Utility Belt

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Title: Utility Belt
Publisher: the fan club Battalion
Editor(s): Ian McLean, Stephen Ford
Type: newsletter
Date(s): 1989-1995
Medium: print
Size: A4
Fandom: Batman
Language: English
External Links:
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Utility Belt is a Batman club zine for a fan club, "Battalion: The Australian Legion of Batman Fans", out of Sydney. Although the newsletter was planned as a quarterly publication, it became more of an annual. All aspects of the "Batman" phenomenon was covered, including the TV series of 1966-68.

Issue 1

Utility Belt 1 was published in 1989. (This issue included an interview with Batman [1989] director, Tim Burton, as a result of club member Jonathan Sequeira attending the official Sydney press conference.)

Issue 2

Utility Belt 2 was published in 1990. (The laser printer used to create Issue #1 was zapped by lightning. A "Special Emergency Lightning Issue" was created to distribute a sponsored glossy ad for officially licensed, local "Batman" movie-related merchandise. This circumvented having to hand over names and addresses of the membership to strangers.)

Issue 3

Utility Belt 3 was published in 1990. (Giant issue, laser-etched quality, with a bonus colour page featuring Adam West, Burt Ward, Frank Gorshin and cast in the TV special, Legends of the Superheroes: The Challenge.)

Issue 4

Utility Belt 4 was published in 1991.

EDITORIAL: The original editorial for this issue has been updated about four times over the last year. It's had as many changes as the casting of Catwoman for Batman Returns. The printer of Issue #1 went overseas, the printer of Issue #2 has taken a low profile in the print room at work and the printer of Issue #3 resigned from the profession.

This weekend, I'm printing my long-awaited Star Trek: The Next Generation fanzine, Sons of Kiron III, so I will try to sneak through these UB pages if I can. Finding sources of cheap printers is hard. As I said we've used up three of them!

When we started Battalion, we did not expect your first twelve-month subscription to be extended to 2½ years - and neither did you! Postage rates for large packets have increased at least twice since you joined the club, and all we have in the bank is what we had budgeted for a newsletter due in May 1990 or thereabouts. There is barely enough left to even post this issue!

That doesn't count the many hundreds of dollars worth of photocopying, stationery, glue, staples, electric stapler, laser-printer toner, etc., we editors have donated to the club out of our own pockets. To those of you who have enquired about the progress of Issue #4 without sending a SSAE, I apologise, but the club simply cannot afford the luxury of extra stamps.

There are 100 members of Battalion, but we probably heard from only twenty of you in the last year. The comments on our giant Issue #3 were very sparse.

So, on to Battalion: Year Two (Ha! Ha!). We have a few options to consider:

  • (a) Closure of the club - which is unwise with Batman Returns now in production.
  • (b) Attempt to resume quarterly schedules. I now have my own Amiga, so we could have three thinner, computer-generated issues a year, plus a laser-printed annual from Chie-Hoon.
  • (c) Hand over the editorial/printing reins to someone else. Are there any takers out there?

For the present, I will assume Plan (b) will operate, but it is now time for all of you game enough to subscribe for your next four instalments of Utility Belt. We already have about twenty pages ready to roll. Probably, the entire 100 membership will not renew. Some of you are probably off doing other things with your lives and some of you may be feeling ripped off. But please remember, for your initial $10 investment you got three great issues of Utility Belt and the Sydney people even got a free preview screening of the 1989 movie.

Are you game for a rematch? $15 and a SSAE, together with your name and address to Battalion Renewal... will secure your membership... Regards Ian. [1]

Issue 5

Utility Belt 5 was published in 1992.

Issue 6

Utility Belt 6 was published in 1993.

Issue 7

Utility Belt 7 was published in 1994. (This issue had a focus on a then-new Titans Universe character, Battalion, and a report of a LoC by Ian and Stephen which had appeared in an issue of the Team Titans comic.) [2]

Issue 8

Utility Belt 8 was published in 1995. (Final issue.)



  1. Editorial, Utility Belt, Issue 4, 1991, p. 1
  2. Team Titans, DC Comics, 1993