So Buttons #1-3 + Holiday Special

Review by Ed Sizemore

So Buttons is a slice-of-life minicomic written by Jonathan Baylis and drawn by various artists. The stories range in length from 1-8 pages and are in both color and black and white.

So Buttons #2 cover

Volume 1 is 24 pages long. My favorite piece is “So…I’m Dating a Comic”. It’s a one page comic that explains what it’s like to date a stand-up comedian. It’s a simple reminder that people and relationship dynamics are the same for everyone, regardless of occupation. Baylis’ girlfriend here, Ophira Eisenberg, would become his wife.

Volume 2 is 16 pages long. The opening piece, “So…She Married Me Anyway”, is the best of this collection. It’s a two-page story of Baylis being late to his own wedding. It’s touching and poignant. But as an ex-Navy man I’m compelled to point out a mistake in “So…I’m Standing”. One of the crew members of the Intrepid identifies himself as an ensign (the lowest of the officer ranks) when his uniform indicates that he is a petty officer second class (middle of the enlisted ranks).

So Buttons #3 cover

Volume 3, So Horror-ble, is 28 pages long. It has one true life story and then three fiction pieces. There is a very disturbing zombie story in this issue that has stuck with me and still creeps me out every time I think about it. Which means it’s a good piece of horror. I love the cover and its homage to the old EC horror comics.

The Holiday Special is 8 pages long. I love “So… He Made It Out of Clay?”. It’s actually a story from Eisenberg’s childhood about growing up Jewish and dealing with the Christmas season. Given how culturally sensitive schools have become, I wonder if children sing Christmas carols that mention Jesus in public schools anymore. She might be the last generation to experience such conflicts. It’s a cute story and with a great punch line. Everything you expect from a seasoned stand-up comedian.

So Buttons Holiday Special cover

Baylis does a good job of picking artists whose style meshes well with the tone of the particular story. You get everything from cartoony to hyper-realistic. While I can appreciate using different artists to best aid the storytelling, it does make each volume feel a little disjointed for me.

My only complaint is that the issues are too short. I read all four issues in one sitting, and just as I was getting comfortable with the storytelling, I was out of material. I would prefer to see Baylis put out a trade paperback collection of stories that are arranged in some overarching structure. Given the random nature of Baylis’ writing, grouping his comics thematically might work best. It would be fun to read a section on his childhood, then a section on dating, a section of fiction, etc. A larger collection would allow the reader the needed time and material to get to know Baylis and his writing style better.

Baylis is a good storyteller, and the So Buttons volumes are enjoyable. There just needs to be more of them. You can read samples at the So Buttons website. (The publisher provided review copies.)


4 Responses to “So Buttons #1-3 + Holiday Special”

  1. Jonathan Baylis Says:

    Wow, thanks so much for the kind words, Ed! I really appreciate it!

    It is my plan to collect all the auto-bio stories after about 5 issues. Perhaps chronologically and with some additional material to make it cohesive if I think it needs it.

    Thanks again,
    Jonathan

    P.S. – You know? I thought I gave my artist the right reference for the ensign uniform, but maybe I was mistaken, yikes! Wanna send me the right uniform for the collected edition?
    :-)

  2. Ed Sizemore Says:

    Johnathan,

    Just sent you an email with pics of the officer uniform.

    I look forward to the collection.

  3. So Buttons #4 » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] Buttons #4 by Jonathan Baylis. As the cover boldly announces, this is his biggest issue yet. Since I’ve complained in the past his books were too short, I found this longer issue a welcome […]

  4. So Buttons #6 » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] his autobiographical stories in this minicomic series. Ed previously wrote about issue #4 and the first three issues, but since he’s no longer reviewing, I’ll tackle the two more recent […]




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