Through out nearly all the years I've been reading and enjoying comic books, there has been Fred Hembeck and his distinctive curly-kneed cartoons right there to help synthesis the absurd about the hobby and the fanboys who pursue it. He makes me laugh at myself often as I recognize my own interests and proclivities in the jokes he sometimes elaborately stages. The Nearly Complete Essential Hembeck Archives Omnibus gathers together reams of Hembeck's novel analysis of comics lore over many decades. And I get the jokes still, because I was right there alongside. This is a book only a fanboy could love, and that's because Fred Hembeck is one of us, a true-blue lover of comics and fanboy numero uno.
At its core the tome gathers together seven of Hembeck's giant (at the time) comics from Fantaco from the early 80's. Here they are.
Around this core are countless more pages, gags, and variations on exquisite classic comic book artwork. Fred makes fun of superheroes, superhero fans, and himself as the also masterfully reinterprets some of the hobby's most famous images.
I doubt I ever read all of this massive book, but I know I'll look at every page and try to read as much as I can of the copious copy Hembeck crams into his panels. It will be a grand trip into the Bronze Age of comics, one of my happiest places to visit.