I was out at the Jeff Miller and Aaron Cometbus reading last night at Pressed, and it was the nicest!
I saw lots of Ottawa zine writers I like and admire—Maxx (The Reverse Cougar Years), Alanna (Puker Nation, Finale 95), and Sacha (Pancake) among them. I met Brie, a friend of Alanna’s who makes cool gross comics that I’m excited to stock on my zine rack. I also got to meet in person a couple of people who I’d known only through their writing, including Jeff Miller, who graciously helped me rip off his zine rack idea, and Hari, whose zine XXV I wrote about here, and whose contributions to Broke Ass zine I wrote about here.
I’ve seen Jeff Miller read a couple of times before, and it’s always fun. His stories, his delight in telling them, and his excellent comic timing had everyone laughing. Seeing Aaron Cometbus read was exciting. I first encountered his writing in my older sister’s copy of the Cometbus Omnibus when I was thirteen or so. I admire how long he’s been doing what he does, his economical prose, and his tidy handwriting. I have my own copy of the Omnibus now, and it’s always reassuring to get lost in its dense pages.
Not surprisingly, Aaron Cometbus is a charming and quick-witted talker. As well as reading from his zines, he spoke about the difference between his written and spoken style, about his decision to do a reading tour, and about the extent to which he fictionalizes his stories—he commented that a good writing device, if you were away in Europe when the events you’re describing took place, in order not to get sidetracked by explaining what you were doing in Europe, you can just say instead that you weren’t there because you were in bed with a crippling depression. He warned, though, that this can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
He was also gracious, friendly, and patient with a long line of people who wanted to talk to him after the reading, which is really admirable. Aaron Cometbus is a real class act.
- Lily Pepper