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.
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).
Re the penultimate paragraph above: Going through boxes that had been in storage for many years I came across the artwork for the proposed re-launch of the combined magazines, which we decided, for reasons I can’t remember, would be called Stardock and Gothique rather than Gothique and Stardock. Had it happened, the magazine would have been published in 1970.
The wraparound artwork was by David Britton, and here it is:
You’ll observe that being (very) pre-digital it’s been pasted up camera-ready for offset-lithography. And despite being in black and white the finished cover would have been in colour, using a technique that overlaid rainbow-like swirls. The intention was that, like the previous issues of Gothiqueand Stardock, this amalgamated title would have newsstand distribution. But it was not to be. As explained above, the distributor went bust and we were never paid what we were owed.
Unearthed after literally decades in storage: newsagents/bookshop promotional posters for Gothique and Stardock during their brief period of newsstand distribution:
Gothique artwork: Robin James; Stardock: Moy (Moira Read).
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.
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: Terry Jeeves (Issue 3)
No 1 July 1965; 16pp
News & Views by Stan Nicholls; Reed This (Oliver Reed profile) by Derek Stokes; Val Lewton: His Life and Times by Ernest Harris; Book Reviews by Jean Dempsey and Ernest Harris. Cover and interior art: David Griffiths.
No 2 October 1965; 24pp
News & Views by David Griffiths and Stan Nicholls; The Peter Cushing Story & Filmography by Stan Nicholls; The Skull: A Review by Henry Stralson; People Behind The Skull by Ernest Harris; Letters From Readers; Blochbuster (Robert Bloch profile) by Derek Stokes; Book Reviews by Jean Dempsey, Ernest Harris, Stan Nicholls and Derek Stokes. Cover and interior art: David Griffiths.
No 3 January 1966; 32pp
News & Views by Stan Nicholls, Tim Stout and Martin Walsh; News On the American Scene by Ted Isaacs; Dracula's Back by David Griffiths; Christopher Lee Biography & Filmography by Stan Nicholls; TV Fantasy by Stan Nicholls; Letters From Readers; Book Reviews by David Griffiths, Stan Nicholls and Derek Stokes. Cover and interior art: David Griffiths.
No 4 May 1966; 30pp
News & Views by David Griffiths, Ted Isaacs, Robin James, Stan Nicholls, Derek Stokes and Tim Stout; News On the American Scene by Ted Isaacs; TV Fantasy by Stan Nicholls; H.P. Lovecraft: Biography & Checklist by Derek Stokes; Poison Pen Department (letters); Book Reviews by Ray Fawcett and Tony Lines. Cover: Moy. Interior art: Jess.
No 5 August 1966; 36pp
News & Views by Eddy C. Bertin, Robin James, Stan Nicholls, Derek Stokes and Tim Stout; News On the American Scene by Ted Isaacs; The Terence Fisher Story by David Griffiths; Poison Pen Department; The Gothic Novel, Part One by Ray Fawcett; Disco-Terror: Horror on Record by Derek Stokes & Luna Mora; Book Reviews by David Griffiths, Stan Nicholls and Derek Stokes. Cover: Brian J. Frost. Interior art: David Griffiths and Jess.
No 6 November 1966; 42pp
News & Views by Eddy C. Bertin, Ted Isaacs, Stan Nicholls and Derek Stokes; News On the American Scene by Ted Isaacs; Fanzine Reviews by David Griffiths, Maxwell Hogarth, Stan Nicholls and Derek Stokes; The H.F.C.G.B. Convention, or, How Not to Run a Convention by Derek Stokes; The Departed Sorcerer: Clark Ashton Smith Biography & Bibliography by John Derry; Vault of Horror (E.C. revival) by Stan Nicholls; Poison Pen Department; The Gothic Novel, Part Two by Kevin Wheelan; The Mummy's Curse by Robin James; Gothique Film Society Page: Letters From Christopher Lee and Terence Fisher; Book Reviews by Juliette Bentley, Tony Lines, Derek Stokes and Kevin Whelan. Cover: Jess. Interior art: David Griffiths, Jess and Moy.
No 7 June 1967; 32pp
News & Views by Eddy C. Bertin, David Griffiths, Stan Nicholls and Martin Walsh; European News by Eddy C. Bertin; Gothique Film Society Page/Questionnaire; Fanzine Reviews by David Griffiths, Stan Nicholls and Derek Stokes; In Memory of David H. Keller by Mike Ashley; Film News by Harold Jordan; The Mummy's Legend and Mummy Filmography by Keith A. Walker; The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb: A Review by Stan Nicholls; Poison Pen Department. Cover: Moy. Interior art: Brian J. Frost, David Griffiths, Jess, Moy and J. Parker.
Special Third Mancon Issue April 1968; 8pp
Correct To Cut by Ramsey Campbell. Cover: David Britton. Interior art: David Britton, Brian J. Frost, David Griffiths and Moy.
No 8 October 1968; 24pp
News & Views by Stan Nicholls; Gothique Film Society Page by Robin James; Hex: A Preview by Michel Parry and Martin Walsh; The Great Wax Museum Mystery by Robin James; Book Reviews by Stan Nicholls; Carnival of Souls: A Review by Martin Walsh; Harold Harvey Interview by Matt Davidson; Strange Brew (fantasy in music) by David Griffiths & Stan Nicholls. Cover: Brian J. Frost. Interior art: Dave Baldock-Ling, David Britton, David Griffiths, Jess, Luna Mora, Moy and Brian Pugh.
No 9 October 1969; 32pp
Back to Nosferatu! by Ramsey Campbell; The Vampire Theme in Weird Fiction, Part One by Brian J. Frost; Boris Karloff: Tributes by Ivan Butler, Ramsey Campbell, Alan Dodd, Michel Parry and Tim Stout; Looking Back (E.C. Comics) by Russ Jones; Hammer: A Checklist compiled by the Editors and Bob Webb. Cover: Brian Pugh. Interior art: Dave Baldock, Dave Fletcher, Brian J. Frost, David Griffiths, John Hudson, Terry Jeeves and Moy.
No 10 March 1970; 40pp
Fantasy Utilised by David Sutton; An Interview with Peter Cushing by David Soren; The Vampire Theme in Weird Fiction Part Two and Vampire Bibliography by Brian J. Frost; Poison Pen Department; Paris, Its Cinemas and Films by Kevin J. Whelan; An Interview with Russ Jones by David Griffiths & Stan Nicholls; New Dimensions of Human Violence by Fredric Wertham, MD; Ramsey's Ramblings by Ramsey Campbell; ‘Psycho’, poetry by Bruton Connors; Book Reviews by Stan Nicholls. Cover: Moy. Interior art: John Arundel, Dave Baldock-Ling, Brian J. Frost, David Griffiths, John Hudson, Alan Hunter and Jess.
Only 40 copies were printed. Effectively, this was the last issue of Gothique. Well, for 15 years anyway ...
Special 20th Anniversary Issue July 1985; 28pp
Plus a 4 page supplement listing contents of Gothique and Stardock.
Produced in conjunction with the British Fantasy Society
The Enemy Within by Stan Nicholls; "An Award? An Award For What?" - Lon Chaney Jr Interview by Alan White; Above the Clouds, Midnight is Walking, a portfolio of artwork by David Britton, Brian J. Frost, Alan Hunter and Moy, with an introduction by Julian Dubois; Certain Disturbing Tendencies: Some Purely Personal Reactions to Current Trends in Horror Movies by Ernest Harris; 2005: Ramsey Campbell, Martin Lock and David Sutton Look Ahead.
Cover: David Griffiths. Interior art: Dave Baldock-Ling, Jim Cawthorn, Brian J. Frost, David Griffiths, Alan Hunter, Terry Jeeves, Jess and Moy.
I was proud of Gothique, but of all the independent press publications I was involved with, Stardock pleased me most. Tagged "A Gothique Publication", it concentrated on the two genres closest to my heart - science fiction and fantasy. I was the editor; David Griffiths took care of artwork and layout, though, as with Gothique, we both involved ourselves with every aspect.
No 1 August 1968; 24pp
But is it SF? by Ramsey Campbell; Moy: A Portfolio, with an introduction by David Griffiths; Fanzine Reviews by Michael J. Harris and Kevin Whelan; The Blurred Borderline Between Science Fiction and Horror Fantasy by Tim Stout.
Cover: Brian J. Frost. Interior art: Dave Baldock-Ling, David Britton, David Griffiths, Moy and Brian Pugh.
No 2 April 1969; 40pp
Propaganda: Why the Blue Beetle Voted For George Wallace by Michel Parry with Adrian Amos; Portfolio No 2: David Britton, with an introduction by David Griffiths; ‘The Switch’ and ‘Social Security Card’: Two Poems by Alan Price; ‘Wych Hazel on the Planet Terror’, poetry by Alan Marshfield; 2001: Before the Rebirth by Ramsey Campbell; The Stealer of Souls: Michael Moorcock Profile & Bibliography by Mike Ashley.
Cover: Moy. Interior art: Dave Baldock-Ling, David Britton, David Griffiths, John Hudson, Alan Hunter, Terry Jeeves, Ron McGuinness and John E. Tayler.
No 3 January 1970; 32pp
The Growth of a Sub-Culture: A Short History of Comics by Anthony Roche; Comics Fanzines Checklist compiled by Haydn Paul; ‘The Madmen Are Watching Us’, poetry by Alan Price; Portfolio No 3: Alan Hunter, with introductions by David Griffiths and Chris Hunter; Alias John Wyndham: Profile & Bibliography by Mike Ashley; Note of Doubt by Ramsey Campbell; Grandson of Ives (Frank Zappa interview) by Ramsey Campbell; Book Reviews by Stan Nicholls.
Cover: David Griffiths. Interior art: Dave Baldock-Ling, David Britton, John Hudson, Alan Hunter, Terry Jeeves and David Lloyd.
This issue wasn't published, but we did run-off 15 copies for our own use, making it an even rarer item than Gothique 10.
No 4 August 1970; 40pp
Blast Off! (readers' letters); Buzz: Media News; Surrealism in Modern Science Fiction by James Goddard; Portfolio No 4: David Griffiths, with introductions by Moy and Stan Nicholls; Ray Bradbury: The Martian Chronicler - Profile & Bibliography by Mike Ashley; Soren Says: Reviews of Obscure SF & Fantasy Films by David Soren; ‘The Adventures of Ron Wetlegge’, Episode One - comic strip by Tony Shiels; ‘Tetzcatlipoca and Xilonen’, poetry by Paul Screeton; Frank Frazetta Checklist compiled by the Editors; The World of Barbarella by Mike Grace; The SF Magazines Reviewed by Michael Raymond; Book Reviews by Stan Nicholls.
Cover: David Griffiths. Interior art: Dave Baldock-Ling, David Britton, Alan Hunter, Terry Jeeves, David Lloyd, Ron McGuinness, Moy and Brian Pugh.
© Stan Nicholls
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