LNH/META: A 28 1/2 Year look at 30 Years of LNH

Arthur Spitzer arspitzer2 at gmail.com
Fri Apr 29 10:15:55 PDT 2022

Back in 2012, I managed to get 8 Different LNH Writers (with some help from Rob and 
Drew) to write down some thoughts about the 20th Anniversary.  And now it's ten years 
later and we have reached the 30th Anniversary of the LNH.  How many writers will I 
snag this time?  Will I double that amount?  Perhaps triple?

Let's see where the Enthusiasm Meter is for this 30th Anniversary!

** Looks at the Enthusiasm Meter **

Crickets begin chirping.

And then quit chirping and head to the parking lot so that they can beat the traffic.


** sheepish grin **

*Ahem* okay, looks like I'm doing this one solo.

** sheepish grin **

And here we go -- The 30th Anniversary of the Legion of Net.Heroes!

My rambling word salad look back at my 30 years (okay -- more like 28 1/2 for me).

First off -- The 90s:

It was 1993 (November/December?) when I first checked it out.  I was in my final year 
of High School, 18 years old, was using an educational network called Nova-Net which 
had some access to the internet (there was e-mail and gopher -- and that was about 
it).  You could use the gopher protocol to read the various USENET groups and I 
discovered a way to post to the groups using e-mail.  I was probably aware of USENET 
by at least September of '93 so if I had been a bit more curious about what this 
alt.comic.lnh was -- I could have probably found it a bit sooner.

But I got really into reading all the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) that were 
being posted on rec.arts.comics and that's when I became aware of what the LNH was.  
And when I knew what it was -- a bunch of writers doing superhero parodies all set in 
the same share Universe (err -- I mean LOONiverse!), I had to join because I loved 
superheroes and parodies -- and all these brilliant ideas in my head for even more 
crazy characters that populate it.  And all these stories were free!

At the time I was living in a small town that didn't have any comic books stores or 
book stores or anything cool.  I think the Safeway did have some comics in the 
magazine section -- so I could have bought those, but they always seemed expensive 
(like a $1.50 for part seven of a seventeen part arc).  I liked superheroes, but 
whatever money I had usually went to computer games -- which seemed like a better 
bang for the buck.  With the LNH, this was something I could read every adventure for 
free and not only that I could participate in its creation.

Tales of the LNH #299 (the conclusion of the Blood Kitty Saga by Hubert Bartels), 
Some issue of LNH Comics Presents during the Looniverse Adrift event (by either 
Joltin' Jeff McCoskey or Ken Schmidt), and Part II of Pigs in Space (by Gary "The 
Saint" St. Lawrence) were some of the first LNH stories I remember reading.

I remember during Christmas break discovering the old LNH archive (this was one I 
think that was maintained by Tori "Lurking Girl" Fike (or at least I got that idea 
from a Jeff McCoskey story)) and pretty much binged every story in it (which, okay, 
was a lot easier then since there were quite a bit less stories back then).  About 
this time also Russ "Eagle" Allbery was setting up the current archive, which would 
be a lot more complete.  Unfortunately at the time, since those were compressed files 
I didn't have the ability to unzip them so I usually had to pester Russ to send me 
some unzipped files and would have to wait till college for access to the unzipping 

So, I started writing at that time also -- brought in this character that I made from 
this novanet computer game called Avatar and had written a few stories with -- The 
Slobbering Grue!  Called the series JONG (don't remember why).  Then got involved 
with the Omaha Project (well, wrote one issue, but had all kinds of plans).  Helped 
vote in rec.arts.comics.creative into existence.  Graduated from High School around 
that time -- and was going to lose access to my novanet account although I think I 
did have it long enough to say I was going to write something for Retcon Hour (the 
big crossover of the day -- parody of Zero Hour) -- but other than creating The 
Chuggernaut didn't really contribute much to it.  I didn't really have much in the 
way of access during the summer (my Dad had this aol.com account, but because of like 
long distance costs -- couldn't really use it a lot).

Then I started college -- so I had the ability to post again.  But I never really did 
that much writing -- some more issues of JONG, some more Omaha Project stuff -- 
started doing On the Deadbeat, which while being NTB I did reference quite a bit of 
LNH stuff.

I did have the opportunity to see some real life LNH writers.  This would've been 
around the time Paul Hardy came to the States (Operation ArseDeath as he would call 
-- in 1995).  I think I did try to convince him to make a stop in Flagstaff -- 
although he had very constrained schedule and instead he invited me to go to Phoenix 
-- where he was going to meet up at Jeff McCoskey's place with Hurbert Bartels also 
in attendance.  I declined though -- was a bit to timid to try my luck on the Phoenix 
Freeways -- and figured I'd probably get lost.  So didn't get to do that.

Around 1998, probably inspired by various comics I was reading at the time 
(Morrison's JLA, Busiek's Thunderbolts, and Ellis's Stormwatch) I created the Saviors 
of the NET as a cascade for other to jump on if they wanted.  And various writers 
added to that bit of craziness and that was fun.

Around 1999 was the end of my college (my terrible, terrible college years -- where I 
basically flunked out).  I think in January of '99 I did promote a bunch of possible 
projects (like another issue of the Saviors of the NET -- I did have some ideas on 
how to end it), but then I pretty much disappeared off of RACC for like 5 years.

The 00s:

I did manage to survive Y2K and my parents helped me get a job in Yuma, AZ -- so I 
moved there (and sadly enough still have that job).  I don't think I had an internet 
connection during that first year -- although I would eventually get an aol account.  
I did sometimes go to the library and use their computers to check out what was going 
on in RACC and did see Marc Singer finish the Saviors of the NET storyline (and he 
did a great job ending -- no complaints here).  So between 1999 and 2004 I was in 
deep lurk mode -- occasionally thinking about writing, but not doing anything (I 
would occasionally whittle away at what would become the first LNHY story).

And in 2004, I decided to start posting again (which I did by dipping my toes into 
the Bride of C'thulhu cascade).  Definitely by 2004 quite a bit of the posters that 
had been hanging around RACC in the '90s had gone off to the other parts of the NET 
(messageboards, blogs, live journal and so on).  I think by the time I came back all 
of the OMEGA Writers had already left RACC.  There were still plenty of people -- but 
you could tell that USENET was beginning to have some very bad health problems.

I created the LNHY Imprint in 2004.  There had been some talk before about creating a 
more orderly version of the LNH (Dave Van Domelen posted his own attempt -- you can 
find by searching "Acton Lord 0")  But during various discussions about the various 
problems of the LNH -- you'd always have these 'There are too many characters' or 
'There are not enough rules' as reasons why less people were joining up or not 
reading.  And so LNHY had a lot more rules and way less characters (each writer was 
only allowed one character to be on the LNH).  And it kind of proved that too many 
character too few rules wasn't the LNH's problem.  It wasn't a great success (but 
there were people who wrote for it -- so I can't really complain.  I mean given a 
choice between writing for LNHY and LNH Classic -- I preferred the Classic one like 
everyone else).

The health of the LNH between 2005 and 2007 -- it was fairly robust.  Mostly old 
timers were keeping it alive -- but you'd occasionally have a new comer pop in.  One 
of the big high points of this era was the Infinite Leadership Crisis (or Cry.Sig) 
that happened during April 2007.  You had Jamas Enright, me, Martin Phipps, Amabel 
Holland, Mitchell Crouch, Saxon Brenton, Jessica "Jaelle" Ihimaera-Smiler, Rob 
Rogers, and Lalo Martins participating in it.  It was great fun -- I suppose the only 
problem was my idea for ending it as a prelude for my Beige Midnight storyline idea.

And so from 2007 to 2012, I was deeply immersed into the whole Beige Countdown/
Midnight storyline (my original plan was that it would only take like a year or so to 
write.  Hah!)  (Also in 2007 I created the first (and sadly only) LNH Webcomic -- 
called The LNH Webcomic.)

The 10s:

By 2011, I still hadn't finished Beige Midnight and we were getting close to the 20th 
Anniversary of the LNH and there was a big discussion about making a new LNH Imprint 
(and I think some wanted to just reboot it).  I had my own ideas and others had their 
own ideas and there was a flame war between me and this other difficult person who 
always had a knack for getting into all kinds of arguments with other LNH writers.  I 
decided to just let others do what they wanted with the new LNH imprint (called 
LNH20) and I'd focus on trying to finally finish Beige Midnight.

In 2012, I went to my first Real Life RACCCon in Benicia, CA -- and met Rob Rogers, 
Saxon Brenton, and Scott Eiler.  And that was great -- glad I got to do that.  And 
afterwards I managed to finally finish the whole Beige Midnight Saga in September of 
2012.  I don't know how long the whole thing was (pretty sure it was over 100,000 
words), but probably the closest I'll ever get to writing a novel.

And after finishing Beige Midnight -- I felt the need for another big creative 
project, but I kind of knew that it needed to be something outside the LNH and RACC.  
So in October of 2012 I started working on the Ripping Off King Arthur webcomic and 
that's been my big focus (well that and my more smutty comic!) even since.

Went to Benicia, CA again -- and saw Rob and Scott for another RACCCon in 2019.  And 
that was fun.

And now we're in the 20's:

My LNH output has definitely gotten leaner and leaner as the years go by.  I mean 
I've started some of the most recent cascades like Just Another Multi-Writer Cascade 
that will Probably Never Have an Ending, WikiLull, and the most recent Hungry, Hungry 
Sabertooths -- and then kind of abandon them to let others do what they will to them.

I mean I'll probably never actually quit from writing LNH stories -- but it also 
wouldn't surprise me if the next one I write is also my last one.  I thought about 
doing a story for the 30th Anniversary -- but writing is hard -- and as I grow old my 
energy gets to be less and less.  (Did manage to hack out a RACCCafe story -- so 
there's that.)  I kind of think that maybe writing for the LNH should be a young 
persons game and if the LNH is to have any future you can't really depend on the over 
40 crowd to save it.  But those of you stubborn old timers that want to keep 
breathing life into the LNH to keep it from its final rest -- well, here's to you.  
And here's to all the writers and readers that kept it alive for 30 years.

Arthur "Old old old..." Spitzer

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