Review by: King Wenclas
King is a key member of the ULA. I don't think he has ever met Aaron Cometbus because otherwise he probably would use Aaron's real name.
Aaron Cometbus is the most mythical writer in the literary underground; probably in all of contemporary American literature.
90% of all zine writers over the last fifteen years wish they were Aaron Cometbus. Rick Moody, Dave Eggers, and other establishment writers who pretend to be hip wish they were Aaron Cometbus. Cometbus does it without trying, makes it look easy. As the knowing been-around punk writer he's the prototype.
Issue #50 of his mythical zine Cometbus is one of his best. Much of it consists of interviews with punk musicians, or printed fan letters. Also two strong prose works by Maddalena Polletta. The writings by Aaron are powerful and truthful. No tricks. No creative writing gimmicks. Simple writing which is observant; very much of the world; and human. This is shown in his "New York Journal" at the heart of the issue: seven short tales which convey the diverse feel, smell, and voice of the great city better than other writers do in entire novels. To read this is to know the excitement of discovering authentic literature.
Cometbus is the most imitated zine of all time for a reason. My only question is whether it's for real. Paranoia suggests it's secretly produced by a gigantic corporation, rather than by one guy with the help of a few friends. I suggest this because it outdoes the corporations. Technical questions run through my head. What kind of pen or marker does he use for the handwritten parts? Are they really handwritten? They look too neat, too perfect. Maybe they're done by a computer program.
Cometbus costs two dollars. Two dollars! It's a better read than most $25 books. No address listed. Two dollars if you can find a copy.
[ULA Blogperson's note: the easiest way to find Cometbus is online, at Last Gasp Distributing. The web address is www.lastgasp.com. Check out the site. That site not only has Cometbus #50, it not only has other issues of Cometbus (including an anthology), it also has a lot of other great writing!! If you like underground literature, you will find plenty to love on that site. And, I have now received Cometbus #50: wow! Buy it!]