- Posted by Ed Sizemore on December 7, 2010 at 9:48 am
- Category: Minicomics
- CREDITS: story by Jonathan Baylis; art by Various
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.
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).
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.
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.)