So Buttons #11
Comic, Jonathan Baylis, 24 pgs, Tinto Press, sobuttons.com, $5
It’s an easy comparison to make, and it’s one that Jonathan Baylis seems proud of, so I’ll get it out of the way fast: So Buttons #11 is Harvey Pekar-esque. Baylis writes each of the autobiographical comics making up the issue, with the art handled by about 14 different artists (including Fred Hembeck, November Garcia, Jeff Zapata, Jim Rugg and more).
Baylis’ writing shines throughout So Buttons. His personable and welcoming tone showing that each piece, despite the varying art styles, is thoroughly ‘his.’ Each of the stories here feels as though you’re sitting across from Baylis, having them told to you personally. The standout story, “So…Cheesy,”drawn by B. Mure (and opening with an illustration by the always incredible A.T. Pratt), sees Baylis describe their time volunteering for the Make-a-Wish Foundation, accompanying one child as they met John Cleese for lunch. It’s clearly a heartfelt and fond memory for Baylis, with Mure’s colour choices help-ing to convey an emotional tone that doesn’t trivialize or make things seem too ‘sappy.’ It’s simply a nice short memory of someone doing a nice thing.
In one story, Baylis tracks down a rare Scottish Whiskey, only to be disappointed. In another, he recounts his history as a fan and later employee of Topps. They’re fun and lighthearted tales that bookend the issue, setting you up well and sending you off right. There’s an infectiousness to Baylis’ passion for comics and other odd fascinations. I’ll be happy to see which artists he gets to help him convey that for the next issue.