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Special School is a web comic that hasn't updated in over four years. In the world of this comic, there are superheroes; the "special school" teaches young people (college-aged?) who have powers how to manage their powers. There is a club named Club Jotunheim that is supposed to be only for supers; at a minimum you need to be dressed in some sort of costume that obscures your identity or the bouncer won't let you in. Students of "special school" are not supposed to dress like supers or use hero names, but the protagonists go to Club Jotunheim anyway.

http://specialschool.spiderforest.com/?comic=20050916

http://specialschool.spiderforest.com/?comic=20050920-club-jotunheim

The bouncer also makes you give him some sort of hero alias.

http://specialschool.spiderforest.com/?comic=20050927

http://specialschool.spiderforest.com/?comic=20050930

I don't think the bouncer is really a clue as to the nature of the place; his back story is that he comes from a secret island in the South Pacific, he's not really tied to the club.

It's a night club so it's not really open during the day. One of the characters goes to visit it during the day, and the door opens on a stone wall. She closes and opens the door and now it goes to the club.

http://specialschool.spiderforest.com/?comic=20060321-back-to-the-club

In this comic, the bartender (who might actually be the owner of the club) implies that "about two people" could figure out the true nature of the club. Now I'm wondering what this means.

http://specialschool.spiderforest.com/?comic=20060324

Here's the dialog from the bartender:

"Did you know this place used to be a hotel? Although I guess that would mean something to about two people."

The "rant" section below the comic contains this text:

So I figure there's maybe two people out there who now know exactly what Club Jotunheim is. Assuming they even get the reference. And that's likely all the clues you're ever going to get.

Okay, what "exactly" is Club Jotunheim? I'm hoping that one of those "about two" people can answer me.

EDIT: In a comment, @Adamant asked: "The publication date of that comic could be relevant. Also, is anything known about the location of the comic or Hotel Jotunheim, or the hometown of the author?"

As you can read in the URLs, the first Club Jotumheim comics appeared in September 2005.

The comic is set in "upstate New York" Below is "pinned" text that always appears on Special School pages:

Welcome to Special School.

This is the tale of a government-sanctioned class for super-powered humans, offered as part of the curriculum in a small-town university in upstate New York. The university gets extra funding, the students get course credit and special powers training, the government gets a well-trained, civic-minded generation of super-powered humans with some measure of debt and/or gratitude toward them; everybody's happy. At least, in theory.

Special School is credited to Andy Mason. I found his Google+ page: https://plus.google.com/+AndyMason

Here is what he put for "Places":

Places

Currently
Reddish, Stockport, UK

Previously
Stretford, UK
Manchester, UK
Ilkley, W Yorks

From the cast page, here is the description of the character Lori:

Lori runs the superhero social venue, Club Jotunheim (named for the homeland of the giants of Norse legend). She appears to be an amiable and conversational thirtysomething bartender, though attentive listeners realise she reveals little about herself. The club itself has some interesting features, which Lori attributes to the unique clientele. The sonics are excellent, with the noise from the dance floor not impinging on those ordering at the bar, and the door is apparently somehow movable.

By the way, there are hints that Lori may be very old, or a time traveler or something. We might think she is some sort of "Time Lord" analogue, and Club Jotumheim is like a Tardis somehow.

http://specialschool.spiderforest.com/?comic=20101203-the-more-you-know

http://specialschool.spiderforest.com/?comic=20101214

http://specialschool.spiderforest.com/?comic=20101217

http://specialschool.spiderforest.com/?comic=20110222

http://specialschool.spiderforest.com/?comic=20110805

http://specialschool.spiderforest.com/?comic=20110920

Here's the last clue I can think of: Lori says that a particular powerful artifact should never be brought inside Club Jotumheim. Never mind what the powerful artifact was, something made up by the writer of the story, I'm quite certain. Anyway Lori says bringing it inside the club is similar to (D&D reference!) putting a portable hole inside a bag of holding.

http://specialschool.spiderforest.com/?comic=20121102

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    Jotunheimr is, of course, the realm of the giants in Norse mythology, if that helps at all. – Adamant Mar 12 '17 at 0:48
  • The publication date of that comic could be relevant. Also, is anything known about the location of the comic or Hotel Jotunheim, or the hometown of the author? – Adamant Mar 12 '17 at 0:49
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    It is possible that contacting the author might be the best way to figure this out. That’s how we do things here sometimes ;). – Adamant Mar 12 '17 at 6:05
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I contacted Andy Mason, the author of Special School, on Facebook:

Q: What is the significance of Club Jotunheim being a former hotel?

A: Ah! It’s super obscure. There was an old online roleplay game (a MUX or a MOO or some such, I forget, one of those text based things). It was based in an interdimensional space that had the appearance of a hotel, and would occasionally abduct people from across time and space. I played Lori there (she’s been around for longer than that though). Some characters were happy just settling in and chatting, but Lori was determined to figure out what the hotel was and how to get out.

So there’s maybe three people who that reference meant anything to, and one of them is me 😀 The implication is that maybe she managed to tame the hotel, or part of it, and got it to settle on Earth in the early 2000s.

Or, maybe it was just formerly a hotel.

So there it is. It’s based on a character the author played in an old online game.

  • Thank you! I thought he might not want to answer, but clearly I was wrong. And the answer was even more obscure than I ever thought it could be! I put a link to this question in a comment on the appropriate page of the Special School comic, so people who want to know the solution can click through to here. – steveha Mar 13 '17 at 2:40
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    @steveha - All right then. I do like contacting authors for answers. – Adamant Mar 13 '17 at 2:41

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