is a webcomic hosted on Keenspot
, written and drawn by Josh Phillips. It was launched in November 1999 and officially ended in February 2007.
Sixteen-year-old Ceilidh ("Kay-Lee") MacFarlene
moves with her family to the fictional town of Avalon, Ontario, Canada
from Ottawa. There, she starts Grade 11 at Avalon High School
and becomes friends with six of the students there.
She first meets Joseph Page
and his best friend Alan Gunderson
, then Ryan Aberdeen
"The Geek To End All Geeks
," the bubbly Helène Richer
who constantly chases Alan, Alison Montgomery
, and Phoebe Bradley
- who prefers to be called
" - with a constant dislike of men
This Slice of Life
webcomic features their time together in and out of Avalon High School.
Not to be confused with Meg Cabot
's young-adult novel and manga series Avalon High
or the Mamoru Oshii film of the same name
Avalon provides examples of the following tropes:
- Adorkable: Ryan.
- Affectionate Parody: This Barq's commercial was parodied in 1:100.
- Aliens in Cardiff: It's Walky! did a Cross Over with Avalon in one of its storylines.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Ceilidh with Iain, Phoebe with Todd, Deirdre with Patrick.
- Alone with the Psycho: When Joe gets ambushed by Nancy with her wooden katana in the halls after school hours. Ceilidh comes to his rescue.
- Aloof Big Brother: Ciaran, Ceilidh's older brother. Ceilidh cannot abide his teasing.
- Ambiguous Gender: During Erin's first week in the comic, readers could not decide whether she was male or female. This was later put to rest in 3:87 - she's female. The ambiguity was an unintended result by the author.
- Art Evolution: There is a definite change in art style as the comic goes on. One note of interest is that many characters get larger hair, which actually works for them. Check it out on the Cast page.
- Beach Episode: Not the beach, but the main cast goes camping at the lake.
- Better as Friends: At the beginning of their OAC year, Joe and Phoebe finally talk about what happened with Todd. Phoebe tells Joe that they would not have been right for each other as a couple; Joe agrees that they were better as friends. As a result, their friendship starts to mend.
- Blond Guys Are Evil: While not evil with a capital "E" Alan can be very selfish, especially where Joe is concerned. However, Alison would view Iain this way, no doubt.
- Bookworm: After Iain moves back to Australia, Alison took to reading advanced psychology textbooks, even during work.
- Brave Scot: Ceilidh, when she stopped Nancy's attacks on Joe in school after hours.
- Brick Joke: Phoebe tells Alan she thinks Ceilidh's a lesbian after an awkward exchange prompted by rumors about her sexuality; months later, Alan apologizes for giving Ceilidh a romantic token "before I found out...that you're a lesbian" and promptly gets drenched in punch.
- Broken Bird: Phoebe after her experiences with Todd and her broken friendship with Joe.
- Deirdre could also technically count for this, especially after her reveal.
- Bromantic Foil: Alan to Joe, especially when taking advantage of Joe's indecision over Helène; Alan started going out with her to become more popular.
- Canada, Eh?: Averted since the author was born and raised in Canada.
- Cannot Spit It Out: Joe's indecision kept him from confessing to Helène and Phoebe, not to mention inadvertently starting a relationship with Ceilidh.
- Caught in the Rain: After Ceilidh's Love Confession to Joe they both get rained on near Ceilidh's house. They go inside to dry off in her room, where Ceilidh decides to "bare her
breasts soul" to him.
- Character Development: Especially with the Drama Bombs used.
- Chekhov's Gunman: The bearded man trying to smoke at Hildegarde's Café is later revealed to be Joe's estranged father James Page. See The Reveal below.
- Chick Magnet: Iain. One instance of this infuriates Alison since she sees him as her Jungian shadow. She observes how easily he can fit in with others in general while she has to try much harder.
- Cliff Hanger: More often than not this happens in the Friday comic before the weekend break, leaving the reader in suspense until Monday.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Helène for Alan, albeit more clingy than jealous.
- Cool Big Sis: Deirdre.
- Cool Old Guy: Expect hilarity when you see Pol MacFarlane.
- Cool Old Lady:Maire MacFarlane, she's had her moments.
- Coming-of-Age Story
- Comically Missing the Point: Comic 2:84 has this.
- Curse Cut Short: Comic 1:141 does this.
- Deadpan Snarker:
- Dean Bitterman: Vice-Principal Harry Murdoch.
- Delinquents: In high school, Deirdre was rebellious and had a reputation of being a bully. Her boyfriend of the time also got her pregnant. After her miscarriage, her father helped her get into the University of Guelph to leave her past behind for a while. Deirdre blames herself for her parents' rocky marriage.
- Disappeared Dad: During Grade 9, Joe's father walks out on him and Hildegarde for a younger woman. Who he then walked out on for Melissa his sister-in-law.
- Does Not Like Men: Phoebe, which brings her sexuality into question for Ceilidh.
- Drama Bomb: This comic is practically synonymous with this trope.
- Dramatic Drop: Ceilidh drops a necklace when Alan calls her a lesbian, Joe drops a doughnut in Tim Hortons after Ceilidh's Love Confession.
- Fanwork Ban: Averted. Not only was the author very open about what fans sent him, he even encouraged adult artwork for the 200th strip celebration!
- Fiery Redhead: Pretty much all of the female members of the Bradley family.
- Filler Strips
- The First Cut Is the Deepest: Phoebe was so distraught after her relationship with Todd that she now despises all men.
- Flashback: One example of this is Ryan discussing Joe and Phoebe's history with Ceilidh.
- Four-Fingered Hands: Everyone is drawn with four fingers on their hands instead of five. This is lampshaded by Alan when he holds both hands up to indicate he bought five raffle tickets.
- From Bad to Worse: Some time after Patrick found out about Deirdre's pregnancy and cowardly ran away, she had a miscarriage.
- Geek: Ryan the "computer whiz," as said by Ceilidh. See Proud to Be a Geek below.
- Girlish Pigtails: Noelle, Pascale.
- Girl Next Door: Ceilidh is literally this to Joe after she moves to Avalon.
- Give Geeks a Chance: This trope works out a little differently: Ryan has a crush on Phoebe, but she threatened him with death after he asked her out. He then meets by chance her older sister Deirdre. After they have a talk about Phoebe, he attempts to talk to Phoebe again at Alison's New Year's Eve party. However, this once again fails and he eventually gives up. It isn't until some time later, also completely by chance, that an intimate relationship blossoms between him and Deirdre.
- The Glomp: Helène has done this to Alan at least once.
- Great Big Sea: Gets spoofed in the comic a few times. The author is also a fan of theirs.
- Guest Strip
- Halfway Plot Switch: At the end of the first year, Hildegarde opens up a coffee shop, and Alison begins to study psychiatry, which become their defining character traits; the Backstory Ryan gives Ceilidh turns early assumptions of the main cast on their heads, and piecing together the gaps becomes a major theme; the Mistaken for Gay subplot is (except for one Brick Joke and the finale) abruptly dropped; and the Bradleys and, to a lesser extent, Hildegarde graduate to the main cast.
- Halloween Episode: In Grades 12 and OAC, the main cast meet up at Hildegarde's Café in their costumes to go to a Hallowe'en party. In OAC year Phoebe wears the highland dancer costume that Ceilidh wore the previous Hallowe'en.
- He Who Must Not Be Seen: Deirdre's ex Patrick.
- High School
- Hooked Up Afterwards: At the end of the comic, Joe & Helène and Ceilidh & Phoebe.
- I Don't Want to Ruin Our Friendship: Joe feels this way towards Ceilidh.
- Informed Judaism: Alison tells Ceilidh at her first New Year's party with the main cast that she is Jewish. It is the only time this is explicitly acknowledged.
Ceilidh: ... But why are you eating the pork sausages?
Alison: Oh, trust me Ceilidh, whatever the heck these are made of, it ain't pork ...
- In-Series Nickname: "Feeb/Feebs" for Phoebe.
- Todd, Phoebe's OAC ex-boyfriend who abused and dumped Phoebe shortly after and started spreading rumours about her in school that she is gay. Joe soon reciprocated against Todd by pushing him down the stairs.
- Deirdre's ex Patrick from her high school days. She hooked up with him because she thought he was tough and a rebel like herself. However, after he got her pregnant and finding out about it, he turned out to be a coward and ran away, leaving Deirdre to deal with the pregnancy on her own. Unfortunately, it didn't end there: she had a miscarriage.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Joe pushing Todd down the stairs to "vent his frustrations" regarding his loss of Phoebe. The question is if Joe really knew what a Jerkass Todd was ...
- Lady in Red: Ceilidh wore a sleeveless red dress on her movie date with Joe. See She Cleans Up Nicely below.
- Land Down Under: Iain is Australian.
- Last Minute Hookup: Joe & Helène and Ceilidh and Phoebe at the comic's end.
- Let's Just Be Friends: When Joe breaks up with Ceilidh, telling her he thinks they would be Better as Friends, like they were before. He apologizes for lying to her about his true feelings; he only wanted her to be happy, which is why he went out with her in the first place.
- Little Miss Snarker: Ceilidh, Phoebe, Alison.
- Longing Look: In the school cafeteria Joe stares at Helène from across the room. His look is somewhat intense due to his contemplating how he turned out not asking her to the spring dance.
- Lovable Alpha Bitch: Helène.
- Love at First Sight: Alan becomes infatuated with Ceilidh upon their first meeting.
- Love Confession: Ceilidh invites Joe to meet her at Tim Hortons, where she asks him to "go steady" with her. Also Phoebe towards Ceilidh during grad night, who beforehand gives Ceilidh her First Kiss.
- Love Dodecahedron
- Love Letter Lunacy: At the beginning of the comic Ryan leaves a love letter in Ceilidh's locker. It is uncertain whether Ceilidh was relieved or insulted when Ryan informs her he put the letter in her locker by mistake. In Grade 12 Ceilidh finds another letter in her locker from her secret admirer, asking for them to meet and for her to wear the necklace.
- Meaningful Name: There are a few:
- Ceilidh in Gaelic means "an informal social gathering with folk music, singing, dancing, and storytelling."
- Deirdre is Irish, Gaelic, and possibly Celtic for "broken-hearted, sorrowful" and could also be translated as "fear" or "raging woman." Deirdre is also the name of one of the most famous women in Irish folklore, as a woman of great beauty with a tragic story; The Other Wiki describes it in detail.
- Ciaran is Gaelic for "little dark-haired one."
- Meaningful Rename: Phoebe and Ryan nickname themselves. Phoebe introduces herself to Ceilidh as "Feeb."
Phoebe: I hate "Fee-Bee!" Please call me "Feeb!"note
- Megane: Ryan.
- Meganekko: Phoebe, Ghada, Pascale.
- Mistaken for Gay: Alan to Ceilidh, which also results in her throwing a bowl of punch on him. However, this changes at the comic's end, when she enters a relationship with Phoebe.
- Moment Killer: After seeing the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Ceilidh mentions that they're both alone in the parking lot. As they are both about to share a kiss, Ceilidh slips on a patch of ice and hits her tailbone.
- Mouthful of Pi: The gang go to a Senators playoff game and bring something with them ...
Sports Announcer: ... And a group of fans seem to have brought a banner which reads the value of "pi," accurate to 40 decimals ...
- Necktie Leash: Ceilidh does this to Joe while inviting him to her house. Nancy also does this to Alan but in a more threatening manner.
- New Transfer Student: Iain, who transferred from Australia as a foreign exchange student during Grade 12. Ceilidh was a New Transfer Student at the beginning of the webcomic.
- New Year Has Come: In Grades 11 an 12 the gang has a New Year's Eve party at Alison's, and drama doesn't take a break for holidays.
- Oblivious Younger Sibling: Noelle.
- Official Couple: Ryan and Deirdre.
- Overly Long Gag: Alan and Ryan insulting each other. Initially as a Running Gag in 1:96, it gets pulled off very well as a funny Overly Long Gag since this is used as a recurring Funny Background Event for the rest of the week.
- Please Dump Me: Alan towards Helène.
- The Protagonist: Ceilidh.
- Proud to Be a Geek: Ryan, as Ceilidh learns from Joe:
Ceilidh: Oh, come on, that's mean.
Um, Ceilidh, that's what he called himself
. We had more colourful nicknames for him.
- Rapunzel Hair: Deirdre and Helène (when the latter's grows back from the "chewing gum incident").
- Deirdre is even able to braid hers in eight seconds or less due to not having it cut for twenty years. Observe comic 2:47.
- The Reveal
- Remember the bearded guy trying to light up at Hildegarde's and driving Alison insane? He's Joe's father Jimmy Page! Officially his name on the cast page is James Page. This took Alison - and the readers - by total surprise. In retrospect there is a Strong Family Resemblance between them. The beard throws you off.
- "Thanks" to Phoebe, she reveals Deirdre's secret to Ryan about Deirdre's pregnancy with her Jerkass ex-boyfriend Patrick back from her high school days.
- After Phoebe's Jerkass ex-boyfriend Todd abused her, cruelly broke up with her and spread rumours about her, he soon showed up at school wearing a neckbrace and casts. How this happened? Joe confesses to Ceilidh that he pushed him down the stairs.
- In the text ending Ceilidh tells Joe that she was the one who talked Helène into tutoring Joe for final exams, admitting that "Helène would probably be better for him than she ever was."
- Running Gag: On the first day of school for Grades 11 and 12, someone points out to Ceilidh that a dryer sheet is stuck to the back of her vest. For OAC year, Ceilidh just outright brings it herself. She gives it to Phoebe as a symbolic gesture for a fresh start. Also see Overly Long Gag above.
- Sadist Teacher: Mr. Corner, the chemistry teacher.
- Schoolgirl Lesbians: Ceilidh and Phoebe at the comic's end.
- Scotland: Ceilidh's parents immigrated from Scotland to Canada.
- Second Love: Deirdre for Ryan, and vice versa.
- Secret Relationship: Ryan and Deirdre for a good portion of the comic.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: When Joe picks up Ceilidh for their movie date, he sees her in her sleeveless red dress. Joe is floored at the change.
- Previously in the comic Joe commented to Ceilidh (wearing a black turtleneck and plaid skirt at the time) how rare it is for her to wear skirts aside from her uniform.
- Ceilidh mistakenly wears a more formal sleeveless red dress to Alison's New Year's party during Grade 11. When Ceilidh voices her misjudgement about this, Joe insinuates that this is not such a bad thing "in retrospect."
- She Is Not My Girlfriend: Comic 1:64 was the first instance where the possibility of Ceilidh liking Joe was brought up:
Alison: I think you like him!
Ceilidh: Oh, God no
! It's not like that!
- Comic 1:78 has Ceilidh denying this again to Alison; in 1:79 Alison makes another insinuation which is Played for Laughs:
Alison: I heard you and Phoebe had something going on ...
Ceilidh: There's nothing between Phoebe and I! We just talked!!
Alison: (raises eyebrow) Are you sure you're having guy troubles, Ceilidh?
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: When Ceilidh's efforts to win over Iain remained fruitless, she turns her attentions to Joe. This trope also applies to Deirdre towards Ryan.
- Sleep Learning: Joe dreams of Geddy Lee quizzing him on the following day's history exam, despite Joe's protestations that he wanted to sleep.
- Slice of Life
- Supporting Protagonist: Ceilidh got accusations of this in the second and "third" years, when the other characters' family strife and the consequences of their shared Backstory began to drive the strip.
- Student Council President: Joe ran for election in Grade 11. At the podium on the school stage he started reciting the "I Am Canadian" speech until he was interrupted by Alan.
- Sympathetic Adulterer: Jim Page is a curious case in that he had his reasons for pursuing an affair (namely feeling that his marriage to Hildegard wasn't genuine due to never really getting over his first love Melissa, Hildegard's sister), but doesn't sugarcoat his actions, and calls leaving his family the worst mistake he ever made in his life.
- Take Back Your Gift: While they weren't going out - although it almost happened! - Ceilidh takes off the necklace to return it to Alan. He was actually okay with it since he is now under the assumption that she is a lesbian. Ceilidh drops the necklace in shock.
- Teen Drama: Boy, is there ever!
- Temporary Love Interest: Ceilidh gets an unrequited crush on Iain upon their first meeting. Eventually Iain moves back to Australia when the school year ends, and nothing happens between them.
- Tim Hortons: Much takes place here, especially after Deirdre gets a job there. There's even a Story Arc called "How Coffee and Doughnuts Destroyed My Life."
- Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Deirdre is very noticeably taller than Ryan, by about half a head.
- Tomboy: Ceilidh tends to dress more casually and be overly aggressive when challenged, especially by Joe. Noelle can also qualify.
- Title Confusion: Josh Phillips could not obtain Avalon.Com to host his comic, and thus spent much time over the life of the strip explaining that the title was not, in fact, Avalon High, it's just the closest he could get.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Ceilidh and Alison in the first few months, when the latter was more innocent and Phoebe hadn't yet supplanted her as the former's primary Foil.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Alison got noticeably more arrogant and full of herself as the strip progressed.
- Was It All a Lie?: See Let's Just Be Friends above.
- We Used to Be Friends: in Grade 9 Joe had feelings for Phoebe but did not act on them due to uncertainty if his feelings would be reciprocated. Phoebe started going out with Todd at the same time Alan started seeing Helène. As a result, Joe felt abandoned and his friendship with Phoebe was changed.
- Wham Arc: Love and War, part 2, where Ryan and Deidre's relationship is fully revealed including the fact that it's progressed to sleeping with each other, the specifics of Deidre's history with Todd and how it tore up the Bradley family, and Phoebe finally learns about both what Ceilidh and Joe have done for her.
- Will They or Won't They?: Joe and Ceilidh throughout most of the comic's run.
- Wooden Katanas Are Even Better: Nancy ambushes Joe in the halls after school hours.
- You Didn't Ask: Ceilidh finally learns the identity of her secret admirer at Hildegarde's Café — from Alison, who admitted witnessing Alan leaving the necklace in her tent.
Ceilidh: And you didn't tell me??
Alison: I thought you knew already! I mean, you never asked.