Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Prophets of Our Age : John Byrne

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Writer/Artist John Byrne has been involved in an inordinate amount of eerie coincidences.


JB: You don't know about the Byrne Curse, do you? 

Chris Claremont and I did a story about a blackout in NYC. The week it came out, there was a blackout in NYC. 

We did a story about an earthquake in Japan. The week it came out. . . 

Okay, so those are no big deal, as such things happen all the time. But on my own I. . . . . . blew up a Space Shuttle in the second issue of MAN OF STEEL (and hastily redrew it as a "space plane" before it came out. 

. . . named an aircraft carrier after a former Canadian Prime Minister (against the tradition of only naming ships after dead folk). He was dead by the time the book came out. 

. . . and killed Prince Diana (Wonder Woman) in a book (replete with fake newspaper cover) that shipped week before the Saturday that. . . 

If only this power could be harnessed for good! (5/15/2003)

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Writer/Artist John Byrne has been involved in an inordinate amount of eerie coincidences.


I almost considered putting a “False” for this one, if only because, upon looking into this bit, I found stuff like:

Byrne is sometimes believed to possess the power to predict events in our world, when he does his comics, and of course these events are predominantly tragedies.

And THAT, of course, is totally bogus, as well, come on. Heck, I would go further to say that I doubt the veracity of “is sometimes believed,” as I don’t think there’s anyone who ACTUALLY believes that.

But anyhow, yes, John Byrne has been involved in an inordinate amount of eerie comic book coincidences.

Fairly early on in his career at Marvel, Byrne drew an issue of Marvel Team-Up with writer Chris Claremont that involved a blackout in New York City.

Soon after the issue was released in 1977 (and months after Byrne had drawn it), New York City had one of its largest blackouts ever.

The next year, when Byrne was on Uncanny X-Men with Claremont, the pair had Japan be struck by an earthquake (courtesy of Mose Magnum).

In 1978, Japan was struck with a number of earthquakes.

(Speaking of Claremont, towards the very end of his run with Byrne on Uncanny X-Men, the pair depicted the dystopian world of 2013 in “Days of Future Past.” One of the characters from that story made it to the present, and in a later issue of Uncanny X-Men (#189), the character included a (in retrospect) chilling “flashback” to the destruction of the World Trade Center.

Soon before Byrne’s first issue of his Superman reboot, Man of Steel, which involves Superman having to save a damaged space-plane, the Challenger space shuttle was destroyed…

Finally, and perhaps most notably, in late August 1997, Wonder Woman #126 came out, reflecting the short-lived death of Wonder Woman, Princess Diana of Themyscira.

That Saturday, the REAL Princess Diana was killed in a car accident.

Some weird stuff, no?

Byrne, himself, wrote in to Scientific American magazine after Michael Shermer [The Squirmer] had written a skeptical look at a different writer’s claims to have predicted the tragedy of September 11, 2001, and stated most of these facts, concluding:

My ability as a prognosticator…would seem assured-provided, of course, we reference only the above, and skip over the hundreds of other comic books I have produced which featured all manner of catastrophes, large and small, which did not come to pass.

Well said, Mr. Byrne.

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