In Profile: The Raven’s Call

In the fall of 2007, a print zine titled The Raven’s Call made its debut on countertops in select shops throughout Toronto. It was easy to spot not only because it didn’t have much competition at the time, but also because its subject matter – a goth zine with a strong historical slant – made it an especially rare sighting.

Founded by husband and wife duo Michael Ratt and Lady Silver, The Raven’s Call comes together as a collective effort by members of The Dark Place: A Gothic Society, which sprang to life after the original Gothic Society of Canada disbanded. Its editorial eye is currently looking for articles about topics like falconry and archery to run amongst features that focus on historical figures, artist interviews and poetry.

Now in its fourth year, The Raven’s Call is available across the pond in England, and is moving into its 15th issue. But the zine and its authors have done more than just maintain a regular publishing schedule: they’ve built a community on a local and international level through content focused on members of the Goth community who are particularly interested in historical leanings.

Liz Worth: Why do a print zine in a time when so few people are publishing on paper?

Michael Ratt: Just for that reason. What we do in The Dark Place is we’re celebrating anachronistic behaviour to start with. We’re celebrating something from a time gone past. And, as much as anything, we’re trying to keep something alive that we feel should be kept alive.

Lady Silver: We are traditionalists, of course. We like historical things. As much technology has taken over the world, there’s still something to be said for the feel of something between your hands, the smell of the paper, the tactile stuff.

LW: What were your goals when you started The Raven’s Call?

LS: It’s a labour of love for us. It’s personal. It’s something we want to do. It’s out there and that’s enough, but we’ve had some really, really great feedback. We have people who are coming into the shops that carry it asking, “when’s the next issue?”

MR: I’d love to eventually be printing 300, 400 copies.
I leave them on the subway in strategic places. And if I see someone on the street who I think might have an interest in the magazine I’ll walk up to them and say, “you might want to check this out.” I have no problem approaching people.

LW: Do you often get readers who are outside of the niche you’re looking at?

LS: We get people you’d never expect who have picked it up and have asked for it. In fact, my 65-year-old aunt always gets her copy. And there’s a person at my work place who doesn’t have anything to do with goth but he likes the history aspect of it.
So we’re pulling them in.

MR: It’s actually getting to the point of inspiring international readers to put together one of these little groups themselves. We had a girl send in a poem, from Sweden. She’s now gotten to the point where she wants to open up a chapter or version of what we do, but focus on the literary aspect of it.

LS: It is very definitely a niche, but if we can inspire somebody, then that’s great.