The History of Stormy’s “Avalon” Web Site

Hey Jewel Fans!

Are you a recent Jewel Riders fan, or have you been kickin’ it with the fandom since the ’90s? For those of us who grew up with the show, our fandom came of age alongside the internet and the wild west of fan sites.

For friend of the site and fandom queen Stormy, she built the biggest and most well-known fan site of the ’90s and early 2000s. It was a repository of fan fiction and fan art, a place for fans to gather in a chat room, an episode guide, music guide, toy finds, and even discussion of similar properties like shoujo anime that might be of interest to Jewel Riders fans. You can find the link to see the archived version of the site at our “Links” page. Just scroll down to “Archival Links” where you can also find the archived version of the original Bohbot site for the show.

Stormy, Chris, and Ronnie

We reached out to Stormy to see if she could share any memories of creating “Avalon” and what the fandom of the mid-to-late ’90s was like!

Unfortunately my memory is really spotty, but I’ll chatter on a bit and maybe you can cull out some interesting facts. I don’t remember if there were any fansites other than mine–possibly my Queen of Fandom ego ate the memory. ^^; I was a bit of a twerp at the time. We all were; we were age 13-23, the window when twerpiness is naturally high. I thought I was such hot stuff being a webmistress who people depended on for content… and now I still think I’m hot stuff because I’m a fanfiction writer who people depend on for content. Things don’t really change, do they!

The Avalon fansite was quite lively. I remember quite a variety among fans: both sexes, gay and straight, all ages from young teens to… Gargu however old he was! There was a chat, and people were there chatting most every night. Me, Gryphon Rider, a guy named Asacat who I think was in his twenties instead of his teens, K-chan who is now a professional bellydancer and official badass, and Morning Glory… I think. Unfortunately my brain conflates Morning Glory and Lisa and I could not tell you which person did or said which thing!

Morning Glory has a deviantart: She did a lot of the art for the site, and her character Anastasia had the other Starstone, which was white with five points unlike Trina’s which was aqua with eight points!

Anyway, we did some Jewel Riders roleplaying, but mostly talked about anime– Sailor Moon, Fushigi Yuugi, Utena, Digimon, Pokemon. My Utena obsession was epic. (and I still think it’s good anime and you should watch it!) Anime was so new then, nobody had ever seen a real transformation sequence and the only way you could was trading VHS tapes through the mail. Speaking of tapes, I think it was Lisa who recorded some of the Jewel Riders episodes I couldn’t get, and Morning Glory drew the amazing box art. The fan box art should definitely be part of a history post. You can also say the whole fandom pulled together to collect all the episodes! I can’t remember if anyone else sent me any episodes but I do remember the long wait before I got season two. I learned Shadowsong existed, but it was a very long time before I got to see a picture of him. In my mind I fan-created what I thought he’d look like– my image was dusky purple and aqua and much more shadowy than the bright pink fellow he turned out to be! I was quite disappointed by the pinkness! Do we know who named Shadow? I love his name but it doesn’t really fit his bright colors.

I communicated a bit with Robert Mandell. At the time I felt like he’d want occasional updates on the state of the fandom– it was a thing he created, after all. He was always polite but clearly a private person. Can’t help thinking that if I’d somehow gotten in touch with Greg Autore instead the Avalon site would’ve been sooooooo much cooler! The whole idea of contacting people who had some official involvement in a show was a new thing in the early days of the internet. I would’ve been too shy to contact Mr. Mandell except I had my webmistress credentials and I felt like that made me somebody too! One thing I do remember is emailing him when Web of Magic came out to make sure that really was his series not some crazy coincidence.  and he said “Yes that is my series.” so he must’ve told me previously that he was working on a book series but he hadn’t told me the title.  Must’ve been copyright things keeping him from telling me the series title before the books came out.

Another story: I won a contest for Avalon: Web of Magic back when the first printing was still coming out. I have zero memory what I did for the contest–I think it was a random drawing, not a skilled thing– but I won six copies of Circles in the Stream, which I gave out to my friends, and a clear plastic backpack which I still have and will try to photograph next time we have the video recording box up. None of my friends became great Avalon fans after receiving free books. *sigh* I want to love the Avalon books more than I actually do.

And I did a post for a later version of the Web of Magic site back when Rachel Roberts was still running it. My post was about fostering kittens, and had a photo of me bottle feeding a kitten. I wonder if it really was Rachel Roberts I talked to, or a hired webperson. I remember at the time there was a call for like “tell me about your Doing Good and it’ll be a post!” so I emailed and asked if she wanted a post about fostering and she did. So I wrote one.

As to Avalon [the website] content, I know building it was a major project with me at the time, I spent a lot of mental energy thinking about what else I could add… but when I look at the page through the wayback machine it looks really empty, so all the hard work I was so proud of wasn’t actually much original content when you get right down to it, except for the fanfics.

*Archivist note: We have uploaded all the fics we could scour from the Avalon site to our Fanfic page for posterity’s sake! You should definitely read them for a window back into the ’90s fandom!

I didn’t reach out to anyone else from production. I did send Mary Stanton fan mail for Unicorns of Balinor, but that’s the closest. it never occurred to me to try to contact them because my interest was in the story in the show, not the real-world machinery that makes the show happen. I didn’t think anyone would have anything interesting they could tell me, which is probably true because copyright. I think there are laws that people who write for a show can’t share thoughts because all those thoughts belong to the company.

Asacat made the screencaps! He had a machine to take them. Very nice of him. I don’t remember where I got the toy pictures. Probably from fellow fans with digital cameras? I didn’t have one for years. Or I took them from other websites.

I remember I did a songwriting contest and it was a flop. Someone did record their song and send me it on a cassette so they won a box of candy and trinkets. I think they were the only entry, maybe..? I don’t think I still have the tape, but if it turns up you can have it.

There was some talk about doing a Jewel Riders radio play and we’d do the voices. I recruited my grandfather to play Merlin, though his voice was not at all like Merlin’s. (my Grandpa was legit sweet, not creepy like Merlin haha!) We never got even to having a script, I don’t remember what kind of story we were going to do.

As for my plans for the site, I was going to leave it as it was, as one of my several pages. I had a Tenko and the Guardians of the Magic page that never got anywhere since that show only made thirteen episodes. (Archivist Note: You can watch the whole show now on our YouTube!) I had a general fanfic page, my scanned books page… which is a top link from wikipedia. *grin* Is that something to be proud of? ‘Cause I am. I’m still delighted that my scans of the Secret of the Unicorn Queen books are still up, and that at least one maybe two other people have scanned that series. I was trying to write new adventures to the Tales of the Crystals board game. That didn’t get far, it turned out to be a much harder project than I expected. My plan was to just keep building fandom pages until I had a collection I could be content with. But I hadn’t realized you gotta make sure you have your content planned, created and ready before you post, or you’ll end up with unfinished stuff and maybe find you’ve bit off more than you can chew. <–Top link, the Earth Library was my page. Alexander Key is my favorite author, I love his work with all my fannish heart and when his books became impossible to get for remotely reasonable money I wouldn’t let them disappear. Nowadays they’re available as ebooks with gorgeous cover art.

We can’t thank Stormy enough for sharing these memories with the fandom, and for creating the site when she did. Both Ronnie and I spent many, many hours on that website, a tangible link to Jewel Riders long after the show went off the air. Though we never participated in the chat, we did reach out to Stormy for copies of the last three episodes of the show that never aired in our local network syndication. We sent an envelope of cash (!) through the mail and in return got a VHS tape with the final episodes copied onto it. So without Stormy (and Lisa Dawn, it turns out!) we would never have seen the last three episodes of the show, and perhaps the Jewel Riders Archive would not exist. Now that’s the magic of Fandom!

We hope you take the time to appreciate the lovingly-created vintage fan art and fan fiction in this post and archived on the site. It’s truly a doorway in the Wild Magic back to a different time, a time perhaps when internet fandom was a little bit crazier, but in many ways more vibrant than the perpetually-angry fandoms of today. So make a cup of tea and enjoy things created with jewel power by fans, for fans!

Friends Together, Friends Forever!

Chris & Ronnie & Stormy

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