The way I see it, very little happened in Labyrinth’s first decade. But, with the advent of its second decade and the help of the burgeoning Internet, Labyrinth hit cult status. And I was there!
1996 continued: In the fall, I correspond with Sarah, drooling over the movie. We join one of the earliest Labyrinth mailing lists, Lady Amethyst’s. I put up the first version of Jareth’s Realm, then titled Jareth’s Home Page, on server space provided by my college, and I too am part of the great pageant of Labyrinthian history, taking my place on the stage of time with the artists whose work I adore…
*cough* Sorry…delusions of grandeur.
Also in 1996, the first piece of movie memorabilia in 10 years comes out — The Goblin Companion: A Field Guide to Goblins by Brian Froud. Of course, the book is billed as a stand-alone with no connection to Labyrinth whatsoever, so only initiates know the truth. The Goblin Companion is a re-issue of the 1986 Goblins of Labyrinth, only much smaller and without the double-page spreads of conceptual artwork. Fans are understandably disappointed, but view anything that exposes more people to Labyrinth [even surreptitiously] as good.
1997: The Labyrinth mailing list becomes so high-volume that it splits into two parts: one for general movie discussion and one for fan fiction. The division of the mailing list is not earth-shattering per se, but it does point out the steadily growing number of Labyrinth fans online. Soon subcliques form: the memorabilia collectors, the RPGers, the fan fiction writers, the lovers of David Bowie’s
bulge music, etc. The Internet allows the spread of Laby love into other subcultures. We’re on our way to omnipresence and world domination!!
Also in 1997, No Strings Attached: Inside Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, another coffee table book by Matt Bacon, comes out. Focusing on puppet design and construction, No Strings Attached devotes several pages to Hoggle, the Fireys, the Helping Hands, the goblins, etc., of Labyrinth. Labyrinth’s critical rehabilitation continues.
1998: Ebay sucks me in. I become a member of the fast-growing auction site. But I’m not the only one. I come looking for Labyrinth memorabilia, and I find it. Online auctions fuel a secondary market for Laby collectibles, as well as general enthusiasm for the movie.
Also in 1998, I move Jareth’s Home Page off my college server and onto a free hosting site, FortuneCity. The proliferation of FortuneCity, Geocities, Tripod, etc., lets me — and any fan of Labyrinth — proclaim his or her Laby love to the world, all for the price of a few banner ads. Labyrinth sites abound.
1999: The first DVD release of Labyrinth hits store shelves. Soon many fans ditch their worn VHS tapes for DVDs. The DVD’s greater storage capacity, better audio and video reproduction and greater durability prompts cries of joy from those who want to admire their favorite moments in the film. As yet another advantage over VHS, the Labyrinth DVD also includes the legendary making-of documentary. With their special features and special editions, DVDs only augment Labyrinth’s fan base.
Also in 1999, Sypher Studios holds its first highly successful Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade Ball. Not officially licensed by the Henson Company or anyone else, the ball represents a labor of love for fans of all things Labyrinthian [and fantastical in general]. For the first time, the fan base has its answer to a Rocky Horror midnight showing or a sci-fi convention where they can geek out with other fans in person.
All right, it looks like this entry is running long too, so stay tuned for part III!