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April 3, 2019

Weezine Omnibus: Deluxe Edition

As I mentioned in my previous post about the Weezine Omnibus, some of the photocopied images in my original printings of the zines were not great quality. When I asked for replacements, Karl Koch went deep into the weezer archives and scanned and sent me higher quality images, but they weren't just better scans from the zines, they were actually full color scans of the original paste-up assets used to CREATE the zines (!!!?!??!?!?!).

For example, here is the actual "weezine" logo, which was created with print outs, tape, collage, gluestick, and rubber cement, which was used for every issue of the weezine.

It never occurred to me that Karl had saved all of these assets for all of the zines (but of course he did, that's why he's Karl!). It was incredibly exciting, but I did my best to keep my head down and finish the original omnibus. In the back of my brain however, a plan started brewing...

Once the $15.00, 300-page, black and white edition was done, I pitched the idea of doing an oversized, full color "Deluxe Edition" of the omnibus to Karl, which he agreed to work on with me.  It started with the simple idea of reprinting those same 14 issues in full color, but grew into a much larger project...

For the cover, I tried to recreate a cutting mat workstation that Mykel and Carli might have used to create the original zines. Mixed in with various photos, flyers, stickers, fan club card assets and secret surprises were also some of the tools of the zine trade, pre-desktop publishing. I put in scissors, a glue stick, an exacto blade, and some white-out (all in Weezer Blue, naturally) and added a bit of a drop shadow, to try and make this stuff feel a bit 3D, in comparison to the other "flat" items.

I chose an 8.5" x 11" trim size for the book so that the 5.5" x 8.5" zine layouts could be presented at full size. This was nice, because (for most of the zines) it meant healthy margins on all sides.  This was the first time I ever put page numbers in the top margin of the book, which also bought me some room to individually label each page with what was being displayed below.

In the "standard" omnibus, the goal was to clean up the art, so that it was as legible and clear as possible, which meant hundreds of hours going through every single page and cleaning things up in Photoshop. In the "deluxe" edition I did no photo editing whatsoever, because even the smallest tweak of curves or levels would wipe out the white-on-white-on-white of print outs, tape and white-out.

I went through and laid out pretty much the same 300 pages that are in the "standard" edition, and that's when Karl decided to really take things up to the next level. Since it was print-on-demand, we were freed from worrying about page count, and since we had already made every effort to make sure fanclubbers could get the original info from the zines in an affordable $15 edition, we decided to really make this book really special.  

Karl dug deep into the weezer archives and pulled out a ton of assets that Mykel and Carli originally used to organize and run the fan club. Karl also wrote a long introduction, and anywhere something was referenced (for example a fan club T-shirt design contest) he actually went into the archives, found those items, photographed them, and then annotated the entry in the book.

Below, you can see Karl's annotations running underneath the zine layout. The book ended up being 400 pages, so there is an extra 100 pages of bonus content in here, all heavily annotated by Karl. One of my favorite additions were a couple of spreads in between each issue, which featured all of the fan club card photos for members (I'm pictured in the lower half below, second row down from the top, all the way on the right side - #2660!!!)

Karl even wrote a (heartbreaking) account of Mykel and Carli's death on tour with the band in 1997, and what it was like, trying to keep the fan club going in the aftermath of that tragedy. He included a bunch of assets from some of the other fan clubs that Mykel and Carli ran, and talked about what might have been, had we not lost them too soon.

As with the standard omnibus, this book is only available to current members of the Weezer Fan Club! You can currently sign up to join the fan club, which just launched a cool new app with lots of neat features. This is a big, full color, expensive book ($94.96... get it? ;) for only the most hardcore fans. It was a labor of love for Karl and I, and as with the standard omnibus, all proceeds go back into the costs of keeping the fan club going.  I hope Mykel and Carli would be proud of it! 

Below you can see a video preview of this book, to give you an idea of its splendor!

I've got one more weezer post planned, about the 7" fan club exclusive single that I recently illustrated for the band. I'm just waiting for the first copies to arrive at fanclubbers' houses first, so I don't ruin any surprises!  The only way to get this 7" is to sign up for the current fan club membership pack. More about that in my next post!