Cometbus was a punk zine, started in Berkeley, California in 1983 by Aaron Cometbus, born Aaron Elliot. For the past 20 years Aaron has been self-publishing his usually handwritten zine, including band interviews, diaries and observations on the punk subculture in the San Francisco Bay Area and from his travels, many of which involve long, grueling cross-country rides on Greyhound buses.
Aaron Cometbus' writing captures a slice of life in Oakland and Berkeley, California from the late 1980s through the 1990s. This includes squatting, collective living, falling in love and other perils of the punk rock lifestyle. His writing is characterized by stories of loneliness and alienation, tempered with episodes of brightness and perennial hope in the ability of humans to connect to one another.
In 2004, Aaron quit writing Cometbus to pursue publishing his writing through other channels. As of 2005, he has been self-publishing a series of small books of short stories, Chicago Stories and Mixed Reviews being the first two. He has also recorded and toured with the band Pinhead Gunpowder, which includes members of Green Day, with whom he toured before their mainstream success.
Selections from 48 issues of Cometbus have been collected into a single volume, titled Despite Everything: A Cometbus Omnibus (Last Gasp of San Francisco; September 2002, ISBN 0867195614).
Double Duce (Last Gasp, 2003, ISBN 0-86719-586-X) is about Cometbus's life in a punk house called Double Duce, and collects material published in Cometbus 32, 35, 37, 38, 41, 43, and 45.
Chicago Stories (self published, 2004) is a small collection about Chicago, originally published in Cometbus issues 35, 37, 38, 41, and 45.
Two collections have been translated into French, including En dépit de tout (1997).
Cometbus' distinctive handwritten script can be seen in early Green Day album liner notes, the Jawbreaker collection "Etc.", and is emblematic of the decidedly lo-fi zine culture.