The Intertidal Zone is a comic book drawn by Stephen Hillenburg in the late '80s during his time as a marine biology educator at the Orange County Marine Institute in California. Hosted by Rocky the Shrimp and an early version of SpongeBob known as Bob the Sponge, it teaches about sea life in Southern California, and became the basis of the Nickelodeon Cash Cow Franchise we know today. Although it was never published, several panels from it are available to view online.
This comic book provides examples of:
- Cool Shades: Bob the Sponge sports a pair of sunglasses to emphasize the comic's setting in a tidepool by the beach.
- Early Installment Character Design Difference: Unlike today's SpongeBob, who looks like a kitchen sponge with limbs, Bob is round, has no limbs, and looks more like a real sea sponge.
- Early Installment Weirdness: This comic book is an edutainment comic, which SpongeBob SquarePants abandoned in favor of slapstick comedy.
- Edutainment Show: The comic book teaches readers about sea life in a tidepool.
- Fur Is Clothing: One panel shows a crab molting its shell in a bathroom, feeling embarrassed that the reader is watching it molt.
- This Is a Drill: One illustration shows a snail eagerly drilling into a clam's shell to show how some snails can drill into the shells of prey.