5 Times Comics Were Eerily Right About The Future
Comic books are so nutty that it took cinema over 100 years to figure out how to adapt them properly on a consistent basis. Alien gods flying in pajamas, characters dying and being reborn every other issue, entire universes crashing into each other -- you write down the craziest shit ever and force an artist to draw it. That's why it's a little unnerving how often that crazy shit ends up coming true in the real world.
A 1986 Batman Comic Perfectly Predicted The 2012 Aurora Shooting (Or At Least, Its Sloppy Media Coverage)
In 2012, James "Nobody Gives A Shit About My Middle Name" Holmes walked into a late-night screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado and started shooting people, killing 12. You probably remember what he told the police as they arrested him, because every news station, newspaper, and news site repeated it over and over: "I am the Joker." Also, he looked like this:
Snow cone and cotton candy sales also dropped immediately.
Naturally, this led to a buttload of reports and thinkpieces about how the Batman franchise inspired this mass murderer. The media even dug up a 1986 issue of The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller in which an armed nutjob goes on an "eerily similar" theater rampage:
He says "whore" a lot, but we're not sure if that's because he's crazy or because he's a Frank Miller character.
But, uh, wait ... in that first panel, it says the guy "broke the record into four pieces." Record? What record? Let's look at the panels right before these:
We weren't joking about the "whore" thing.
It turns out what inspired the shooter was a priest on TV talking about satanic messages in Led Zeppelin songs -- it has nothing to do with Batman. The last panel, with the newscaster saying this was a "Batman-inspired shooting," is the punchline. The killer never mentions Batman ... just like how James Holmes never called himself the Joker. That rumor came from the NYPD commissioner, but barring psychic powers, how would a New York officer know the details of an arrest in Colorado? But hold on, everyone knows Holmes dyed his hair orange to look more like ... the ... Joker?
Wrong Arkham resident, pal.
It turns out Holmes didn't even pick that theater because it was playing a Batman movie. His journal shows that he weighed the pros and cons of various venues before settling on the one where he could kill people in the most chickenshit way possible. To recap, a comic in which the media falsely accuses Batman of inspiring a mass shooting ... was used by the media to falsely accuse Batman of inspiring a mass shooting.
The rule about headlines ending in question marks still holds.
So yeah, guess the comic was "eerily similar" to reality after all, but for far stupider reasons than they thought.
Heavy Metal Tried To Warn Us About Trump's Wall (And Those Stupid Hats) Way Back In 1990
Much has been written about the fact that The Simpsons "predicted" Donald Trump would become president ... after he'd already announced he was running for president. Others credit the comic strip Doonesbury with divining Trump's unlikely rise. But the thing is, the guy had been talking up a presidential run since the '80s. That said, there is an old comic that totally nailed Trump's presidency -- without actually showing him as president. It does, however, depict an essential part of his campaign:
His bifurcated lizard tongue?
This 1990 comic titled "The Wall" is about Trump ... building a wall. It was published in Heavy Metal, a cult magazine specializing in mature (read: lots of boobies) sci-fi/fantasy comics. This particular tale is set in a dystopic nightmare future wherein Trump gains popular support by building a wall, which he says will protect the good people of America from criminals and other riff-raff. There are some notable differences to our present, though. The wall is in New York, and it's meant to keep out poor people instead of Mexicans. Trump builds it with fellow real estate mogul Harry Helmsley (which means that this prediction also works in the alternate universe in which Helmsley went on to be president).
It's worth noting that most of the "poor people" happen to be dark-skinned.
Halfway through the comic, Helmsley betrays Trump and banishes him to the poor part of town. However, Trump manages to charm the unhappy masses by blaming his opponent for their economic troubles and (we swear this is not a joke) giving them hats. He even holds rallies for his new fans, which naturally involve lots of yelling and arm-raising.
"HELMSLEY FOR PRISON 1990!"
Soon, Trump's working-class followers break down the wall and storm into the nice part of town, destroying everything in their path. Those corrupt elites finally get what's coming to them! And then the comic ends with Trump announcing a "monument" to the bravery of his followers ... which happens to look exactly like another wall. The metaphor couldn't be more obvious if they had Trump drain a physical swamp and then immediately fill it up with his own shit. But hey, at least they didn't show us his boobs.
Is that Jughead? Did this comic also predict The CW's Riverdale? Because that's even more impressive.
Two X-Men Time Travel Stories Casually Reference 9/11 And Hurricane Sandy (Years Before They Happened)
X-Men is a franchise specifically designed to be as confusing as possible to anyone who isn't a veteran comic book reader, so it's not surprising that it involves a lot of time travel. For instance, there's the character Rachel Summers, the future daughter of Cyclops and Jean Grey. In a 1984 storyline, Rachel travels to the X-Men's present and finds that her mother somehow died before giving birth to her. Pretty crazy, right?
Yeah, almost as crazy as the fact that holy fuckballs she remembers 9/11.
"The twin towers of the World Trade Center lie in ruins. Thousands are dead. Many more injured."
Again, that comic is from the '80s -- the specific issue has a cover date of January 1985, which means it was published in late 1984 (because nothing in comics makes any sense). And yet Rachel seems exactly as traumatized by the events of September 11, 2001 as anyone who lived through them. Admittedly, the comic doesn't explain how or when the towers fell, implying it was all part of the same future robot holocaust in which the X-Men get killed. However, there is a subtle hint of the cause behind the towers' collapse on that same page:
... the steel beams?
At the time, that airplane flying by the World Trade Center was nothing but a meaningless background detail. Show someone this image out of context today, and suddenly the same thing is some dark foreshadowing (and the artist a dick).
Rachel isn't the only one in the X-Men who accidentally remembered a real future event -- hell, she isn't even the only one in her family. Her much-older-looking half brother is Cable, the time-traveling son of Cyclops and an evil clone of Rachel's mother (hey, if you're gonna cheat on your wife with someone, it might as well be an exact duplicate). In a 2008 issue of Cable's solo comic, he visits New Jersey in the future and finds it in even worse shape than usual because of "the superstorm of 2012":
"At least ponchos are still in fashion."
"Oh, that's much nicer-sounding. Thanks!"
Now, New Jersey has had some notoriously inept authorities, but to their credit, it did not take them 31 years to clean up the hurricane's mess, like in this comic (the first panel above says it's 2043, if you missed it). Anyway, we can't wait for Ian McKellen to go nuts and take some hostages on top of the Statue of Liberty. That's gonna be boss.
There's A Comic About A Surprise Attack On Pearl Harbor, Published A Month Before The Surprise Attack On Pearl Harbor
Superhero comics really took off during World War II, fueled by the desire of a nation to see Nazis punched by guys wearing masks. With that in mind, it's pretty surprising that few comics from that era feature Pearl Harbor -- aka the very reason the U.S. joined the war (after Japan unexpectedly swung by and bombed the shit out of it on December 7th, 1941). DC's wiki claims three comics from '40s include Pearl Harbor, while Marvel's lists only one. Our point is, it's not like every issue of Superman had Lex Luthor trying to blow up the naval base in a wacky new way or something.
That's why it's pretty weird that one of those handful of comics came out right before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The name of the story? "The Bombing Of Pearl Harbor."
Guess what it's about.
The comic, which was released in November 1941, starts with Axis forces mounting a sneak attack on America. Possibly to throw off any suspicions about the writer's psychic powers, the story did get some things wrong. The Pearl Harbor base is attacked by sea instead of air, while "oriental bombers" hit another U.S. base in Guam. Some articles about this story claim the attacking warships are German, but reading the comic reveals they are manned by Germany's "ally" -- so either Italy (haha, nope) or Japan.
"The only thing we have to fear is ... this. Exactly this."
Also, in the comic, the attackers are ultimately defeated by the superheroic personification of Uncle Sam and his young buddy, Buddy, with some help from the giant ghost of John Paul Jones. Listen, we know we slept through much of history class in school, but we're pretty sure that didn't happen.
For one thing, the bass player from Led Zeppelin wasn't born until 1946.
A German Page-A-Day Calendar Had A Joke About The Pope "Resigning Tomorrow" On Feb. 10, 2013. He Resigned On Feb. 11
A pope resigning isn't something that happens every day, or even every century. From mass murder to mass orgies, old-timey popes pulled all sorts of shenanigans and still kept their jobs. When Pope Benedict XVI announced his early retirement on February 11, 2013, citing insufficient vigor, he became the first pope to call it quits in over 600 years. No one could have seen that coming.
Unless, that is, they happened to own this silly joke-a-day calendar:
That says, "Holy straw sack! I'm quitting tomorrow!" (Pretty sure "straw" stands for another type of fertilizer.)
The cartoon -- dated the day before -- shows the pope winning the lottery and saying he'll quit tomorrow (yeah, "insufficient vigor" our ass). It would be impressive enough if cartoonist Katharina Greve had drawn this right before the pope's resignation, but the full story is even more unbelievable. Contrary to popular belief, the jokes in these calendars don't materialize out of thin air when you turn the page -- they're compiled from gags previously published in newspapers and such. This particular cartoon was first printed in 2011, in the weekly publication Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (presumably the German version of Mad Magazine).
A pale imitation of the vastly superior Crackedmencheugherfurgughen.
This means that no, the joke wasn't inspired by the "Vatileaks" scandal which some believe precipitated the pope's resignation, because it was drawn a year before that. The calendar book itself was finalized in Easter 2012, and for whatever reason, the editor decided that this joke about the pope "quitting tomorrow" should be put on the page for February 10, 2013. As in, the day before the pope announced his resignation. Who knows, perhaps Benedict had the same calendar on his desk at the Vatican and took this cartoon as a divine signal.
Dibyajyoti Lahiri would've blindly hired Stephen Lang over Josh Brolin for the role of Cable, but the fuck ever listens to him?
For more fictional happenings that seeped into reality, check out 6 Eerily Specific World Events Predicted by Comics and The 5 Most Ridiculous Pop Culture Predictions That Came True.
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