I’ve had a great time reading previous issues of So Buttons, Jonathan Baylis’s self-published autobiographical mini-comic. So when Jonathan gave me the opportunity to read his latest issue of this comic, I had to read and review it for Comics Bulletin. I’m really happy to say that the latest issue is just as much fun as the previous issues.
I always love the really informal way that Baylis approaches his stories. They’re light and fun short strips, but they always tell entertaining anecdotes. This issue has a half-dozen or so stories that tell cute little anecdotes about his professional or personal life, stories that are just a heck of a lot of fun.
As a real comic geek, I really loved the three-page story that Fred Hembeck illustrates. Baylis tells a story about his time working as an intern at Marvel during which he had to ask comics legend John Romita Sr. to do some art corrections. I loved how Baylis was so nervous asking a hero to make a change, but Romita just took the request in his stride without even giving the request a second thought.
It was also fun seeing Fred Hembeck recreate some totally appropriate scenes from old Marvel comics as part of the story. It made me laugh out loud to see Fred’s depiction of Norse hero Heimdall on the Rainbow Bridge and to recreate some famous self-portraits of Romita and of Jack Kirby.
Several pages after we read about Baylis’s encounter with the thoroughly nice and cool John Romita, we get to learn why “Bob” Redford is a total douche in a cute three-pager illustrated by TJ Kirsch. I love how Baylis’s relationship with Redford totally affects the way that he sees Redford’s movies – which is exactly the sort of thing that I would do.
There’s a bunch of other stories in the comic, some more light and a few more serious. There are a couple of cute little stories about M&Ms that are fun to read, and a pretty sweet little tale about Baylis’s love for baseball, well-illustrated by Noah Van Sciver, that made me laugh and think about the convoluted reason I came to love the New York Mets when I was a kid in the ’70s.
There are a couple of cute pieces about King Kong and the Italian film producer Dino DeLaurentiis. One Kong story, illustrated by Thomas Boatwright, ran in a previous issue of So Buttons but is fun and very nicely drawn. The other, a rambling discourse illustrated in a fun and cartoony style by Paul Salvi, is a charming strip that totally captures the way that we are affected by people we don’t know.
One of my favorite stories is an examination of the movie The Big Red One, gorgeously illustrated by Tim Ogline. Like a dinner conversation with a friend who rambles about a movie that he loves, Baylis’s exploration of the movie totally makes me excited to watch the movie. It’s way up in my Netflix queue now.
But the nicest and sweetest story in the comic is the final story. Drawn by Eric Kim, this story kind of sneaks up on you with its very sweet and unexpected ending.
So Buttons is very much like an illustrated blog, with its informal feel and loose style. I had a heck of a lot of fun reading it. This comic is well worth its six buck cover price.
For more information on So Buttons, visit the So Buttons website.
Jason Sacks has been obsessed with comics for longer than he’d like to remember. He considers himself a student of comics history and loves delving into obscure corners of this crazy artform. Jason has been writing for this site for about seven years and has also been published in a number of fan publications, including the late, lamented Amazing Heroes and The Flash Companion. He lives in north Seattle with his wife and three kids.