Button in: Park Slope writer debuts at Brooklyn comics fest

He’s covered: Park Sloper Jonathan Baylis will bring his comic book “So Buttons” to the Comic Arts Brooklyn Festival on Nov. 5.
Brooklyn Paper
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He’ll be pushing “Buttons!”

A Park Slope comic book writer will launch his collection of autobiographical stories, titled “So Buttons,” at the Comic Arts Brooklyn Festival in Williamsburg on Nov. 5. Writer Jonathan Baylis has spent 10 years working with different artists to create his stories, and he is excited to finally be behind the table at the borough’s biggest comics fest.

“It feels great — I wasn’t sure that I would ever get to this point,” said Baylis. “I’ve pretty much attended every year to go see new comics and see friends but I’ve never exhibited before, so I’m very excited to exhibit in my hometown.”

The funny true stories in the 200-page collection come from every period of Baylis’s life, he said.

“I was trying to find the funny and significant moments in my life. Each issue has just bounced around different periods of my life — teenage years, childhood years, and just this past year,” he said.

The stories include family events, an ode to his beloved Boston terrier, and his career in comics. One of his favorite stories, “So Mighty,” deals with his teenage internship at Marvel Comics, when he had to deal with legendary Spider-Man artist John Romita, Sr.

“It’s about having to tell an artist, an absolute legend, that they need to tweak their artwork,” he said. “And what happens after that.”

More than 100 comics creators will join Baylis in presenting work at the eighth annual Comic Arts Brooklyn Festival, including local artists Leslie Stein and Jeremy Nguyen, and national figures Adrian Tomine and Noah Van Sciver, who contributed art to “So Buttons.” The event attracts more than 2,000 visitors each year for its celebration of sequential art, said its organizer.

“The glory of the festival is just getting all the artists and fans in the same room at the same time,” said Gabe Fowler, who also owns the comic store Desert Island. “Modern life is so fragmented, and cartooning is a solitary activity, but when everyone can meet and greet and just have a three-day party it’s great.”

In addition to Saturday’s main event, the Festival will also feature art exhibits on Thursday and Friday, and an animation screening, titled “Color Giants” on Nov. 6. Fowler said that he cannot choose a favorite among the four days of events.

“The whole thing excites me so it’s hard to specify, I love all my babies equally,” he said. “That’s part of the fun of the festival, all of these different aspects equal the festival in total.”

But the most important part of the fest is making sure that artists get the recognition they deserve, he said.

“It’s an opportunity for me to shine a light on their work — elevate these things to a higher level and make sure people know who these people are,” said Fowler.

Comics Arts Brooklyn at Mt. Carmel Gymnasium (12 Havemeyer St. between N. Eighth and N. Ninth streets in Williamsburg, Nov. 5, 11 am–7 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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