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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2002
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 of berkeley, hobos, and above all an amazing incendiary PASSION, for exploration and observation and questioning of the status quo. if cometbus has meant anything to me over the years it has meant a curiosity about society that stems from true love of people (not "the people", but people as individuals), & the promise of a life that doesn't revolve around wage slavery or greed or a desire for consumer electronics. i don't live such a life, nor do you; but "despite everything" proves it is possible. if nothing else, the cometbus omnibus will make you want to take a detour the next time you walk past an alley.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2004
Even writing a review of this book seems a little strange to me. I can't imagine what Aaron would say about someone writing a review of his book in the service of a big company, but I guess this is a venue to get the word out and let people know what a great experience reading Cometbus is.
If you're a person like me who has radical beliefs and politics, but who also enjoys living a quiet, straight-laced, lifestyle; if you worry about things, and have episodes of social anxiety, and if you're a worrier in general and like to stay at home and hang out with your close group of friends and sometimes have trouble meeting new people or think people enjoy being left alone, than this book can sometimes make you feel bad about your life choices and the decisions you've made. This happens mainly b/c Aaron just went out and lived this crazy hand-to-mouth existence in the service of experiencing the world and the people in it, challenging the very existence of social norms as a concept. And that's why the book is so great. It's filled with great stories and anecdotes and is totally imbued with this sense of freedom and wonder. The world that Aaron lives in is so real and vibrant, populated by people dealing with real struggles and real issues. And Aaron is totally tapped into his own empathy and sympathy for those people. He totally loves life, and is lucky for it. And readers are lucky that he put it on paper over and over again in Cometbus.
This book, like the 'zine, is, IMO, a classic piece of American writing, and hopefully, someday, it will get more recognition. It is a document of an ethos and way of living that is still totally marginalized in our society. And Aaron challenges his readers to confront how their own lives keep them from seeing that world and experiencing it.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 2002
I first came across an issue of Cometbus two years ago. The man is a genius. I read one page and I was hooked. Aaron Cometus has a serious lust for life, and his genuine wonder is evident in every page he handwrites. Already a legend in the "fringe" culture, he has such a fascinating life and lives off of so little that you can't help but be drawn into his writing. Despite Everything is a tome, weighing in around 500 or so pages, and packed with large excerpts from almost every issue of his zine. Some of my favorites include "Punk Rock Love is..." Touring with Green Day, and Traveling to Europe. Anyone who is a fan who hasn't picked up a copy yet should buy one, right now, and while you're at it, get a few copies for your friends. (they'll love you for it).
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 2002
Aaron Cometbus and this book just make me happy. Reading the adventures and observations of this free spirited traveler is an inspiration not to write, but to LIVE. Thanks, Aaron. :)
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2003
I've lived in Berkeley the past ten years, so I sadly
arrived "too late" for its punk scene, instead hearing
the stories of my old landlord and well-known punk-scene
photographer, Larry Wolfley. I got the rave scene instead
and have my own stories.
Anyway, I saw Despite Everything on the bookshelves in
all the local bookstores, but didn't know what it was,
until a friend and coworker ** who just so happened to
be Aaron Cometbus' brother ** gave me an autographed
copy as a gift. Well, shoot, gotta read it, right?
I was completely hooked-- doubly because the in-credible
stories were actually true (you can imagine that my
friend added some "color"). You can practically feel
the trudge of the ten mile walks back to town, the
mosh pits, cops, thugs, etc. -- but you can also feel
the excitement of the time and the bands. Imagine
being there on the road with Green Day when they
were the local band... ok, it's more pot than I can
handle but you get the idea. and it's not my politics,
I'm more likely to wear a "smash capitalism" t-shirt
to a board of directors meeting, where aaron's more
of a kvetch about the commercialism type, but hey,
what's berkeley if not for bizarre political statements?
oh, and the writing is brilliant-- might of course
sound dated, but that's only because this is the
original and everybody else ripped them off.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2006
This book spans many years of the Berkley zine "Cometbus". If you liked Jack Kerouc's book "On the road" this will be easy to relate to. If you are often bored by a mall punk or neo punk-emo-whatever, give them this book and tell them to shut up and read it. Aaron's handwritten adventures show not only the towns and places he visits, but the people and the mood. Enjoying a freedom to go where ever he wants becouse he can live on next to no money and other people's garbage, he is still at the mercy of his doubtfulness, saddness, joy, and depression. This is a good book to leave and come back to several times. As this is a collection of his zines- it makes a great bed stand, bathroom, or back pack book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 3, 2011
Jawn shipped just fine. I almost wish it were in worse condition, the way a twenty year old 'zine should be. Where's the authenticity? Naw, JUST KIDDING. Yay everything.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2010
I've been reading Cometbus for years because my brother, Bobby Madness (of "Tom Teenager" fame), had his artwork featured in a couple of the zines. I was hooked from the first read! I'd grown up reading R. Crumb comics, so this was a natural progression for me. The writing flowed, the comics were excellent and everything was spot-on for the time and place (Berkeley, CA).

I'd go visit my brother, Bobby, in Berkeley in those days when the punk scene was full tilt and he was doing stuff for Aaron and Cometbus. It was a strange scene up there in those days but fun at the same time; I have the photos to prove it.

Buy this book to relive it or get a feel for what it was like. The artwork is top-notch stuff from some overlooked underground artists and Aaron's writing is outstanding. It's an enjoyable read down memory lane!!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 2009
I originally bought this because I had heard about Aaron Cometbus and wanted to learn more about his life and 'zine. I really enjoyed the stories about his travels by Greyhound Bus. I wish I had figured out his method when I was younger and single! (That is the sound of envy.)

This will give you a good picture of punk life in California of a few years ago, so it makes a good sociological snapshot as well as travel book. Good stories, good comics, well worth the money.

I liked this book.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2003
I remember him selling little tiny issues of Cometbus in front of clubs he wasn't even old enough to get into, so I've been reading his stuff for many years. To say that Aaron has grown as a writer is an understatement. He such an awesome individual and his stories are especially meaningful to me because he and his contributors, in writing about their lives and the punk rock community in the bay area over time, have written about my life as well, and I couldn't have written it any better than them. His stories are poignant, funny, sad and wonderful. Get this and try and read everything else he's written!
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