Gothique and Stardock


Artwork: Robin James  © 2007

 

Gothique was a fanzine created by an editorial collective consisting of Jean Dempsey, David Griffiths, Ernest Harris, Derek Stokes and myself. We were all young fans eager to produce a magazine catering to our taste for horror, fantasy and science fiction.

 


A Listing of Principal Contents, 1965-1985

A Listing of Principal Contents, 1968-1970

 

Jean and Ernie bowed out of editorial duties after just a couple of issues, though Ernie continued to write for fanzines and professional publications, mostly on horror cinema. Derek ("Bram") Stokes ceased being an editor after issue 4, and went on to establish a specialist sf bookselling business called The Vault of Horror. This later mutated into Dark They Were and Golden Eyed, which for some years was the UK's biggest science fiction bookshop, and the trailblazer for the plethora of sf and comics retailers that followed.

David Griffiths and I carried on. Roughly speaking, David took care of the illustrations and I handled the words, though there was a certain amount of crossover.

The early issues of Gothique were produced in time-honoured fanzine fashion - on hand-cranked stencil duplicators. Issue 5 saw the introduction of wraparound offset-lithography covers. From issue 7 the magazine was printed entirely by offset-litho, giving us enormous scope to improve the design and general look - artwork always featured prominently (see Galleries below) and litho gave us our head. As the magazine's appearance and content got better, circulation rose. It reached the point where issue 8 sold almost 2,000 copies, and we started to think of ourselves as semi-professional. The next stage was a stab at fully-fledged professional status, and we were taken on by a distribution company specialising in underground and music magazines. Staking everything on newsstand exposure, we ordered a print-run of 5,000 copies each of Gothique 9 and sister magazine Stardock 3. We produced several thousand publicity posters, and planned to offer modest payments to our contributors. The distributor took delivery of the magazines and promptly went out of business. As unsecured creditors we had to write-off the loss. Bruised but still game, we decided to go ahead with publishing Gothique 10 and Stardock 4, with greatly reduced print-runs.


At the eleventh hour we discovered that a feature in Gothique 10 had inadvertently infringed the copyright of a powerful, litigious publishing group. We had to scrap the issue. But as the plates had been made, we had the printer run-off 40 copies, which were given away to friends and family. This additional loss, of money and enthusiasm, meant we didn't have the heart to carry on with Stardock 4 either. Again, the plates had been struck, so we had 15 copies printed as keepsakes.

At the time all this was happening we were planning to merge the magazines into one slick, all-embracing sf/fantasy/horror publication that we hoped, probably naively, would be the definitive title in the field. Gothique/Stardock 1, with over 70 pages of content and full-colour front and back covers, never got beyond the paste-up stage. It became just another might-have-been.
You can read more about Gothique and many other UK fanzines in On the Fringe for Thirty Years: A History of Horror in the British Small Press by David A. Sutton (Shadow Publishing, October 2000).

Gothique Film Society

The Gothique Film Society was founded in 1969 by Robin James (the artist "Jess") and his brother, Mike. (Robin was a guitarist with '60s "horror-pop" band The Downliner Sect; Mike was a classical violinist.) Apart from helping to set up the society and allowing the Gothique name to be used, the magazine's editors didn't have a great deal of involvement with the GFS beyond writing and producing many of the early programme notes. The Society gained an enthusiastic membership, and had Christopher Lee and Bob Monkhouse as honorary presidents. It continues to this day.

Over the years, everybody involved with Gothique and Stardock has been approached by fans seeking issues and information. We have no issues apart from our own file copies, but hopefully the following indices (links on the Top Right of this page) will prove useful.

Galleries

The following is a small selection of the artwork published in Gothique and Stardock.  Everything is (c)1965-2007 the individual artists and Gothique Publications.

 

Artist: Jess  (Issue 4)

 

Artist: Jess  (Issue 4) 

 

Artist: Moy  (Issue 6)

 

Artist: Brian J. Frost  (Issue 7)

 

Artist: Brian J. Frost  (Special Third Mancon issue)

 

Artist: David Britton  (Special Third Mancon issue)

 

Artist: Moy  (Issue 8)

 

 

Artist: Alan Hunter  (Issue 2)

 

Artist: David Britton  (Issue 2)

 

Artist: Alan Hunter  (Issue 2)

 

Artist: Dave Baldock-Ling  (Issue 3)

 

Artist: Alan Hunter  (Issue 3)

 

Artist: Alan Hunter  (Issue 3)

 

Artist: Alan Jeeves  (Issue 3)