LNH: LNH Fifth Anniversary Special TEB
arspitzer at earthlink.net
Sun Apr 29 10:01:52 PDT 2007
Happy 15th Anniversary LNH...
Here's what LNH Authors and Readers had
to say about the 5th Anniversary...
From: Jeff Barnes <dri... at precisionet.net>
Subject: [LNH] LNH Fifth Anniversary Special, Part #1
Message-ID: <336CE23E.3323 at precisionet.net>
Sender: e... at windlord.Stanford.EDU
X-Date: Sun, 04 May 1997 15:23:42 -0400
Organization: Drizzts 'R' Us
Reply-To: dri... at precisionet.net
INTRODUCTION (by Jeff Barnes)
Wow. Five years.
Doesn't seem like it could possibly five years since the
LNH started. Or four and a half years since a certain over-eager
college student started writing a somewhat excrable piece of work
he called CRY.SIG. It's been a fun ride. Ups and downs, but
I suppose I could go on and on, but I'd rather leave that
to my collaborators. Suffice it to say that today, May 3, is the
LNH's official anniversary. Happy birthday, Legion of Net.Heroes!
And that's why you're reading this little post right now.
I decided it might be a cool idea to get some of the past and
present LNHers to write about the LNH on its fifth anniversary.
In typical LNH fashion, about one third agreed to do it -- then
never did. One person fell off the 'net for a while (hi, Rob!).
But the six who did reply with essays have their works showcased
here for posterity. Or, at least, for poor, demented future
So, with no further ado, here's our first writer:
DAVE VAN DOMELEN
I've been part of the LNH almost since its beginning, arriving
online mere weeks after the whole thing got started...and right in
the middle of the launching of the first real storyline. I
remember what it was like before alt.comics.lnh was deluged with
spam...I remember what it was like before there was an
alt.comics.lnh...I remember what it was like before there was SPAM!
Gods, I feel old. Why, back in my day we had a couple loons with
boilerplates on Bolsheviks, Turks and Holocaust Revisionism, and
that was it.
We've gone from the madcap add-on where no one much cared
about continuity, character ownership, spelling, grammar, logic,
little things like that, to the current setup where I can honestly
say a lot of LNH work out there is better than the stuff I see in
real comics. Then again, I do read a lot of bad comics.
The LNH didn't save my life, or drastically change it, but it
certainly made things more interesting. Here's to another five
years <sudden sound of the Cliche Police breaking down the door and
hauling Dave away.>
Sometime in 1989, I first ran across Sunrise's Kei and Yuri from
the Dirty Pair. A black and white GIF used as a background for a Sun
workstation interested me enough to find who were these two girls and why
did they have such big eyes?
A trip to a comic store turned up Adam Warren and Toren Smith's
comic - which introduced me to rec.arts.anime. An advertisement in the
comic told me about Appleseed and Dominion. Frustrated by the long wait
until the next issue of Dirty Pair came out, I bought my first issue of
Dominion. It wasn't the first issue - but it featured two characters that
I've been influenced by ever since. I'm referring to Annapuna and Unipuma.
At the same time, anxious to see more of the Dirty Pair, I bought
my first Japanese laser disks. Unfortunately, Animagic, the company that I
was buying the disks from, didn't have the Dirty Pair disks in yet - so I
added the first Dominion disk because I liked the comic and it was cheap.
(This was long before any translated video was available in America.
Dominion had failed to make much of a splash in Japan.)
This was the first disk that arrived on my player. Watching the
antics of Annapuna and Unipuma - catgirls with guns - on the screen, I
sorta fell in love with catgirls and anime.
This was about the same time that, I first became interested in
role-playing. I had read a few of the D&D rule books and begun to read the
rec.games.frp newsgroup. In October 1990, Jim Gaynor was setting up a
PBEM Shadowrun game - and Yukipuma, a character I had created, based on
Masamune Shirow's Annapuna, was accepted.
But for one reason or another, the PBEM game's start was
delayed. I was reading alt.cyberpunk for background and ideas - and in
November 1990, Phyllis Rostykus (who was also in the PBEM game) was
arguing that interfacing with the world of virtual reality could be
created with text and words - that it did not need head plugs and direct
brain wiring to be effective. She demonstrated her argument with a short
third-person description. Others picked up her thread to the point that
they were forcibly asked to leave the alt.cyberpunk newsgroup. It was at
this point that alt.cyberpunk.chatsubo was created.
I moved with the group to alt.cyberpunk.chatsubo. Jim Gaynor's
PBEM game was still on hold so I began to consider what my character's
background might be like. I created a copy of Yukipuma, called her Nekoko,
introduced her into the world of alt.cyberpunk.chatsubo and wrote
in-character observations to other people's comments. At this time,
alt.cyberpunk.chatsubo was a form of chat-room like alt.callahans - with
people posting discussions and comments. But late in November 1990, I
posted a protest against the stream of people describing themselves as
chrome superhumans, augmented with every cyber-thing in the book and twice
as mean as a junkdog. I illustrated my protest with a short story showing
my character's overcoming her problems with brains, not the use of massive
Carl Rigney (who was also in the PBEM game) quickly posted a
response that took my story from a remembrance to an ongoing storyline. I
added to the story and Nekoko's Story was born. Nekoko's Story ran for
about a year in eighteen parts. As I wrote, other people added to the
story or began their own. alt.cyberpunk.chatsubo moved from a virtual bar
to a place to post cyberpunk fiction.
I think Nekoko's Story is where I learned a lot about writing. It
taught me about pacing, mood, point of view, and those other tools that
the writer uses to create fiction. Some of the early parts were discarded
and rewritten several times. But I will never forget the fun in working
with others across the country on parts of the story - or watching other
people take and expand parts of the storyline.
However, in the summer of 1991, I began to become dissatisfied
with the cyberpunk genre. Too many of the stories were violent and
depressing. Other stories featured more of those invincible chrome
supermen, mowing down their opponents in one easy sweep of their
mini-guns. I ended the Nekoko storyline with my cat-girl disappearing into
the shadows and began to look around.
Annapuna and Unipuma had led to an interest in other catgirls.
Feral in X-Force and Pantha in DC's New Titans had led to an interest in
American comics. To find more catgirls, I began to read
rec.arts.comics. Then, one day, a group of posters created the Legion of
On how Panta came to be...
I had not intended to write for the Legion of Net.Heroes when it
first came out; I was amused by the stories in rec.arts.comics. When
alt.comics.lnh was created, I followed the stories to the new newsgroup.
It was around this time that I was becoming frustrated in how Pantha was
being used in the New Titans. Feral was being slowly turned into a monster
in X-Force by a writer and an editor who found her an embarassing leftover
from Rob Liefeld.
'Panta' was created when I decided that I could show how a catgirl
could be written; she would be interesting, intelligent, fun, powerful
without being a Wolverine clone and let me have fun with the other
wonderful characters being created on alt.comics.lnh.
At this time, all the main characters on alt.comics.lnh were
Writer Characters - designed as if the writer had given some form of,
often silly, superpower. Panta was one of the first created to tell a
story. Panta was not a Writer Character - which caused some confusion at
first. It was only later that I found a quote that best expressed who
'"A novel may be said to be the man who writes it. Now it
is always true that a novelist, perhaps unconsciously, identifies
himself with one chief or central figure in his novel. Into this
character he puts not what he thinks he is, but what he hopes to
be. We call this spokesman the self-character. You will find one in
every one of my books and in the novels of everyone I can remember."
John Steinbeck, Letter to Chase Horton, April 26, 1957, printed in
his 'The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights'.
Panta is my self-character - not me, but the one who's hopes, dreams and
thoughts, I could identify with. Panta herself used this quote in Tales of
the LNH #299 as she applied for LNH membership.
Panta had leopard's fur because I found the idea of orange and
black spots on a female body visually interesting. It also made sure that
she would not violate anyone's copyright; Cheetah (tm, DC) and Cheetah
(tm, Fred Perry) were based on cheetahs, Tigra (tm, Marvel), on tigers and
the others on lions. The name 'Panta' came from shortening 'Pantha'; it
also described the effect of her sexy body on fanboys. (Pant, pant,
She was designed as sexy to relieve pressure on Lurking Girl - who
already had one or two sexual harassing scenes written about her. But
Panta was given enough strength that any writer that did misuse Panta
would have their Writer Character soundly beaten up in a following
story. However, this did not help her when the infamous Woody Scandal
popped up a month or two later.
Panta was introduced in a short writeup along with Lost Cause Boy
and Kid Anarky. The three were quickly bound into a single storyline that
became known as the Integrity Quest - the search for a writer with
integrity. Next came a limited series starring the leopard girl. Finally,
Panta moved into the 'Tales of the Legion of Net.Heroes,' where she is
On writing Panta
Writing for a parody of superheroes allows a lot of freedom.
Panta's stories have taken her from space to the sub-sub-sub basements
below the Legion of Net.Heroes Headquarters building. Any genre, any
setting, any time is available to the leopard girl for an
adventure. Panta's fought Nazis, Marvel Stormtroopers and a god or
two. She's been in a feudal background, fighting fanboys and
alt.fan.bugtown. I've used Star Wars, the Terminator and Indiana Jones as
source ideas; there are many more places to go and things to do.
I've been inspired by my anger at many of the follies that have
beset comics in America today - speculators, editors who let their best
writers go over ego problems, storylines written for fanboys, bad girl
art, the collapse of comic companies. Each has started a Panta story arc.
I've found that I enjoy writing; when things go well, there's a
movie going on in my head. As the story unwinds - it is all I can do to
type out the words into the computer. The problem is not what to write;
it's how to best bring the action, the dialogue, the mood and feeling to
It's said that comedy is hard. I agree. I wanted to keep Panta a
light-hearted look at comics - with serious moments from time to time. I
have to work to keep my writing from becoming too serious.
One of the things I've enjoyed most is working with other writers
on a storyline. Integrity Quest was great because I never knew what Doug
Wojtowicz (Lost Cause Boy) or Stephane Savoie (Kid Anarky) would come up
with. Working with Ken Schmidt (Kid G) resulted in great scenes like the
road trip to Net.braska and Panta's emotional breakdown after the
announcement of Pocket Man's wedding. Just as much fun was actually
meeting some of the writers on the LNH - Jeff McCoskey and Paul Hardy as
Paul took his long tour of the States. I wish there was a chance to meet
more - including those in Australia and New Zealand.
Speaking of the antipodes, it's interesting to realize that 'Tales
of the LNH' has a wider distribution than many mainstream comics. I've
gotten comments from places I'd never thought would be reading about
Panta. It's made me begin to write for an international audience. (Things
like writing measurements in meterics as well as the old English system.)
On Panta's future...
When I wrote the first story under the 'Tales of the Legion of
Net.Heroes', I set the issue number to #278. The number comes from the
license plate on my Landcruiser. It is also the number of my favorite
steam engine, Denver, Rio Grande and Western #278, a narrow gauge 2-8-0 in
Colorado. I wanted to reflect the idea that the LNH book had been running
for a long while; I was now the new writer on the book. At that time, I
thought it would be neat to actually write a hundred issues of
'Tales'. The current issue is #358 - another 20 odd issues and my goal
will be met. After that, I'm not sure. 'Tales of the LNH' is one of the
longer running series in the LNH imprint. Two of the story arcs I'm
considering include a trip to ancient Japan with Ultimate Ninja and a
story with multiple Pantas.
Some people have wondered why I don't do much self-promotion. I
prefer to let the stories stand for themselves. I don't write previews
either; the subject of the stories often change from week to week.
Like one or two other writers for the Legion of Net.Heroes, I've
had a story published and distributed in a nationally distributed comic.
This is a feeling that is hard to describe - seeing the book with your
story in it on the 'This Week's Comics' shelf at your local comics store.
If anyone is really interested in looking it up, it's a two page story
that I wrote and drew for 'MechANImoids', starring Jeff Wood's Snobunni
and published by MU Press in 1994. My art work has improved since then.
I should point out that I picked out the title 'Tales of the LNH'
based on an old Marvel or DC comic. It was only fifteen issues or so later
that I realized that it was also a pun - Panta being one of the few
Net.Legionaires with a tail!
Okay, so it's 3:00 am sunday, and I'm supposed to get this in to
Jeff (Drizzt) by sunday afternoon, so I'm working on my usual schedule.
(Although if Jeff is smart he'll have said Sunday afternoon meaning Monday
Night. But I digress...).
So, A discussion of the LNH from my point of view. My memories
are poor at best. But let's try...
September, 1992: Having just made my way into university (Acadia,
Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada), I was shown the wonders of the 'net. And
even before I'ld used email, I discovered alt.comics.lnh (It was high up
on the list (starting with "a") of newsgroups which sounded interesting
(ie comics related). But I was DARNED if I could stand what "lnh" stood
for!) The FAQ said you should contact one of the Main Guys if interested
(Drizzt, wReam, or Scavenger), so I mailed Scav (he having just posted a
story, I think. Or something.)
Man I pity him.
I had a barely structured concept. I was still trying to think of
a net.persona (trying for a play on words off my name (Savoie can be
broken into "Sa voie" in French, or "his/her voice") can coming up with
something lame involving Sonics. I can't really remember. Then this
transformed into Kid Anarky somehow...
(At this point Anarky had been introduced in Batman that summer,
and looked like a one-shot villain. So I figured no-one would see that
theft of intellectual property. I'ld also seen a Fantagraphic comic
called Kid Anarchy which I thought was excellent, a semi-autobiographical
book of a kid in a small town with the trademark "A in a circle" on his
shirt. THAT was the extent of his connection to anarchy. The concept
still appeals to me a lot. (2 issues were produced). I ended up buying
them much later)
The concept for Kid A was simple enough: A character with sonic
powers (I have NO idea why called Kid Anarky) is depressed by the
darkening of his universe (The vertigo line had just been created for DC,
with many books getting correspondingly darker), and maked it to a
brighter place, where he can only use his powers to create big visible
sound effects (that maybe he can hit people with?).
Well, that went over like a lead baloon. People just didn't care.
(Note the number of appearanced of Kid A not in Integrity Quest.)
BUT, this wierd "story" me and two other guys were constructing
seemed to be coming along nicely... (To me Integrity Quest (as I ended up
calling it) is the penultimate LNH story, with each writer wondering what
the heck the next would do, no-one consulting the other, people just
posting chapters when they felt like it. And it worked, I think. Mostly.
I apologize to Hubert for posting one chapter despite having seen his
draft for the same part.
And I think Doug was drunk when he wrote the "woody" post.
(Wow, I'm doing pretty well for parenthese. Hard to return to the
main point when there isn't one tho.)
SO, we wrapped up Integrity Quest, I christened the team the
Net.Patrol (being a HUGE Grant Morrison fan, and he was wrapping up his
run on Doom Patrol), and never did another story. Sigh. Almost. But
I did my short "Vertical Plain" mini (which is a play on Vertigo
Plane, as in his home dimension), which I meant to do several of, the
first being Ascent to Nothing, followed by Progress in Limbo or Descent
into All or something like that. VP was cool at the time since it
integrated many of the going-on of the LNH of the time (ie very
contemporary), but this makes it almost impossible to read later.
(By this point I thought I knew what Kid A's problem was: LNHers
work best when they represent some kind of Comics Cliche. So I made Kid A
a herald (in the Galactus sense, which is to say "incarnation" or
"representative") of Chaos (er K.Oss, whatever), a cliche in the extreme.
SO much for that theory.
I also planned to have a big culmination where Me and Kid A sit
around talking a-la AnimalMan #26 and Kid A berates me for doing this
story idea, since he knows he's a fictional character already (as all
LNHers did. When the writer wanted them to), reducing this potentally
poignant scene to pure ego-stroking on my part. ûI still regret nto
So, that's MY story. I dropped out of the runnings after my 2nd
year of university (not that it helped my grades; by then I had discovered
MUDing), and haven't recovered since.
And now the LNH has moved to RACC, where it's been somewhat
depersonalised I think. The LNH alone use to be able to support an entire
(semi-non-existant) newsgroup after all, and I KNEW everyone who posted
there. I miss that...
And I miss the talk of the LNH T-shirt, the LNHcon (to happen
somwhere near Chicago, as I recall), and such.
But I did get to meet Martin Phipps (who produced the most
phenomenal quantity of writing you'd ever imagine... (not to be confused
with "the most phenomenal writing...", but that's a seperrate essay.))
once when I visited Montreal (summer of 93). I kind of invited myself to
sleep at his place, and I do feel bad for that...
And now... I'm trying to hard to get back into writing, but
there's just no time...I can't put in the high caliber of slacking I once
did... I have enough material for about 10 issues of NWO: 2012, a couple
of Insanity Watch stories, and a new Vertical Plain mini... but how?
And of course, the fact that there are actually now some very
talented writers producing for RACC... it seems pointless to put out my
little vignettes. I'm not a writer after all, I still write the same now
as when I started, and don't see myself improving.
Ah well. I shouldn't end this missive on a downer, so I'll
mention that I applaud the young scrappers who'll actually take up the
fight and put out something for this crusty old label instead of starting
their own. I've read quite a bit of it, and the energy and enthusiasm
(Ironically enough, whenever I get the urge to write LNH stories
now, I'll usually read some new existing stories instead, and the urge
goes away. Probably some kind of self-preservation instinct)
So I go, but I'll always wear my label (not the "freak" one, the
"LNHer" one) with pride. Part of it is the pride of knowing that someone,
somewhere, years from now, could accidentally read Integrity Quest, and
"What the HELL is this?!"
The which I answer: What the hell... indeed.
("Praise comedy!" suddenly comes to mind, but since the line is "Praise
conflict!" I can't really use that.)
This might sound funny coming from me. After all, I have a reputation, or
had a reputation, as the defender of all that's serious in the LNH. Dove
head first into a few heated debates over that a while back, and ended up
moving most of my writing out of the LNH when I concluded that I couldn't
write what I wanted to in the same universe as Cheesecake-Eater Lad.
(Of course, I don't have much of a reputation for anything at all any
more, probably, given that I seem to have turned into the Bird Behind The
Curtain who makes things happen and doesn't say much. Hmm. Someday must
do something about that.)
See, I was under the impression that I really wanted to write serious
stories. And, by and large, I still do, if mostly because the characters
who have asked me to write stories about them are fairly serious ones. In
most of the stories that come to mind, humor plays a fairly incidental
role. ("Hey, what about us!" Yes, yes, I know, I'm getting to you, just
In watching racc since its inception, and alt.comics.lnh before that, I've
found that this is actually fairly typical, or at least not uncommon. A
lot of people seem to strongly prefer serious writing to comedy. At the
same time, most people greatly appreciate good comedy. There are a few
reasons for this, I think.
The main one is, let's face it, it's easier to write serious fiction than
it is to write comedy. Mediocre serious writing is still enjoyable to
some extent. It's still at least readable even if it's off. Mediocre
comedy, on the other hand, is...well, let's face it. Mediocre comedy is
BAD. Comedy that misses is rather worse than serious scenes that miss. I
think this is a lot of the reason why people don't write more comedy,
don't try comedy, or stick to serious writing. I *wish* I could be Ben
Brown, who can come up with gags that are actually funny pretty much off
the top of his head (and we've hung out together in person, and it's not
just on-line that he can do that), but I'm not. It takes a good, solid
year for enough ideas for a comedy episode to really gel for me. Or
I can read sweeping arcs of Omega crossovers and think "hmm...yeah, I can
come up with ideas like that and maybe pull them off." I read Punk with a
Gun and think "this is inspired brilliance that I couldn't have come up
with in a million years."
The other major reason for the heavy emphasis on serious writing is the
inherent appeal of epic mystery. By mystery, I don't mean discovering who
killed the heir of the Pengrass Estate while she sat reading in her locked
bedroom. I mean something more like, well, this:
Finally, the door irised open, disturbing the thick layer of dust
covering the floor and filling the air with dancing particles
caught in the beams of their flashlights, and beyond was utter
dark. Slowly, they stepped forward, shining light around, but the
beams were swallowed and crushed by the sheer depth of the
blackness. And then, as one of the intrepid explorers leaned on
the wall to look out through the door, there was a metallic clunk
so deep it could be felt in one's bones, and suddenly there was
light. They stood, together, in awe, looking out into an
emptiness that could hold some cities, at a starship hanging
motionless in space.
That sort of mystery. The "what is it, where did it come from, what can
it do, and how can we find out more about it" type of mystery. The sort
of mystery that keeps one reading, episode after episode, for more to be
revealed. In short, the good, old, time-honored sense of wonder.
You really can't do that in comedy. Sure, you could take that scene and
drop it straight *into* a comedy, but you aren't, as a rule, going to be
able to pull off pure sense of wonder in a satisfying fashion when people
are laughing at it. At best, you can do incidental humor in the midst of
an otherwise serious piece, which isn't hte same.
And, furthermore, the above scene came to me in about five minutes.
Trying to find a way to make it funny would take me days, if not more.
And I don't think I'm alone in that.
Now you might be wondering at this point what I'm rambling on about,
especially since the LNH is a comedy imprint primarily. Well, it so
happens that just recently I've had occasion to gain new appreciation for
comedy. The circumstances are long and involved, and I won't get into
them except to mention that angst is the mind-killer, the little death....
Er...sorry. Anyway, I've been going back and looking at how important a
role the LNH really does play here in racc, since the LNH is the primary,
established humor imprint.
And we definitely need that. We need what the LNH has provided faithfully
for all these years, the balance to all of the epic drama and stunning
adventure. The realization that someone, somewhere, there is someone who
finds all of this hilarious. That there are people whose reaction to
danger and mystery is not appropriate awe but irreverant commentary. And
just more generally the realization that epic dramas have to be scattered
with some parts that *aren't* epic, just like life.
What's more, the realization that comedy is hard makes it all the more
appreciated. And means that it's even more vital that there be a place
where people can *try*. Sure, a lot of the gags fall flat, but like
everything else it takes practice. Sure, parts of the LNH backstory
aren't particularly funny at all, but that's because a lot of it was
*written* as practice. And through all of that emerges a few wonderful,
shining moments of brilliance. "DINSDALE!"
There are also lessons that serious writing can learn from comedy, one of
the most important of which is that explaining too much is worse than not
explaining at all. Everyone is aware instinctively that jokes lose all
their amusement when explained. The concept of comedic timing, which is
what explanation destroys, is vital. But this is true of mystery as well;
the person writing about long-lost spaceships is treading that thin line
between revealing enough to keep the reader interested and not revealing
the entire story and having the reader go "huh, that's all?". This
balancing act has more in common with comedic timing than I think most
So here's to the LNH, which has for years endured scorn, ridicule, and
lack of appreciation from people like my younger self, has steadfastly
endured despite occasional attempts to tell stories in it that really
didn't fit, and which has, through it all, provided us with our dose of
humor, some of it very bad, some of it occasionally brilliant. Here's to
Long live Cheesecake-Eater Lad!
 Punk with a Gun is a very early Superguy title. It's also a
character in the Superguy universe. It's the joint responsibility of
Ben Brown and Rob Furr, better known in most circles as the Furr/Brown
Gestalt. Read it. It's funny.
 <URL:http://www.eyrie.org/cgi-bin/autocollect.cgi> and search for
"Punk with a Gun".
 Legion of Occult Heroes. Read it too. Paul Hardy is sorely missed.
Jeff Barnes dri... at precisionet.net
Software Engineer, Alydaar Software http://www.eyrie.org/~drizzt/
"There are three types of people in this world: those who are good at
math, and those who aren't."
From: Ken Schmidt <t... at eyrie.org>
Subject: Re: [LNH] LNH Fifth Anniversary Special, Part #1
Message-ID: <5kjml3$aq5 at eyrie.org>#1/1
Sender: e... at windlord.Stanford.EDU
References: <336CE23E.3323 at precisionet.net>
X-Date: 4 May 1997 21:11:15 -0700
Organization: The Eyrie
>However, this did not help her when the infamous Woody Scandal
>popped up a month or two later.
This line got me to thinking. It got me thinking that either Hubert was
going for a very randy pun, or he didn't think about what he was typing. ;)
(Good job Hubert:)
>Working with Ken Schmidt (Kid G) resulted in great scenes like the
>road trip to Net.braska and Panta's emotional breakdown after the
>announcement of Pocket Man's wedding.
Working with Hubert made the Kid G and Panta story turn from a decent
idea with middling writing into the story found in LNHCP Special #3.
If you liked the idea behind the story, that was mostly me. If you
liked the way the phrasing of the story conveyed the ideas, that
is mostly Hubert.
Hubert's writing is one of the things that settled my mind to
try writing for the LNH again. (Not the only one, but I'm not bring up the
other reasons for fear of embarrasing them ;)
Ms. Fike sums up in her essay a reason why I stopped and dropped
from the LNH a few years back (not the only one, but one of them).
The LNH stopped being a group of people I knew, or in some cases
wanted to know. A few things I witnessed between people collaborating
(well, at least writing in a shared looniverse) just turned me off to
the place. I couldn't believe the people I thought I knew would
act like that. And it seemed to have caught on in the mindset of
the time, back when I stopped paying attention to stories.
I admit I kept reading all of the non-story threads because that
is what I enjoyed most about aclnh, knowing the people behind the stories
that made me laugh or smile.
I still shake my head at everyone who stopped reading aclnh who
considers themself a 'regular' of the Looniverse. I couldn't
believe my eyes when this post was not on aclnh while it was here.
I know the big complaint/reason behind dropping aclnh is that
there is too much spam vs. content on the newsgroup.
You want to know something?
I don't blame the spammer-side of this equation.
From: Jeff McCoskey <j... at ix.netcom.com>
Subject: [LNH] LNH Fifth Anniversary Special, Part #1.5
Message-ID: <5l8u8b$7cu at sjx-ixn5.ix.netcom.com>#1/1
Sender: e... at windlord.Stanford.EDU
References: <336CE23E.3323 at precisionet.net> <5kjml3$aq5 at eyrie.org>
X-Date: Tue, 13 May 1997 05:24:37 GMT
X-Netcom-Date: Mon May 12 10:29:47 PM PDT 1997
Well, as one of the many unfulfilled promisors of a contribution, my idea is
better late than never right? Besides, by billing myself as 1.5, I'll get
archived in the middle, and years later, no one will be the wiser! Give
me a minute to cackle at my own genius, and I'll be right with you...
I can't even remember what it was about those initials that brought a
curious post- Desert Storm, post- GA Tech MSEE Intel newbie to the group.
At the time, my most recent comics experience was the Morrison _Animal
Man_ (but be fair -- how could you go back to comics after that run?), and
I was much more interested (net-wise speaking) in motorcycles,
Libertarianism, hockey, board games, and pulp magazines.
Maybe I was between compiles, maybe I'd temporarily exhausted
rec.motorcycles (yeah, right), hell maybe it was that synchronicity thing
we hear so much about. There near the top of the alt.* heirarchy it sat
-- shy, unassuming, yet playfully ambiguous. I took a dip. Only recently
came up for air.
Others of much greater pedigree have hinted at the chaos, cooperation and
comraderie of the early years. I was just too late for all that, but I
could still catch it in reposts. The funny thing was, that despite its
hopelessly amateur execution, underneath it all was the whimsy, wonder and
joy of the best of my old comics-fan memories. Without the pollution and
pornography the industry had since fallen into. I was hooked. And not a
little "outside looking in."
My first offering was _Agent of PULP_, in homage to my fondest
hobby. Everyone was having such a good time with each other, I didn't want
to crash the party uninvited, so I figured a tangential entry was
best. Plus I _really_ wanted to write pulp. To say it vanished without a
trace is untrue: I got hate mail. Had it been from Drizzt, dvandom,
Martin or wReam I may not have come back, ignorant as I was of the tongue-
in-cheek nature of the Council of Elders. But it wasn't, so I pressed
onward, content for a time to speak quietly into the din, damn the critics
full speed ahead.
I found I loved it, the writing. Then Ken Schmidt (who I considered a
contemporary, since he started posting after I started reading) called to
arms, and I answered. Though he was probably ignorant of me, I considered
him a member of my freshman class, so if he could, why not me? Many works
of comedy/tragedy/adventure/homage/romance and of course pulp later, I
looked back and saw fulfilled something I hadn't know was missing.
Since then, I have assumed command of a CAV Troop, been promoted away from
free time, and become a father. Though I may be strained to breaking and
burning at both ends, I still find time to scan RACC. I still get charged
with plots and characters begging for release. And by God I'll still do
the rACCIES. ;]
Thanks everyone for all the crossovers that made this more community than
creation: Drizzt, Jaelle, Chad, Jameel, Tick, Badge, The Retcon Hour
Singers, the EEPSIODSRC clan and the OMEGA rag-time band. Thanks
especially to the friends I've met here: Hubert, Marc, Badge, Chris,
Martin, Drizzt, and Dave who may not consider me close but who picks out
way too many of my hidden teasers to not have some sort of empathy. And
thanks to LNH/RACC for making me notice that hidden behind the mega-tits
and gore, good comics were still being made. Both on and off the Net.
Most of all, thanks Ken, for calling me out of the corner.
My command ends in a year or so. I'll be back. The stories we've
awakened aren't content to stay asleep for another 30 years. Be afraid ;]
From: Marc Singer <m... at wam.umd.edu>
Subject: Re: [LNH] LNH Fifth Anniversary Special, Part #1
Message-ID: <5kmh4j$4ck at rac6.wam.umd.edu>#1/1
Sender: e... at windlord.Stanford.EDU
References: <336CE23E.3323 at precisionet.net>
X-Date: 6 May 1997 01:55:31 -0400
Organization: University of Maryland, College Park
A few words from outside Net.ropolis...
I realize that anniversaries are the perfect times for the original
writers to get back together and reminisce, but I wanted to say something
about the "latecomers" as well.
I'm a true latecomer, a very-latecomer, a later-than-latecomer, because
I've never written a word for the LNH and I quite possibly never will.
But I read lots of it avidly. I discovered the LNH well after its
creation, in spring 1994, when some of the stories were still getting
crossposted to rec.arts.comics.misc (back in those halcyon days when such
an act wouldn't get you three dozen automated net.coppings from the
irascible cartoon characters who now dwell there). I found serious
stories and humorous ones, old series and new ones, and in time I even
found series that started after I'd begun reading. I also found that I
was enjoying some of these series a lot more than most of the comics I was
actually *buying*. And here you were making this fantastic stuff for
I had no idea who the originals and who the newcomers were, of course; I
only saw quality. And lots of it. From my very beginning -- around the
time Pliable Lad fought Jestalt, I believe -- to a brilliant Marvin and
Wendy parody, to a brilliant Silver Age gorillas parody, and beyond, the
LNH has always been top-quality entertainment. So top-quality that it
(and its friends in the NTB, the Patrol, and Superguy) created this
newsgroup for all of us. It's a terrific forum, and that alone is reason
enough for everyone to say a word of thanks to the LNH.
But it also led to something even more beneficial for me personally. You
see, one hot summer night in 1994, I noticed someone had posted a giant
"TEB" ("What?") that looked really promising. It had daring versions of
all the characters I'd just discovered, strangely warped and yet
recognizable; it had a plot that not only modeled itself on the classic
_Watchmen_, it *improved* on it. I became hooked immediately and read the
whole damn thing in one night. I think I must have been quite mad at the
time; I know the author thought so when I e-mailed him. But that story
really altered my relationship to this newsgroup. I no longer wanted to
just lurk and read. I didn't think I *could* do that kind of work, but I
knew I wanted to try. So not long afterwards, I was one of the people to
answer a request to start a new story universe. The requestor used the
old anon.petet.fi anonymous e-mailer, though -- so I only knew him as
"Badger." And that was the start of something else.
Lots more universes have sprung up since then, all of them owing something
-- perhaps without even knowing it -- to the LNH. So thanks for
everything, folks. Anne, Harvey, Hannibal, Jack, the Paint Crew, the
Indigo System, and the Belgian Waffle all salute you.
You know, I feel really badly for old Dr. Killfile. Like the Sheriff
outlawing Robin Hood, like Loki creating the Avengers, the poor guy had no
idea what he was starting...
From: The Lone Warrior <tabr... at ptd.net.no.spam>
Subject: Re: [LNH] LNH Fifth Anniversary Special, Part #1
Message-ID: <5ku6cp$gu9$1 at news.ptd.net>#1/1
Sender: e... at windlord.Stanford.EDU
References: <336CE23E.3323 at precisionet.net> <5kmh4j$4ck at rac6.wam.umd.edu>
X-Date: 9 May 1997 03:41:13 GMT
Organization: ProLog - PenTeleData, Inc.
In article <5kmh4j$... at rac6.wam.umd.edu>, Marc Singer <m... at wam.umd.edu>
>You know, I feel really badly for old Dr. Killfile. Like the Sheriff
>outlawing Robin Hood, like Loki creating the Avengers, the poor guy had no
>idea what he was starting...
Ain't that the truth.
Well... since we're all on this big nostalgia kick, I suppose I
give my own backstory.
The year was 1994. I was a college sophomore, and was
about the net in general in order to post. I'd started off in the alt.*
hierarchy a semester before, but esu.edu didn't carry aclnh. Then, one day
between classes I got bored, and started looking through newsgroups. I
spotted racc. Being a (then) casual reader of comics, I stopped by to
read. The first thing I read was one of the few SuperGuy stories that were
cross-posted. At the time, I didn't know the characters, but the story
had me hooked.
(If I recall correctly, it was part of that "Pie In The Face"
storyline... where one character was gonna end up with a pie in his or her
face. I still chuckle when I remember the nitroglycerin pie.) :]
At the time, I and a friend were working on a few storylines that
apparently weren't going anywhere. We had a truckload of characters,
histories or anything. Well... his had no histories. I had histories and
ideas, but writing for them dragged on. And on. And on. Suffice to say,
nothing ever happened with them. Until I saw racc.
After reading RACC a while, I thought I'd had it figured out.
time, there were two major imprints, the LNH and OMEGA, which occupied
opposite ends of the spectrum: the LNh was the parody universe, OMEGA
seriousness and angst. There were also a few others out there, but they
really struck a chord with me.
I remember blasting into racc; my first post was very
announced my own Imprint, "StarFall", which was, in my own words, "THE MOST
SERIOUS UNIVERSE ON RACC". Man, did I get flamed for that... and rightfully
so. For such blatant newbieism, I apologize. All I wanted was a serious
imprint that was light on angst. I also had plans for characters that
wouldn't go well with other imprints' backstories.
Since then, I've been a rather quiet poster to racc, posting
I finish a piece. At first I stuck with StarFall, but just last year I
drifted into the Looniverse with "Johnny Fearless", followed earlier
by "a.outSiders". I've been experimenting with different genres
and "a.outSiders" in comedy, "Blood Ties" which I intended to be closer
horror/suspense genre), and I've been fighting a constant battle with the
Writer's Block Beast. My own City Streets title still holds a special
my heart, even though I plan on ending the series with #25 (say, in another
three years?). :) Still, I've seen good writing, bad writing, and tons of
reviews on both.
I've met some interesting people here in racc... Hubert,
Eagle being the most influential to my own work. I haven't had the
to meet anyone here in person, but give me time.
Long Live the Looniverse!
| StarFall Archive: |
| http://home.ptd.net/~tabrock/starfall/starfall.html |
| Beyond StarFall: |
| http://home.ptd.net/~tabrock/fan-fic/index.html |
From: Jeff Barnes <drizzt at precisionet.net>
Subject: [LNH] LNH Fifth Anniversary Special, Part #2
Date: 4 May 1997 17:30:08 -0700
"Your thoughts and comments on the 5th Anniversary," the man said. Seemed
innocuous enough at first glance.
But this reminiscence will, no doubt, seem stranger to most of you than
the wildest doings of the LNH in all of those five years. To describe the
murky beginnings of our (usually) amiable band, I will have to describe
the world in which it took place--which is _not_ the Net As We Know It
Now. (Thanks, Cliche Dude...)
So: Picture Usenet as it exists today. First, take away all the spammers
and Make.Money.Fast dreamers. Cut the population down to, say, a third of
what it is now...maybe even a quarter. Reduce the traffic to the point
where there were perhaps 3-400 articles a day _total_ that dealt with
comics, and that on a busy day. Finally, chop the rac.* hierarchy from
its current glorious listing down to one solitary group: rec.arts.comics
itself. Now, my friends, you have the setting of Spring, 1992.
Myself? I was that ultimate Net nightmare, a college freshman (though, as
you can judge from the season, I'd passed through the worst months
already). I had been reading rac for several months, but posting very
little, as is my wont; I always had a terrible fear of making an ass of
myself in public, and an equal fear that no one really cared about what I
might have to say anyways. Moreover, I didn't feel qualified at all to
jump into discussion with people who were practically eidetic with respect
to character appearances and crossovers. So, of course, when a subject
came up where I didn't feel I was at a handicap, and which was light and
humorous enough that any contribution would be taken in good part, I was
eager to charge in.
It shames me that I cannot remember who started the trend (though, who can
predict the avalanche from the first pebbles fall?), but whoever it was,
in the course of a thread he attached an heroic name to the end of his
post. Like a .sig virus or the Kiersey temperament sorter, this caught on
immediately, and almost everyone jumped the bandwagon, from the "TYGger"
on downward to my humble self. Most everyone, of course, thought it was
an amusing one-off; they made their joke and moved on. There's always a
few troublemakers, though...
Marvel Zombie Lad's original call-to-arms still exists, and no doubt you
have all seen it and its fallout: "Against the Brotherhood of
Evil.Net.Villains", aka the Cosmic Plot-Device Caper. Although the
participants were enjoying themselves immensely, there were already some
grumblings about waste of bandwidth which would, in the not-too-distant
future, develop into a truly ugly flamewar. But for the meantime, most of
rac took the incursion with tolerant smiles.
Then, the 2 1/2 month gap: summer break. Almost all of the LNHers were in
college at the time, and a significant number, including myself, lost
access over the summer. (Remember, this is 1992...AOL wasn't even a
threat on the Usenet horizon yet, and the average household was _not_
net.connected.) I still don't know what transpired over that time. But
when I got back to Columbia in late August, I was delighted to find that
the LNH was still going strong.
Unfortunately, not everyone was so delighted. The thunderheads of the
aforementioned flamewar began to pile up in the western sky. rac was
getting mighty crowded in any case, and a number of the devoted readership
did not want it cluttered up with our silly fanfic. We'll add an [LNH]
tag for easily killfiling? Nope, some people have to pay by the byte for
downloading, others don't have access to good killfiles; you guys will
have to leave. Fine, we said, the Great Split is actually going to happen
soon--just tuck in rec.arts.comics.lnh with the rest of 'em, and we'll be
out of your hair.
Nope, nuh-uh, no good. A more militant party didn't even want us in the
rac.* hierarchy. We protested that alt groups got very poor propagation
(it's still not wonderful, but back then, many places didn't carry alt.*
at all), and with as far-scattered as the LNH membership was, it seemed
very unlikely that newsadmins at alt-free sites would consent to carrying
an alt group for one user.
The discussion, both on the newsgroup and in private email, grew
acrimonious in the extreme, and much to my chagrin, there I was in the
middle of it. Not only was I shooting my mouth off in front of a large
audience, but I was contesting with individuals of much greater
experience, and furthermore some whom I respected very highly indeed. I
can confess it now, I suppose, that one flat email from a rac'er I had
(and still have) the highest regard for, stating that he would do all he
could to oppose the creation of rec.arts.comics.lnh, had me literally in
tears. Still, what was there to do? None of us wanted to vex the rac
populace, but neither did we want the LNH to wither and die. As it turned
out, the decision was taken out of everyone's hands.
The fugitive newgrouping of alt.comics.lnh changed the situation entirely.
I never knew who did it or why; I was given to understand that the proper
alt.config procedures had not been followed (I was utterly unclued on
news-admin matters in those days), but whether it was done by an irate
rac'er to get us the Hell Out or by an over-eager LNHer for the same
reason, I still don't know. In any case, most of us took what we had and
moved on over. A number of sites, as predicted, didn't pick up the group
for quite some time (this was the era, if I recall correctly, that
Netlurker had to crosspost in from alt.cyberpunk.chatsubo), so we lost a
few people for a time, but eventually we gained momentum. So many
projects--a giant twelve-part series involving just about every character
ever mentioned (with collectible trading cards in every issue!),
crossovers and new characters galore, RPG versions of characters, our
TinyMUD...oh, did we have visions! And most of them were fulfilled.
In fact, they were almost too fulfilled. Many of you probably haven't a
clue who I am, for I drifted away from alt.comics.lnh back in 1994. There
are a plethora of reasons I could cite--working 2 jobs, the impending
spectre of graduation, etc.--but the real reason is that I was
intimidated. The LNH had become gargantuan; not just the roster, but the
sheer volume of material and writers. I have over 15MB of plain text
archived, and I wasn't even saving all the storylines as of late 1993. In
the early times, the LNHers had been a very close-knit group (as the
persecuted tend to be? well, that's unworthy...); "family" might or might
not be pushing it a bit far, but we were all good friends, even outside
LNH matters. Sometime in '94, though, I looked around and realized that
most of the prolific writers were people I _didn't_ _know_, and most of
the people I _did_ know were quiescent or gone entirely. For better or
for worse (I think we can guess which), instead of jumping back in with
both feet, I retreated back into my lurking shell, and eventually drifted
I missed whatever events led to the LNH being welcomed (?) back into the
rac.* hierarchy; I missed the initial contact with our new colleagues, the
Superguy people and the rest; I missed whatever other landmark events that
transpired without my knowledge. I don't know what's come of half the
characters that Lurking Girl interacted with, which knowledge had been the
center of my existence but a few years ago. But I will always have the
memories of where we came from and what we were, and if I'm diligent I may
be able to catch up with everything that passed me by. For while digging
in my archives to trigger my recollections of those days, while reading
the histories of the Elder Days, I've found that I really miss the LNH.
The faces may have changed, but I can't believe that the spirit has; it
takes a special kind of person to want this job...and I doubt I need to
tell you that it's the spirit that's the heart of our creation.
So if you see a shiver on the corner of your terminal session, don't
adjust the screen. It's just the prodigal lurker trying to return home.
TODD "SCAVENGER" KOGUTT
It was five years ago today, Scavenger taught the band to play...
Five years. Wow. Doesn't seem that long. When Drizzt told me
it was five years, I didn't believe him. Figured he had to be wrong.
Well he wasn't.
So what happened five years ago? Why are we making a big deal
about this? Well, five years ago, a dream was born.
Oh, it didn't start out that way. At first, it was just a running
gag. It was fun, but really didn't mean anything. But then came the
first Fall of the LNH, and that changed everything.
I had just come back from summer vacation. I was a Junior at the
University of Colorado, where I am now in Grad school. And innocently I
asked, what happened to the Legion of Net.Heroes? And like the shot heard
around the world, it caused everything to change.
Due to something little more than a clerical error, rather than
the LNH wound up being mainly stories written by single authors, using
shared characters, rather than the sorta tag team storytelling that had
run rampant before. I looked around and thought it was good.
And then came the first chaos. A lot of people wanted to play,
and my mailbox got flooded with requests to join. Despite the
protestations that I wasn't in charge, they still came. So, feeling the
eyes of the net upon me, I remembered the words of a great philosopher,
"With great power comes great responsibility." I knew what must be done.
I reached out and gathered from those now active in the reborn
Legion the ones judged to be the most noble, the most courageous, the
most. . . literate. Taking half from the Golden Age and half from this
new Silver Age, I formed. . . the Council of Elders. And this too, was
(Ok, so what really happened was that there was a lot of people
unsure of how to join, I sent out a letter to the most active LNHers at
the time, drafting into the group that would try to organize things, and I
gave us a silly overly dramatic name.)
And joy flowed through the land, but then came the War. There
were those who didn't like us. There were those who hated us. Why, there
were even those who plotted against us and sent trained assassins to kill
me in my dorm room. (Well, maybe no one really hated us.) It was felt we
should be ghettoized out of the sight of proper comic reading folks.
Well, it was at this point, I realized that the LNH was more than a group
of idiots writing stories. It was a dream aborning.
As I recall, I stayed out of the flame war initially, figuring it
would blow over. There were some personal attacks against friends, and I
didn't stand for that. It was then I asked for the fighting to stop. I
remember writing a post asking the LNHers to stop flaming back. I also
told the anti-LNHers that their opinions were respected and we would do
what we could do to make it easy to ignore us (using the LNH prefix to
make us killfilable) but We Would Not Leave the comics newsgroup until
there was a way that everyone who wanted to read the LNH would be able to
(at the time there was a bootleg alt group and a rather innovative and
brilliant news server, but neither was even near 100% reliable).
And what was the dream? I realized that we had created someplace
that people could come and try telling a story, letting their creativity
run wild. Sure, some of it was lousy, but that was never the point. The
point was merely to try. It was a good idea, and it was one worth
Well we won the war (and I even gained net.status for the even
minded way I dealt with the flames) and peace reigned again. Then
something new occurred. I learned I had fans. Here are two stories:
I was at home talking to my friend Kenny. He and I had gone to
the same high school and he was now at M.I.T. He was telling me of a
friend of his at school who was a big LNH fan. That we had fans alone was
surprising. I joked with Kenny and asked him if he told his friend that
he knew me. Kenny actually said yes, and that his friend thought that was
At another point, I had sent Victoria Fike, Lurking Girl, a
birthday card (it being her birthday). She told me that she got the card,
and a friend of hers saw it. This friend apparently said to the effect,
"Wow! You got mail from Scavenger! That is so cool! The LNH rocks!" I
asked Tori that didn't her friend realize that she was an LNHer, one of
the Council of Elders, herself? She told me yes, but her friend found her
getting mail from me much cooler.
(Tales have been related to me of being getting excited when they
got email from me, making it feel like they had been accepted. I
understood this, kind of. When I first joined the comics newsgroups, I
felt that way whenever I got mail from Tom Galloway and Connie Hirsh
(Tygger and Fuzzy of the LNH-Draftees respectively).
Well, all good times must come to an end, and this time of bliss
in the LNH was soon to end. This was I think sometime in the third year.
Time and life took many LNH regulars away to other things, and I was
included. I just didn't have the time, and with certain events happening
within the group, the inclination, to really stick around.
Eventually, I took Rebel Yell and sent him on a mysterious journey
which even today he has yet to return. I've revisited the LNH a few
times. Telling a story here or there. There's a few stories a page or
two left to be written before they can go off to the world. Even Knight
Fall, the story of Rebel Yell, bangs on my mind every now and then. I
joined with some other LNH alumni and co-founded Crossroads. I haven't
had much to do with the actual writing of that either, but I'm all over
the back story. And should the net be kind, Something will be coming from
me in that arena soon.
So, looking back over the past five years, what has the LNH meant
to me. It has been many things: A great dream, a creation I can look to
with pride, a since of shame, and a great disappointment. What had
started off as a cheap joke had come to represent a great hope to me, and
I was, for a time upset that things had fallen apart in a way, and that
maybe all the effort I had put into this had been for naught. Well, I
found out that my dream had not one, but two successes, and perhaps
others. They know who they are, and I thank them for validating my hopes,
and allowing your spirit to shine. This essay is dedicated to you.
Before I go, I promised Drizzt I'd reveal why May 3rd is the
Observed Anniversary for the Legion of Net.Heroes. Well it goes like
this. I knew that the first anniversary was coming up but didn't have the
exact date. So, I checked my files. I found my earliest hard copy of a
LNH post was dated May 2nd. I felt it would be awfully egotistical to
declare that day the anniversary, it being my birthday. So, I chose May
3rd (which is the day I actually joined but that couldn't be helped.)
So there you have it, my view on the five years of the Legion of
Net.Heroes. It's been a weird ride, and it's still not over. Let's see
where it'll take us.
Whew. Glad that's over. I'll see y'all in five more -- except
next time someone else can do this. =)
Jeff Barnes drizzt at precisionet.net
Software Engineer, Alydaar Software http://www.eyrie.org/~drizzt/
"There are three types of people in this world: those who are good at
math, and those who aren't."
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