Posted by Matthew Moyer on June 2, 2010
Cometbus is that most pleasing and rare phenomenon in the zine world – a long-running, (somewhat) regularly published title. Aaron Cometbus has helmed (and done most of the writing for) Cometbus since 1983. The zine is known as much for it’s distinctive aesthetic–hand-lettered, simple black and white layouts and photography–as it is for its ever-changing content and focus. However, the whole thing is distinctly Aaron. This partciular issue is all interviews, and is built around the theme “Back to the Land.” In other words, it’s all about Communes, and the continuing urge in alternative sucultures to “get out of the city, get some land, get yourself together.” The hippies in the Sixties, Bob Dylan and the Band most famously did it, as did punks like Crass, and it’s an urge that continues to this day with the Family Band, MV & EE, etc, upping sticks from the big city to the country. I’ve always been intrigued by communes; Aaron Cometbus is quite the opposite. This makes for fine reading, as he wrestles with his own feelings, while trying to remain the objective observer during his interviews.
Like David Greenberg and his Duplex Planet, Cometbus eschews the famous, and seeks out friends and friends of friends, all of whom chose or were dragged away from civilization at one point in their lives. However, Cometbus is a more obtrusive and active interviewer than Greenberg. This issue is divided into three sections: The Kids, The Adults, and Back To The Land. All of the interviews more or less fall under these themes. Ironically, despite the loftiest of ideals when leaving the rat race behind, every one of these interviews has a slight tang of disappointment to it. Ain’t it the way…