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Despite Everything: A Cometbus Omnibus

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  850 ratings  ·  53 reviews
Collected here are selections from the first twenty years of Cometbus; including the ultra-rare intros, notes, and a scrapbook.
Paperback, 600 pages
Published February 25th 2015 by Last Gasp (first published August 2002)
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Amar Pai
Jul 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
aaron cometbus is a punk's punk. he scrounges for food in dumpsters, scams his way around the US on greyhound, slips in and out of punkhouses and seems to live off nothing more than coffee and cigarettes. he has the eye of a sociologist and the soul of a poet and the haircut of a fool. inside this book you will find sly analysis of cooperatives, cliques, anarchy, imperialism, political philosophy, and also riotous tales of drunken revelry, crazy scavenger hunts, touring with green day, history o ...more
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Reading Cometbus (both current issues and this fantastic omnibus collection) makes me happy. Happy that I found my way to punk rock in my pre-teen years, happy that I found my way to this zine in my teen years, happy to be alive in general. If you like punk rock, traveling, or personal writing in general, Cometbus should also make you happy.
Jun 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: 80's - 90's punk nostalgists
Shelves: favorites
WARNING: There is a LOT of text squeezed into these 600 pages. I think it reads more like 800 pages.

I've read about Cometbus for years in books and other zines but I've never actually opened an issue of the mag. It was nice to see what all the hype has been about, but I can't help feeling like this omnibus is only a fuzzy reflection of what it was like to actually read the zines. Oh well, I missed out on the real thing. That doesn't mean this isn't a delightful read.

It's really neat to see how t
Sep 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: punks, travelers, americans
after much thought i've come to realize that aaron is my favorite writer. i've been reading cometbus for like 13 years and i always come away excited about life again. i still remember the first issue i got. it was about a trip to europe and i remember being totally blown away by reading it. he was the first writer who i definitely wanted to be friends with and i feel like i'm listening to a friend tell me stories when i read him. often, they are really amazing stories. this is a compendium of a ...more
Jun 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: essays, music
Here Aaron Cometbus attempts to condense 20 years of his self-published zine into one mammoth volume, called Despite Everything. Though Cometbus was not easy to find where I grew up, I did get my hands on a few issues in the late nineties. At that time, Aaron's writing really spoke to me about ways to live outside of the usual paths of existence and how life could be a sort of never-ending series of adventures, even if you're stuck in a small town with no money.

So, these many years later, I fin
Aug 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: punx/ zinesters
A collection of the first 20 years(!) of Aaron Cometbus's extraordinary zine. Imitated by throngs of "per-zine" geeks for the last two decades, this is the original and still the best of the bunch. Of course Aaron has been in a bunch of bands through the years (Crimpshrine, Pinhead Gunpowder, etc...), but the zine rarely focuses on punk music so much as the backdrop of the punk scene itself. The artwork and layouts are great, the writing is great, the occasional contributors are occasionally gre ...more
Nov 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hobolit
Reading this in bed while healing from surgery, I was able to just frickin' *pretend* I was on a greyhound to nowhere after selling everything I owned and cramming the rest into a backpack. And I didn't want it to end! I always liked Cometbus whenever I could get my hands on it, and I like it even more now after reading the whole omnibus. I just wish there was more...I think there's a few "newish" issues out that I might be able to track down, but for now I just have to re-read the good stuff he ...more
Jan 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
It may seem strange, especially for those who didn't grow up fortifying themselves with punk rock, but Aaron Cometbus is one of my favorite writers of all time. The material he covers - the travelling, the heartbreak, the carefree verve, the quasi-destitution - has all been done before, but Cometbus approaches it with a matter-of-factness and a grim levity that prevents his work from coming off like some pretentious nth-generation "On The Road" knockoff. One of the best arguments for DIY culture ...more
Dec 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful collection of Cometbus. I still have all of my copies, none of which I will ever lend out. For those of you that are late to the game of zines and self-publishing Despite Everything is required reading. Cometbus is a great example of not only punk rock culture, DIY and self-publishing, but folklore. This is a great book to have while traveling or on the coffee table.
Sep 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Am I really old enough to remember seeing Aaron's band at 924 Gilman while I was still in high school? Apparently, I am. The band was so-so but the zine was (and is) a must read for aging bay area punks.
Horror Underground
Nov 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A master class in writing. Aaron is a Kerouac of a different breed, for a new generation. Coming back to his writing several years removed and it is even more impactful to me. A personal love lever to life. If you're not reading Cometbus' work, you are missing out on one of the greatest writers of our time.
Mar 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of the author, punk rockers, zinesters,
i'm sure anyone else who has review 'Despite Everything: A Cometbus Omnibus' has mentioned its massive size [over 600 pages] and, hopefully, how incredible it is to have all the zines together. it is perfection.
i'm usually a fast reader but this took me some time to get though because i just did not to to finish it. [i borrowed it from my brother and i knew i'd have to give it back when i finished it.*]

cometbus has such a firm grip on the punk rock scene and on humanity that it's hard not to b
Max Dickey
Mar 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Generally, I steer clear of books about punk rock. Most focus on the drugs, riots, mohawks and other garbage stereotypes of the movement. It's all been done to death and none of it seems to have anything to say, other than partially chronicling a short historical period in music and culture, albeit without any of the manic energy that makes punk so interesting.

Aaron Cometbus started putting out the Cometbus zine back in 1981. This collection, Despite Everything, pulls excerpts from about 20 yea
Aug 09, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
First of all, this book is such a deal! 12 bucks and change on Amazon for 608 pages of Cometbus! That's two pounds of zine!

This is the best of 48 issues of Cometbus, the famous zine by Aarron Cometbus, in all its hand written, 3rd generation xerox glory. And it's great!

Aarron is from Berkely, but this book hops all over the US. I had a great time visiting cities I know (Like Richmond Va and D.C.) through the eyes of someone else, and the places I haven't been (a LOT) were very well evoked by th
Aug 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: indypress, music
As a former zinester, I have the upmost respect for Cometbus. He's the zine master. My favorite issues are when he's traveling around Europe, or writing about his relationships. I also love "Cereal News with Mike" :

"Post Raisin Bran has hired the California Raisins...In order to compete with the California Raisins, the Capn's Crunchberries now have faces...
It's a large collection of zines, but not very heavy. Makes a great traveling companion. Once a guy came into a coffeeshop I worked at in Tahoe and said he was taking the Greyhound to the east coast. I gave him this book, thinking I would never see it again. But he returned months later and gave it back! No one rides the greyhound anymore, but you can read it on Megabus and pretend it's smellier.
Oct 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
An extensive retrospective collection, weighing in at more than 600 pages, featuring comics, interviews, low-budget trips through Europe, stories of hitchhiking, reviews of coffee, cereal, bookstores, and lots of punk rock adventures. Cometbus remains a testament to what can be done when an artist rigorously applies DIY punk ethics to his own life. Inspiring.
Naomi McCormick
cometbus was one of the first zines i feel in love with, and when i was 15 i used to look for him in the window of any kinkos i passed by. while his original zines, of course, are best to read, this anthology captures much of his best writing - including hard to find early stuff. no one described punk love (for people, cities, and music) better than aaron cometbus
Aug 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: the punk deep down inside you
This is a compilation of shorts from my favorite zine back in the 90's, although it's been around for years before then. Cometbus throughout my teens represented punk in a way that the broader pop culture has always failed so miserably. Obviously, points for nostalgia, but also just fun to read.
Nov 09, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: punks, travelers, zinesters and people who are bored with their own lives
Recommended to HeavyReader by: Cassidy
Shelves: based-on-zines
This book is huge! The pages aren't numbered, so I can't say exactly how huge, but trust me, HUGE! I skipped around, reading bits and pieces of it here and there. I'm sure I ended up reading the whole thing.

The writing is mostly great, and I enjoyed reading.
Jan 22, 2008 rated it it was ok
I loved the hell out of this when I was in high school (and slightly beyond). Overall, AC's work has not stood the test of time for me, but there are still some very decent and evocative bits here and there. Great for Bay Area reminiscing. Lew is a better writer.
Mr. Blevins
Jan 24, 2008 rated it liked it
this is an interesting retrospective of cometbus's work. the beginning zines are really hit or miss, as he is still figuring out his voice, but if you're a fan then you should read this, if you havent already.
Apr 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
It's amazing how much you can get out of a zine. This book is part adventure, part fiction anthology, and part anthropological study. All of it is awesome.

Aaron is publishing Cometbus again, by the way. Support this guy, he's a rare gem indeed.
Dec 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
though there are quite a few articles I read in issues of cometbus which found themselves omitted from this compendium, this still serves as an amazing introduction to what I think is the best zine ever written.
Daniel Levesque
Dec 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who likes zines, CA
Awww, Aarron. A true Luddite, he is an inspiration to good hearted folks of all walks of life. This is a great big book, full of every Cometbus attainable. (I think there are a few missing. But he had a LOT to work with.) Love the Gilman St stuff! Great bathroom book.
Feb 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
As always, a really fine read. This diverse set of stories, a few poems and some snide letters kept me still during a flight on the plane. I felt uncomfortable (with choices I've made and haven't made,) sad, curious and relieved as I often do after reading finely written perzine tales.
Mar 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, own
I. Love. His. Writing.
He makes me laugh, shake my head, frown, etc, but most of all, he makes me THINK.
The only reason this didn't get 5 stars is because I didn't like some of the comics, and because I wanted more (Though that's not really the books fault.)
Aug 10, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: music, essays
a huge collections of most of essays and stories from the zine COMETBUS, is 75% awesome, if you discount the dodgy early stuff. A great read if you are a fan of punk rock, travel stories or just good writing in general.
Nicole Woolaston
Mar 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
How could I not have known about this? It took me a few days to get through all 600 pages of this collection but it was worth it. I love all of the old school artwork and illustrations. And the interviews were pretty cool, too.
Mar 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Read my review for Double Duce....


Did you read it? Same for Despite Everything.
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Aaron Elliott, better known as Aaron Cometbus, is a drummer, lyricist, self-described "punk anthropologist" and author of Cometbus, a seminal punk rock zine.

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