Jim Engel and Chuck Fiala, Fandom Confidential (Kitchen Sink, 1982).
The above scan is from my copy of Fandom Confidential, and it's beat up and worn out. That's because I've re-read it over and over again, at least once a year for the last twenty-six years. I love it. FC always makes me laugh.
Fandom Confidential was a series of single-page fumetti comics that originally appeared in the now-defunct fanzine The Comics Reader from 1979-1981. (The Reader was the first fanzine I read on a regular basis; I remember seeing several CF pages in the Reader.) The masterminds behind FC, Jim Engel and Chuck Fiala, were two young, energetic fans so dedicated to bringing humor to comics fandom that they performed comedy routines at the San Diego and Chicago Comicons. The FC set-up is that Engel and Fiala are two newscasters that bring us, in their own words, "the latest news and interviews of interest to comic fandom." All of it false, naturally, and all of it built for maximum silliness and laughs.
The CF comic is a collection of the Reader strips, plus an 8-page epic titled "The Obligatory New Pages," where Engel and Fiala get out from behind their news desk--"A sheet over a table, up against a wall at Jim's house!"--and drive over to chez John Byrne, in an amusing attempt to interview the popular artist. (In 1982, Byrne had just left The X-Men and begun his multi-year run on the Fantastic Four.) One of the grand joys of FC is that several comics pros--Marv Wolfman, Len Wein, Alan Light, Scott Shaw!--appear in the fumetti and join the fun, and Byrne himself is a howl as a megalomaniacal king of the comics (click to enlarge):
Embedded in Byrne's dialogue are obscure references to early-'80s comics culture. His mention of the "cog in the machine bonus," for instance, refers to his infamous defense of work-for-hire practices (Byrne wrote, "I am a cog in the machine which is Marvel Comics and I rejoice in that") in an article in Comic Scene #2 (March 1982). Maybe we need an annotated version of FC, since some of the funniest gags riff on funnybook controversies are bound to be lost on younger fans. One such tempest-in-a-teapot from the period involved a story penned by then Editor-In-Chief Jim Shooter for Marvel's black-and-white Hulk Magazine #23 (October, 1980), where Bruce Banner is attacked by two gay rapists in a YMCA shower room. Engel, FC's writer, combines several elements--the Hulk/YMCA story, a joyous parody of Stan Lee's pulse-pounding prose style, and his own physical impersonation of Lee--in the strip "Stan's Soapbox!" (click!):
Poor Stan the Man is ruthlessly mocked by Engel and Fiala. In the panels above, you'll see that "Lee" is standing in front of a wall of we might reasonably assume are Marvel Comics, until we look closely and see DC titles like Batman, Blackhawk, Isis, etc. The implication is that Lee is so disinterested in Marvel's day-to-day operations that he doesn't even know what the company publishes any more (which is a pretty accurate description of Lee's career post-1972). The theme of Lee's cluelessness resurfaces in another strip, as Fiala brings up the fact that the real Stan Lee didn't recognize who Howard the Duck was when asked a question about the fowl during a college speech.
To be sure, there's some obscure humor here, and I'm reluctant to recommend FC to anyone who doesn't remember (or isn't willing to research) ancient comic book topics like the rape of Ms. Marvel and the cloning of Gwen Stacy. I find Engel and Fiala so irreverent and energetic, though, that I chuckle even when I don't know what they're talking about. I never read a single issue of the Alan Light tabloid The Comics Buyer's Guide, but that doesn't prevent me from (ahem) appreciating the following catfight (click for some hot Engel-on-Fiala action!):
FC is a riotous time machine that perfectly satirizes the comics business circa 1980, and I wish Engle and Fiala were still doing their fumetti today, taking shots at, say, the hubbub over the cost of Kramers Ergot #7. (Engle in a bushy beard would make a bitchin' Alan Moore.) But maybe us Thought Balloonists should pick up the baton? Maybe I can convince Charles to swear like a Teamster, put on a Batgirl costume, and call himself a "fabulous femme"...?
Note: I haven't been able to find websites for either Engel or Fiala. The closest I've come is this photo of Fiala in Alan Light's Flickr account, and messages from "Jim Engel" and "Jungle Jim Engel" on various comics message boards. ("Jim Engel" isn't that uncommon a name, so I wonder: is it our man Jim who speaks out so strongly against pornography on this Comicon thread from 2000?)
Runners-Up: For more esoteric humor based on comics fandom--and for some glorious cartooning too--read Mark Martin's 20 Nude Dancers 20 Year One Posterbook (Tundra, 1991) and 20 Nude Dancers 20 Year Two (Tundra, 1992).