to that sniper at the All-Star Game? And the resulting riots led to a city-wide curfew for children? One person was noticeably absent. That's right, the only baseball-card shop owner in town couldn't get off his duff for something as monumental as a national championship from the local nine. So it shouldn't be a surprise that, when the MENSA junta took charge of Springfield, he and his brainy friends tried to outlaw sports of any kind.

Meanwhile, back at the shop, does CBG even sell baseball cards? There was that one time Milhouse tried to buy a copy of the 1973 Carl Yastrzemski card, when he had the big sideburns. To his credit, Comic Book Guy knew exactly which card he wanted and exactly its price. However, in the 20-plus years since then, there hasn't been a single other baseball-related item sold. There have been ALF pogs and Steve Allen pogs, jazz albums, barbershop albums, Mary Worth telephones, Radioactive Man comic books, Biclops comic books, Poochie merchandise, video games like Bonestorm and Lee Carvallo's Putting Challenge, Itchy & Scratchy animation cels, James Bond autographs, McBain posters, bootleg movies, a little boy's soul ... but no baseball cards. The store has been visited by the likes of Stan Lee, Hi & Lois, and even special-effects guru Tom Savini. Why not Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens or Babe Ruth IV? What about the Capitol City Goofball?

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It's in his free time that we see what Comic Book Guy really loves. As you might imagine, comic-book and science-fiction conventions play a big role. He once won the Ultimate Belt at a Star Trek convention and nearly married Edna Krabapple at Springfield's Bi-Mon-Sci-Fi-Con. His internet life is just as predictable. Comic Book Guy runs many online forums (including "Ain't I Fat News"), is a usenet obsessive, and was once married to a woman in an online role-playing game. He dresses in superhero costumes, attends flea markets, watches Doctor Who, and opines about any piece of pop culture that crosses his path. The only thing missing from these outside pursuits? Baseball. On that famous day when Hall of Famer Whitey Ford was pelted with pretzels, not even the allure of free food was enough to bring our anti-hero to the ballpark. A few years later, Homer Simpson staged a hunger strike to protest the Isotopes' upcoming move to Albuquerque. Duff Stadium was filled that night with Springfield citizens from all walks of life, from retiree Jasper to billionaire Mr. Burns. And where was Comic Book Guy? Who knows.

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It's time to end the charade, Jeffrey Albertson. There's a reason we call you "Comic Book Guy" and not "Comic Book and Baseball Card Guy." Stop living a lie. The Android's Dungeon is no baseball-card shop and its proprietor is no baseball fan. You know it, I know it, the people of Springfield know it ... and now the world knows it.

Let's do something about this. Jiminy Jillickers!

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