Saturday, February 13, 2016

Lovecraftian Thing A Day No.44: Dagon

Back in the olden days (the 1980s), before the Internet, we communicated by writing on vellum in our own blood, before strapping said missive on the back of specially-trained sheep who would deliver our messages. Those were the days when the Lovecraftian scene was largely sustained (at least in the UK) through a network of specialist bookshops, by occasional conventions, and by dedicated Lovecraftian zines. Foremost of these was the venerable Dagon, which was published and edited by Carl T. Ford, and lasted for 27 issues. As I recall, Dagon started as a fanzine for The Call of Cthulhu rpg; however its focus later shifted more towards the literary side of things. I picked up an early issue (no.3, I think) from the original Games Workshop at Dalling Road, Hammersmith. It wasn't until, I think, about 1989, that I picked up another issue – this time from the Leeds branch of Games Workshop. In many respects this was an utterly transformative experience, as it was the Thomas Ligotti special issue. Without this, I wouldn't have discovered Ligotti until much later, and it meant I was able to get in at the ground level of Ligotti collecting/fandom (although I never managed to get hold of the Silver Scarab edition of Songs of a Dead Dreamer)..

Importantly, Dagon also carried adverts for UK stockists of Weird and Lovecraftian fiction, which (a few years later) allowed me to begin collecting in earnest. Other issues also introduced me to the works of Karl Edward Wagner, D.F. Lewis, and Mark Samuels (who I struck up a brief acquaintance with after returning to London). Dagon was also notable for its extremely high production values, not to say the quality of its contents, showcasing the work of some amazing Lovecrsftian artists (including Dave Carson). I think I'm correct in recalling that Dagon also won a British Fantasy award. Well remembered, and long missed: Dagon, we salute you!

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