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Stephen Hillenburg first made Bob the Sponge in 1989, for a comic book, in which he co-starred with Rocky the Shrimp. Bob the Sponge's appearance resembled a real sponge, except he wore sunglasses and had a mouth to speak with. Bob the Sponge had evolved into SpongeBoy around 1994, and later evolved into SpongeBob SquarePants. Bob the Sponge and SpongeBoy are both prototypes of SpongeBob, though SpongeBoy resembles SpongeBob more than what Bob the Sponge does.
SpongeBob's French name Bob l'éponge can be translated to Bob the Sponge.