So Buttons

Jonathan Baylis and various. So Buttons Comics, $20 (184p) ISBN 978-0-98818779-5
Like Harvey Pekar, the (well-deserved) king of writing autobiographical comics drawn by a spectrum of artistic collaborators, Baylis’s self-spun tales (most beginning with the wind-up “So...”) are illustrated by others but retain his voice. In this debut, Baylis’s stories—less dour and cynical than Pekar’s—amuse with life’s simple moments and human banalities. He’s backed up by a strong assortment of alt-comics artists (Fred Hembeck, Noah Van Schiver, Rick Parker, T.J. Kirsch, Paul Westover, among them) on growing up a nerdy Jewish New Yorker, his pop culture memories of his favorite movies (mostly in the war, horror, and baseball genres), encounters with R. Crumb and Robert Redford, and fond anecdotes of his parents. Chapters on his work at Marvel and other companies will appeal to the mainstream comics fan. Most effective (and affecting) is the personal touch in stories about those close to him: a beautiful extended piece (drawn by Tim Ogline) about Baylis’s uncle’s memories of Vietnam and a series of short, funny, romantic pieces about his wife, NPR’s Ophira Eisenberg. Baylis’s life is entertaining, and he relates it with charm and poised cool. (BookLife)
Reviewed on: 06/22/2015
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