#3. The Death of Lady Di
We've already told you about the time Marvel tried to bring back Princess Diana as a mutant superhero, but DC did something even worse: They killed her.
Every superhero worth something has to die and come back from the dead at some point -- it's like their own little hazing ritual. In 1997 it was Wonder Woman's turn, so DC did a story line in which she falls into a mystical coma, dies and eventually ascends to become a goddess on Olympus. The cover of Wonder Woman #126 was a fake newspaper headline announcing the imminent death of Princess Diana of Themyscira (she'd actually die in the next issue).
Now, unless you spend a lot of time on message boards, in comic shops or really nerdy gay bars, you probably don't hear people referring to Wonder Woman as "Princess Diana" too often, but that's what the cover of that issue called her. And this was really unfortunate, because three freaking days after the comic came out, Princess Diana of Wales was killed in a car accident.
"Oh no! Wait, wait ... which one?"
The next issue (finished months earlier) actually includes the phrase "Princess Diana is dead," but at least that one ends on an uplifting note, with Wonder Woman reassuring everyone that she's OK. This issue, on the other hand, ends with her friends and family feeling miserable as she suffers a slow, painful death. So, on the one week every newspaper in the world looked like this:
...DC beat everyone to the punch by printing a cover that looked like this:
It Gets Creepier:
Careful observers may have noticed a disturbing detail in the cover above:
Yep, this comic was made by the same guy from the previous two entries, 20 years after the NYC blackout and 11 after the Challenger. He also predicted an earthquake in Japan in an issue of X-Men.
Byrne (who's still working in comics today) hasn't predicted any disasters lately, which we're guessing means he has learned to harness these powers and use them in more subtle and productive ways.
#2. The End of the Cold War
In 1976, DC published a special comic that imagined what would happen if Superman arrived on Earth in that year and grew up to become an adult in the distant future of 2001 (which is pretty much the time line current Superman comics follow, if you stop to think about it).
Whatever happened to those strato-jets you used to hear so much about in 2001?
The comic seems especially concerned with politics -- it starts with the Russian and American armies competing to reach the UFO carrying baby Superman. After the U.S. manages to secure the spaceship, they begin experimenting on it by shooting lasers at the baby's face.
"Why would that be your first test?!"
While the story's attempts to bring more realism to the Superman mythos are pretty clumsy and laughable, that only makes it more impressive that they got one thing right: The comic predicted the Cold War would end around 1990.
Some of the details are a little off, though.
Bear in mind that this story was written in 1976, when relations between the U.S. and the USSR were still very tense -- the Vietnam War had ended only one year earlier, and the Soviet war in Afghanistan was still to come. At the time it seemed plausible that the conflict would either stretch for many more decades or end in an armed confrontation. Most pieces of speculative fiction published during this period (including Watchmen) involved nuclear attacks -- this is one of the few pieces of fiction created during the Cold War where the war ends thanks to diplomacy.
And a flying boy in underpants.
It Gets Creepier:
Later, in 2001, America's new enemies (from an unspecified nation) send a deadly weapon to the heart of New York City. The flying terror came in the shape of ...
... a four-armed android called Moka. Moka hopes to fool humankind into submission, but Superman exposes him as a phony and punches him to death. The grateful New Yorkers erect a monument in Superman's honor.
It's like the writers got a real vision of the future but were highly intoxicated at the time, so all the details were warped almost beyond recognition. So, OK, they didn't get anywhere near predicting 9/11, which would have been pretty creepy ...
#1. The 9/11 Attacks
That Superman comic from the mid-'70s may not have anticipated the 9/11 attacks ... but this one from September 12, 2001, did.
The issue showed the aftermath of an alien invasion on Metropolis, and it included the following panel:
That's right, that image appeared in a Superman comic that came out on the day after the attacks. That's actually supposed to be Lex Luthor's LexCorp building, which is a single tower with a top floor shaped like a giant L.
So not only did they choose the worst possible angle to depict the damage ... they did it in a comic that came out on 9/12. Obviously there was nothing DC could do to pull the comic out of circulation by then (not to mention that their offices are in downtown NY, so they probably had other things on their mind at the moment). They did make the comic returnable, but few if any were actually returned, because people understood that this was nothing but an unfortunate coincidence and not DC's fault. Also, so they could do this:
It Gets Creepier:
Other parts of the comic showed the impact of the alien invasion on different parts of the world, like Australia ...
Washington, D.C. ...
And holy fucking shit the actual Twin Towers
The WTC actually appears three times across the issue (not counting the accidental image). Take a closer look at that image:
We'd check to see if those match with the actual impact points, but to be honest we're afraid to. We'll just tell you they didn't, though, mainly so you can sleep tonight.
For more coincidences that will make you agree with crazy people, check out 5 Absurd (But Mind Blowing) Pop Culture Conspiracy Theories and 6 Insane Coincidences You Won't Believe Actually Happened.
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