Captain Andrew Luck: How the meme, parody account was really made

    This story was originally published in December. 29, 2016.

    dear abigail,

    I’m afraid the worst is over. reports have flooded the camp that, without my knowledge, I have become a meme. in truth, I cannot fully understand its meaning. I don’t feel like a meme though, the gadgets of the future have puzzled me for a long time. I’ve asked the younger guys in my company to educate me on my condition, but I’m afraid their prognosis is grim: once a meme, they say, always a meme.

    My only good fortune is that they say I can live a long and happy life as a meme. pray that they are correct.

    my love always,

    gen. lucky andrew

    indianapolis: if ryan van bibber ever meets andrew luck, he promises to reveal to the colts quarterback his secret identity: a founding father of andrew luck’s general civil war meme.

    “Absolutely,” Van Bibber said with a laugh during an interview with Indystar. “That would definitely require a follow-up letter.”

    It’s been a while since van bibber last wrote a missive to abigail – the meme has taken on a life of its own without him. and van bibber is fine with that. but he hasn’t ruled out staging a comeback of sorts, joking about ideas for leaving gen. good luck in a new direction. but we won’t spoil that surprise here.

    What we’re going to do is have van bibber reveal the long-awaited origin story of what some have called the “funniest sports meme on the internet.”

    ‘chap. andrew luck’ revealed!the foals play together with the twitter account

    Andrew Luck:I was “very scared” that I would never play football again

    the idea is born: ‘my god, he looks like a civil war general’

    When he spoke to indystar, van bibber couldn’t remember exactly when it happened. he wasn’t even sure who originally came up with the idea (we eventually found out). most of what he can remember about the creation of gene. andrew luck was the phrase that has spawned many successful creative efforts:

    Wouldn’t it be funny if…?

    “I mean it was the playoffs a couple of years ago,” said van bibber, sports editor for sb nation. “We all work on slack, this online communication system, and we were watching the colts play, and we started talking about luck and his weird facial hair. you know, victorian-era facial hair…very burnt (laughs). it just came up, and then someone said, ‘my god, he looks like a civil war general.’ …and that eventually turned into, ‘you should write a letter with the luck of a civil war general’.”

    turns out van bibber was ideal for writing the general’s missives home. He has a BA in history, has studied the Civil War in detail, and is among the many fans of Ken Burns’s monumental documentary “The Civil War,” which relied heavily on the narrative of letters written to loved ones. darlings.

    van bibber also credits “late night with conan o’brien”, which frequently parodied the burns documentary, as inspiration for his dispatches.

    but first, there was photoshop and a ‘perfect’ andrew luck meme

    But as meme fans know, words are only half the fun. The transformation of luck into Civil War insignia was the other vital component, and for that, we have to go back a little further in time: to a man named Rodger Sherman. before van bibber put pen to parchment like gene. Luck Sherman documented Luck’s resemblance to a certain Civil War general.

    in a January. On February 11, 2014, Sherman became the first to Photoshop the lucky face onto the portrait of Union Brigadier General Rufus King.

    according to the publication, king was the first image that appeared in a google search for “civil war general”.

    and for van bibber, there was no reason to look any further.

    “It’s perfect and custom made for photoshop,” said van bibber. “simple background, individual image, it was perfect.”

    and therefore gen. Andrew Luck was born.

    the editor of sb nation writes a letter as gen. Andrew lucky

    van bibber’s first letter was sent to martha (and the sports world) jan. 4, 2015 after the Colts defeated the Cincinnati Bengals. It said, in part:

    successfully defended the lucas oil garrison from a battalion of cincinnati-born marauders who strayed far from their border headquarters on the hotly contested ohio river.

    And what strange bandits opposed us! They were led by a prominent Dalton, who has won many campaigns in his years as a leading raider, but his crime stalled in the winter months, leading many in the East to question his good faith. but I will not question such a brave warrior! I know this feeling too. it’s one thing to fend off a gregarious group of bosses with a rally. It’s another thing to keep a whirlwind of demons like these at bay!

    “It was one of those things that shot up,” van bibber said of his success and his luck in general. “It started with us and our friends, then other outlets picked it up, retweeted it and shared it, and it just picked up steam. … But he had no idea that he would take off like he did.”

    van bibber wrote seven to 10 more letters to great fanfare before hanging up his civil war-era keyboard. (you can find them all here).

    what is the reason why the general was absent? “The joke is over eventually,” she said.

    well, maybe for him yes. but for others, the fun was just beginning.

    meme morphs into a parody twitter account for captain andrew luck

    While many have been amused by the civil war luck meme since its inception, none have enjoyed the same prolific success as “capt. andres luck.”

    that account has given new life to the meme. with a battalion of more than 43,000 followers, Cap. Andrew Luck has spread across the country, appearing on ESPN’s Mike and Mike talk show and even receiving retweets from a few celebrities, including notorious Colt fan Rob Lowe.

    Although the person behind the account wished to remain anonymous – “I think it’s more fun if people don’t know who’s behind the curtain” – he was happy to share his backstory.

    “A few years ago, I found some memes of a variety of celebrities and athletes photoshopped to look like they were from different eras. i saw a lucky couple and i just had this voice in my head while also playing music from ken burns amazing doc. I laughed out loud and started sending ‘letters’ to my friends as a captain. Good luck when the colts played their teams. they loved them, and one suggested that I create an account, so I did it last December and ran it all season.”

    the man behind the cap. luck said he wants van bibber and sherman to know that they are “geniuses” at coming up with characters and images. he said that he “hope you have fun”.

    “i want every card to be nice, original and make fans laugh. i just share them as they come to me. …the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. cap gets a lot (direct messages) from people congratulating the cards. people seem to like it. I like to make them laugh. so it works.”

    And what does van bibber think of the captain? lucky success?

    “I should have copyrighted it,” van bibber said before laughing. “No, it’s flattering to see someone take something you’ve created and run it. I’m glad people enjoyed it.”

    Follow indystar sports producer jim ayello on twitter: @jamesayello.

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