Click for Big, Badly Scanned Wrap-Around Goodness
Way back in 1982, I bought this fabulous li'l humor one-shot. In it, heroes and villains alike all show up at some gala banquet hall to lob verbal pot-shots, puns and bon mots at the Fantastic Four, who thought this was a "Fantastic Four Toast" before they arrived. I was 12 at the time, which was the perfect age for the goofy humor the great Mr. Fred Hembeck fills this book with.
I seriously forgot I had this until I was sorting through some boxes far back in the recesses of my closet. I remember liking it a lot as a kid (S'why why I've kept it all these years), and wondered if the humor held up after all these years. And Brother, I gotta tell you, it's Fantastic! (Pun intended - goes with the book's humor)
The jokes are fun and charming, definitely clever and they fly at you faster than Lindsey Lohan after hearing the words, "Free Coke! Over Here!" At the same time, they're also juvenile and at times groan- inducing bad. In other words, classic Hembeck, and right after my tastes. For example, here's Howard:
And check out this piece of greatness:
Click to Hulkify
Admit it, you're chuckling! When I was 12, I would've laughed at She-Hulk's "Lettuce Lips!" comment. Or Hulk's cute little glasses. Now that I'm older, I notice that Shulkie's in her 1980s tattered lab-coat look while at a black tie event. And I love the Hulk's purple tux. And how he gets Machine Man to laugh. And that Black Bolt is only smirking. Tell me that isn't clever! Those aren't accidental (Hembeck did the breakdowns), and it's exactly the kind of geek humor I want in my funnybooks. Man, I love Hembeck. I think I'll add a link to his web page on the right over there...
As much as I love the hard-core comic geek references, I still seriously laugh at the silly bits that the 12-year old in me loved. I yelled out a big one after Doom's "Wrong! Camel Breath!" That's funny, right there. I don't care how old you are. Speaking of Doom, we also get a little bit of insight to the ...um.. softer side of Doom:
Click for Doom!
Just think, we were one missed panty-raid away from a freckin' awesome What If? book. You know you'd buy that, fanboy!
After re-reading it, there was one panel that really caught me off guard. Precisely because it had a joke that I would never have understood at 12. In fact, I almost missed it this time around. But once I got it...
God bless you, Mr. Hembeck:
(If you don't get it ... and you'll kick yourself ... think about the character that's doing the drinking)
I stared at that panel for 2 minutes, wondering where the joke was. Then beer flew out of my nose, appropriately enough.
There's a cute tie-things-together plot about a mystery villain trying to take this opportunity to destroy the FF, which ends with a great comedy reveal. After that is dealt with, the bad jokes continue and it ends absolutely the best way it possibly could:
Don't click at all.
(The joke? "Things for the Memories." This book Rocks. Opps! There I go again!)
Seriously, if you don't already own this issue.... go find it. Just make sure to time your beverage intake for between the panels.