HAPPY 20TH ANNIVERSARY, TOONZONE!!

Latest News

wonderfly

Shaking things up a bit
Staff member
Administrator
Mar 22, 2002
18,524
Ratings
891 14
83
42
Springfield, MO
#1
Happy 20th Anniversary, Toonzone!!

Part 1: Things were different back then.


When it comes to animation, back in 1998, things were different. Nostalgia wants to say "Things were better back then", Objectivity wants to say "Things were worse", but whichever way you look at it, things were different.

"Kids WB" was on the rise, quickly becoming the King of Saturday Morning animation. Fox Kids was starting to decline in popularity (mostly due to the loss of all of the WB shows to "Kids WB"). Disney's "One Saturday Morning" on ABC was also in high gear during this year, the last remnant of the old "Big 3" (ABC/NBC/CBS) Saturday morning blocks.

Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon were hitting their strides and escalating their rivalry: the Rugrats movie would be released in November 1998, while Cartoon Network's "Powerhouse" era was ramping up, with Powerpuff Girls premiering in November 1998. Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z joined Toonami that summer, hinting at the start of the Anime Boom.

Disney's "Mulan" was in theaters that summer, and though it did well, the Disney Renassance was starting to wind down. Meanwhile, Dreamworks was just getting start with 2 films that year: "Antz" and "The Prince of Egypt", both premiering in theaters before the end of the year.

Another thing that was on the rise back then? The internet. This was the era of fan-sites, "shrines", and "webrings" dedicated to cartoons or cartoon characters. There were guest books, visitor counters, chat rooms, and message boards.

Enter: The Toon Zone.
 

wonderfly

Shaking things up a bit
Staff member
Administrator
Mar 22, 2002
18,524
Ratings
891 14
83
42
Springfield, MO
#2
Part 2: History (the short version)

Toonzone was co-founded by 3 online friends attending college: Brian Cruz, Eileen "Harley" Delgadillo, and Colin Feder, all three of whom started out as members of the "Warner Bros. Club", an online community dedicated to the WB cartoon phenomenon of the 90's, which in various incarnations dated back to 1994.

The oldest version of the Warner Bros. Club can still be found here, in all it's mid 90's glory:

The Warner Bros. Club Homepage

"The Toon Zone" itself was founded in August of 1998. It started out as a mixture of the 3 friend's individual websites, along with the continuing "Warner Bros. Club" website. The 3 founders purchased the domain name on August 3rd, 1998, and spent the month building the website. August 24th, 1998, is considered the actual launch date.

The original "Toon Zone", as it looked in 1998, can be found here, courtesy of the Wayback Machine:

Toon Zone

As for the message board itself (the precursor to the forums here), it launched in August 1998 as well. The oldest remnant of the first message board that I can find is here:

https://web.archive.org/web/19990429132812/http://disc.server.com:80/Indices/9622.html

Looking back on the discussion threads there, the last posts of the oldest message board are from April 1999, back when Batman Beyond was brand new and Pokemon was considered a "threat" to the WB properties on Kids WB. Times were different back then.

The 2nd incarnation of the forums launched around February 1999. Here's what the forums looked like by the Summer of 2000:

The WBC Bulletin Board

By then, we had a "Story Board" forum, the "Termite Terrace" forum (a precursor to the "Retro" forum, which is now the "Saturday Morning Forever" forum), a "Universal Animation" forum (a precursor to the "General Animation" forum), and "Batman Beyond" and "Batman-Superman" had their own forums.

Those old forums closed down in April of 2001. The next version of the Toonzone forums launched around May 1st, 2001. All of the threads/messages from that version and onward can still be found today, here on the forums. The official launch of the new forums (from May 1st, 2001) can be found here:

https://www.toonzone.net/forums/threads/welcome-to-the-new-boards.2764391/

Here's what the forums looked like in early 2002 (around the time I joined):

https://web.archive.org/web/20020125095150/http://forums.toonzone.net:80/

By this point, there was a message boards for "Justice League", "Cartoon Cartoons", "Adult Swim", "Toonami" (yes, I think our interests still skewed towards Kids WB and Cartoon Network), plus there was a "Fan Fics" forum and a "RPG" forum.
 
Last edited:

wonderfly

Shaking things up a bit
Staff member
Administrator
Mar 22, 2002
18,524
Ratings
891 14
83
42
Springfield, MO
#3
Part 3: An online community

Over the years, there was a community of websites that came to be affiliated with Toonzone, the creators of which were very much a part of discussions here on the forums. Some of these websites have closed down, some exist in new incarnations, some have went their own way, others are still under the Toonzone "umbrella". But I remember enjoying many of these:

The World's Finest:

The World's Finest - The #1 DC Animation Resource

The Animated Bat:

The Animated Batman

The X Bridge:

The Legacy Project | Toonami Celebrated By The X Bridge

The Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies website:

Toon Zone - Looney Tunes & Merrie Melodies: The Early Years

Adult Swim: The Fansite:

Adult Swim: The Fansite

And others...these websites (along with Toonzone itself) gave us the latest news and reviews on all of our favorite shows and creators, or provided us with detailed analysis of some of the classics of yesteryear.

But it wasn't just the websites that generated discussions...
 
Last edited:

wonderfly

Shaking things up a bit
Staff member
Administrator
Mar 22, 2002
18,524
Ratings
891 14
83
42
Springfield, MO
#4
Part 4: Conversations and Festivities

The Toonzone forums itself were hosts to numerous discussions and events of interests over the years. These may just be my personal favorites, but everyone here over the years has seen or participated in threads that they have fond memories about. But here's some examples:

There was Comic Book Artist John Delaney rewarding us fans with a "Sketch of the Week" drawing, which we the Toonzone members voted on weekly:

John Delaney's Sketch of the Week #1!

The contest to pick the best "Batman: The Animated Series" episode (in celebration of the 10th Anniversary of "B:TAS" - by the way, "Heart of Ice" won that tournament):

Pick The Best Batman: The Animated Series Episode -- Poll #1

The long-running "Anime of the Month Club" here at Toonzone:

Anime of the Month Club July: Great Teacher Onizuka (SPOILERS!)

The Toonzone "Adult Swim Hall of Fame" awards:

Adult Swim Awards: Hall of Fame 2006 - Nominate

The yearly "April Fools Day" festivities that we've had on Toonzone:

April Fools Thread Collection

The "Top Video Games of All Times" Voting thread:

Toonzone Picks: Top Video Games of all Time

The Toonzone "Battle of the Brackets" games:

Toonzone's 5th Annual "Battle of the Brackets" - "Best of the 90's" edition!

And beyond the festivities, there's just the numerous discussion threads from over the years (waaay too many to try and list here, but feel free to share your own memories)!
 
Last edited:

wonderfly

Shaking things up a bit
Staff member
Administrator
Mar 22, 2002
18,524
Ratings
891 14
83
42
Springfield, MO
#5
Part 5: In Summary

For animation lovers, the last 20 years has seen the ups and downs of the industry. But Toonzone has been around through it all, for fans to discuss, to praise, to rant, to celebrate the medium. In looking back upon previous years, I found an old news article celebrating Toonzone's 10th anniversary:

Toon Zone's 10th Anniversary: Memories from Staff | ToonZone News

From that link, I just want to share one quote from another moderator from back then, that I believe still holds true today:

"Toon Zone is a celebration of animation, and that’s what drove me to the site. It wasn’t just Disney, Warner Bros. (well, it kind of was, but hey, things change), classic cartoons, modern cartoons, or, as the craze of the time dictated, just anime. It was love of the medium, those that dare to create it, those that aim to be a part of it, and those that just enjoy it.

Toon Zone came around at the right period in animation history, the end of broadcast television’s dominance of the medium, the beginning of the cable takeover, the evolution of computer animation in theaters, the rise of independent productions, the rebirth of the animation history movement, the creation of the DVD market, the birth of the modern anime industry, and, of course, the first real impact of the internet on pop culture and society. That’s not to say there wasn’t much before Toon Zone . . . but it wasn’t as interesting."

I'll just add one final thing: The animation industry is still changing, evolving with the times. Toonzone will continue to evolve as well, to keep up with the times (for example, as evidence by the new "Streamtopia" forum).

Stick around. I think the best is yet to come (for the animation industry, and for "The Toon Zone").

What are your fond memories on Toonzone, from the last 20 years?!?
 

Red Arrow

Proud Beneluxer
Oct 22, 2012
12,740
Ratings
3,454 67 1
113
21
Belgium
#7
I think this is the longest thread ever on ToonZone :) It lasted 10 years (2007-2017) and had over 28,500 posts.
Cartoon Network International News Thread
Unfortunately many posts got removed for no reason. Apparantly this website can't handle threads with more than 28,000 posts.

I feel like ToonZone has changed a lot from 2012 till now, but if I look at older threads, I think the biggest change happened a few years before I joined. 2010-2012 is when the discussion threads started getting a lot shorter aside from DC and Marvel.
 
Last edited:

Gold Guy

Ride On
Staff member
Moderator
Dec 14, 2008
20,313
Ratings
2,652 6
113
New York City
#8
Wow, 20 years is quite an accomplishment. That's Pokemon level right there.

I haven't been on this site quite that long, of course, but I still have plenty of fond memories. I've met a lot of nice people here, and even though I haven't always been quite as active as I used to be, I don't see myself leaving anytime soon!
Here's to 20 more years.
 
#9
I joined Toonzone in the very end of 2012. I had come at a time when Toonzone's prime was starting to end.

When I joined Toonzone I gave a lot of information on CN Africa, as well as dreams I had quite often. They used to be better.

The thing I seem to enjoy quite a lot are the April Fool's Day pranks - 2014 was my best year and some of the pranks I concocted like 777 Casino became a part of the lore that would soon create RandomMe Entertainment.
 

ToonJay723

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Nov 24, 2012
2,966
Ratings
1,526 13
113
22
New York
#11
The Warner Bros. Club Bulletin Board
Pokebutt said:
Using a Japanese Anime (although Pokemon isn't 100% anime)
People were saying that about Pokemon back in 1999 as well?

Anyways I really like looking through old threads to see what people thought about shows, movies, networks, and animation in general at the time. Shame posts from 1998 to early 2001 didn't survive aside from a few archives.
 

jaylop97

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Oct 5, 2014
15,097
Ratings
5,183 36 1
113
20
Austin, Texas
#12
20 years sure do fly, then again I'm 20 too, so I can say me and Toon Zone are around the same age, I might have not been alongside it growing up, but I was around in 2014 and here I am today. I sure do want to continue being around such a great site.
 

Dan's Revenge

"I don't need a job, I need money." - Dan
Apr 17, 2011
4,703
Ratings
736 5
83
31
Wherever You Are ;)
www.toonzone.net
#14
I'm glad I've been here for the most recent 59 of its 67 years. It's been a great time!

I was originally on under a different alias in 2009, last entered in 2010 I think, but hadn't done much of anything. I don't remember my username or PW, so the following year created this one, and I haven't forgotten anything since.

Short story: Dan Vs. on The Hub got me wanting here to discuss said show, and then just escalated from here. I only had about 14 months before Toonami returned to [as], so I've been here for this current haul. Still wish I could remember the final ASA lineup.

I remember the old pictures upper left on the 2nd-to-last(?) design that usually changed every reload or new page, and rotated between 10 different pictures in which the rotation happened every so often. I remember opening an image to a new tab, tampering with the URL then being able to see images prior to that. Sometimes wish that was still going on.

Been a great ride with great people, great thread topics. I'll stay for as long as I'm able!
 

Light Lucario

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
May 11, 2007
44,862
Ratings
3,263
113
29
In a Dream World
#15
Even though I wasn't around at the start of Toon Zone, some of those early layouts of the site and forums made me feel a bit nostalgic. That was how quite a few sites looked around the late 90's and early 2000's, although I don't think I used the Internet that often until I was eleven or twelve at most. I still had to share the family computer, so that would limit how much time I could be on the Internet. Even the notion of a computer room sounds really weird to me when I've been using laptops for a number of years.

It is impressive that Toon Zone has been around for so long. I joined back in 2007, but the site has changed quite a bit since even within that time frame. I've made some good friends through Toon Zone and I've been able to find a site to talk about various different topics on animation. I usually stick to a few certain sections, but that variety in topics was probably one reason why I became interested in Toon Zone in the first place. Plus, I'd often check the home page for schedule information before becoming a forum member.

I'm glad that I joined the site and that Toon Zone is still going strong after twenty years. I hope that the site will continue to evolve as time goes on.
 

RoyalRubble

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Mar 8, 2009
7,065
Ratings
7,632 6
113
A Valid Location
#16
I've been a member here for less than a decade, though I do recall visiting the site before I registered. I cannot remember much, actually, but I think I mostly visited the Marvel and DC boards at the time (kind of like I do now, as well). The site seemed like fun so I joined eventually and I am still here. I haven't been all that active throughout the years, but some of my early days here were about discussing episodes of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, around 2010. Later on I was lucky enough to get some of my reviews I posted for Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes I posted on the forums added to the Marvel Animation Age website. Then I started occasionally writing some of those retrospectives for various characters for both Marvel and DC.

I was "promoted" to a moderator a little over 3 years ago. I had the chance to talk with some great people here, staff members and regular users alike. It's a fun community and while I am not really as active as I would like, Toon Zone is still a great place to be. It's fun having a place to discuss just about any type of animation (as well as live-action stuff, and other stuff as well). I rarely actually participate in discussions such as episode talkbacks and the like these days, I still visit and read quite a few topics here (outside of the boards I monitor) and it's kind of cool reading people's thoughts on various shows. Even occasionally checking through older threads, that sometimes feels amusing in hindsight reading some of those ideas or comments.

Happy 20th anniversary to the site! Here's to many more. I don't really plan on leaving the community anytime soon, so it should be interesting seeing how things evolve even further in the future.
 

wonderfly

Shaking things up a bit
Staff member
Administrator
Mar 22, 2002
18,524
Ratings
891 14
83
42
Springfield, MO
#18
I remember the old pictures upper left on the 2nd-to-last(?) design that usually changed every reload or new page, and rotated between 10 different pictures in which the rotation happened every so often. I remember opening an image to a new tab, tampering with the URL then being able to see images prior to that. Sometimes wish that was still going on.
Oh yeah, the image banner that was in the upper left corner of the forums, I remember those! It was a rotating image that would refresh depending on each sub-forum that you visited. The image of Mumm-Ra (from 80's Thundercats) was the base picture, if I recall right.

Here's an example (with a image from "Titan A.E."):

toonzone forums - Powered by vBulletin- animation news cartoon discussion

Here's another one with a Hamtaro image:

Toon Zone Forum - Powered by vBulletin

We had to drop those due to the new forum design around 2010 or 2011...but we might be able to bring them back someday. :)
 

Red Arrow

Proud Beneluxer
Oct 22, 2012
12,740
Ratings
3,454 67 1
113
21
Belgium
#19
Holy cow, that looks completely different!
We had to drop those due to the new forum design around 2010 or 2011...but we might be able to bring them back someday. :)
That would be awesome!

It looks like the pictures were still there in 2012 and 2013: toonzone forums
toonzone forums
Might be wrong, though. The Wayback Archive is sometimes wrong. For instance, many schedules on cartoonnetwork.nl are clearly from 2001, but the Archive says they're from 2002 or 2003 sometimes. The pages themselves might be from 2002/2003, but probably the text files weren't saved properly, so those files are still from 2001.
 

SparkleMan

Who did you expect? Sportaflop?
May 2, 2016
1,128
Ratings
487 5
83
16
Lazytown
#20
I joined May 2nd, 2016.
I wished I was here before then, because Toonzone was apparently better before then.
Happy 20th anniversary!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk