Unlike his father Sparkplug, Buster Witwicky doesn't understand cars -- or for that matter, anything mechanical. Buster prefers reading books, much to the frustration of his father. If only Buster were interested in something useful, like auto repair. Instead, foolish Buster, if he keeps on reading, may end up with a paid scholarship to college. That is a road that could only lead to ruin.
He has an older brother, Spike, who is away at college.
Marvel Comics continuity
Buster and his girlfriend Jesse are making out at a drive-in theatre (blocking the movie from view of his friend "O") when their car is hit from behind by a yellow Volkswagen Beetle. Buster gets out to investigate and discovers that the little car is unmanned. There's no one inside! Suddenly, the drive-in theatre becomes a war zone as jets appear and attack. During an explosion, the Beetle is damaged. Buster is stunned to realize the car seems to be crying, and leaking a strange substance which is not oil! Buster sends his friends to get help, while he drives the Beetle home. His father can fix it.
His father, Sparkplug, is overjoyed at first when he stumbles across Buster and the Beetle in his garage. Has his son decided to follow in his footsteps? But before Buster can explain, the damaged Volkswagen Beetle speaks to them. "Help me, please! I'm dying!"
Buster convinces his father to fix the Autobot, and the boy quickly becomes friends with him. Buster and Sparkplug become embroiled in the Autobot/Decepticon conflict, and Sparkplug develops a technique to allow Transformers to use Earth fuels that haven't been converted to Energon. When the Decepticons kidnap Sparkplug and attempt to force him to duplicate the process for them, he tricks them by tampering with the fuel. Sparkplug is rescued before the Decepticon attack on the Autobots, but when an argument among the Autobots about his loyalties causes him to suffer a heart attack, he is rushed to the hospital by Ratchet and Buster.
While they're gone, the Decepticons attack, but at the moment of their victory, the poisoned fuel causes the Decepticons to fall, inoperative. However, Shockwave shows up, having recently been awakened from his four million year old sleep on Earth, and defeats the Autobots.This leaves Ratchet the only functioning Autobot, with the others inactive inside the now-Decepticon-occupied Ark. Buster volunteers to sneak inside to see what's going on, and in the course of doing so finds the severed head of Optimus Prime.
Prime tells him that he's the only hope for the Autobots, understandably confusing the human. Prime tells Buster to disconnect two wires from his head and to apply them to his (Buster's) temples. This shocks Buster and renders him unconscious for a time. When he wakes up, he makes his way out of the Ark and reunites with Ratchet. Unknown to Buster, this process passed the essence of the Autobot Creation Matrix to him in order to keep it out of Shockwave's hands.
While in possession of the Matrix energy, Buster develops telekinetic powers over machines, but they are often accompanied by searing pain in his head. After Ratchet has managed to defeat Megatron and free the Autobots (except for Optimus' head, which Shockwave still has captive),Shockwave learns of Buster's possession of the Matrix energy and sends the (for now) mindless shell of Jetfire to retrieve the human. Buster uses his Creation Matrix powers to disassemble Jetfire, then reassemble him and control him directly. After an attempt to infiltrate Shockwave's base to rescue Prime's head backfires, Buster is captured, only to eventually regain control of Jetfire and free Prime.
With Optimus' head reunited with his body, the Creation Matrix energy is returned to Prime, and Buster's association with the Autobots falls to the wayside for a bit. He plays a major role in disabling Ratbat's plan to hypnotize humans into giving fuel to the Decepticons via a chain of car washes (yes, really).He was also taken hostage by Ratbat in order to prevent the US military from attacking the Decepticon's base (at the time, a starship disguised as a tropical island)
Buster's adventures with the Transformers ended soon thereafter, though his brother Spike would play a large role in the Autobot/Decepticon war as well, much to the dismay of Sparkplug (who, understandably, wanted nothing to do with the Transformers any more).
Dreamwave comics continuity
Following his father's death, Buster racked up enormous gambling debts, which Spike ended up having to pay off. Buster subsequently joined the military.
- "Buster" and "Spike," as well as Butch, were all names considered for the Witwicky boy character in early production material. One such early document shows Spike as the original name, but crossed off and corrected with "Buster" in pen (in Bob Budiansky's handwriting). This suggests that Buster was intended to be the final name of the principle human character, but either Sunbow did not receive the revised materials, or a mistake was made somewhere. It is believed that "Butch" was a very, very early name for the character.
- See Butch Witwicky for a more in-depth explanation.