Getting Ready for the Limelight

limesPart Three: We Folded Before We Even Began

The problem with inviting a swag of people on board for a new fanzine is that unless you have some hard rules, at early stages things can sometimes stray into the ‘design by committee’ arena. We didn’t really have that apart from one aspect, which was how to fold the staple-free Zeus Plug. It wasn’t as simple as it sounded because everyone came to the party with different methods – something I’d not anticipated! We couldn’t come to a satisfactory outcome for days. Here’s Jono’s suggestion:



jplay2And Dave also pitched in. Dave wanted his to open intuitively like a map or schematic, which maybe spoke more of his engineering background. Nobody thought the regular folds and creases of the page needed to act as article borders, but it helped in places.



drlay21And last of all, mine, which won through some democratic action snuggled up with some good old-fashioned autocratic foot stomping. I wanted mine to open like a flower. My idea was to have a folded page that opened like a book, turned itself over and continued to read like a book, then opened out to be a larger piece of paper – one side of the A3 page with which you could do anything. It could be a poster, a flow diagram, a game board, wrapping paper… in other words, it could take a step to the side and be something other than a fanzine. I don’t know if I seriously took that idea to the table with Jono though, I think we just had too much to say, and filled the space available. BAZ is closer to that ideal.



Folding paper is a design process of course. The bound book is usually only read in one direction and reveals more of itself as each page is turned, the design of a book-style fanzine is largely immutable however; anything straying from the norm becomes an exercise that consumes time or staples, or more paper. By folding an A3 page in a particular way we would be giving Zeus Plug pages too, without recourse to binding. And of the three ways we came up with individually, no one way provided fewer or more pages, which was interesting but it didn’t help the decision-making process.  The issue of limited, finite space was embraced as well. I would have liked the subtitle for Zeus Plug to be ‘Adventures in Relatively limited Time and Space’, but the others thought it was a bit too cute, and they were right. It was a discipline though, fitting so much onto such small area; ideas had to be distilled, arguments strengthened rather than bolstered or driven home by repetition. Andy Diggle, former editor of 2000AD envisaged his tenure as reinventing the comic in the style of “a shotglass full of rocket fuel”, being punchy, daring ideas in short stories. Zeus Plug was supposed to be a bit like that – concentrated, fixed, focussed. Early emails between Jono and I would often take the form of dialogue about cutting articles down rather than fleshing them out or including illustrations to fill the gaps (surely fanzine editors don’t do that, do they…?)

Editing is exhilirating, but that’s perhaps easier for me to say – Jono was the one with the Publisher software, doing the hard yards!


7 Responses to “Getting Ready for the Limelight”

  1. the_other_dave Says:

    hmmm, you’ve missed a fold….

  2. Peter A Says:

    Yeah I know. It was either miss a fold or miss some sleep.

  3. the_other_dave Says:

    Good call.

  4. Jono Says:

    Did Andrew Pixley write this?

    Wow… this takes me back. I thought my one was the one that opened like a flower. And that Dave’s actually had 4 more ‘pages’ as there was a double fold in the middle?

    Still, Pete’s version was definitely best in the end – very user-friendly.

    What’s the next fruit going to be?

  5. Peter A Says:

    Jono, you’re absolutely right (except for the bit about Andrew Pixley) Yours was the flower, and Dave’s did have an extra fold which vertically went down the middle of pages 9 and 10 if my example is folded right still!

    This is as dull as it gets, I hope. Coming Soon from Zeus Plug Productions: Logos and Mascots, starring Nicholas Briggs as Pluggy and Katarina Olssen as the pen.

  6. the_other_dave Says:

    Can I just say, if we are going for annother scatily clad banner, can I vote for anyone but “knickerless” Briggs…

  7. Peter A Says:

    Or a Brig-less Nick :(

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