John Byrne is one of the most popular comic book artists of the past thirty years. He’s responsible for the death and rebirth and the other death and rebirth of Jean Grey, created Alpha Flight (which included comic book’s first gay super hero Northstar) and revamped Superman for DC in the mid 80’s.
He has written some of the most entertaining and controversial stories in comic book history. What is not widely known about him is how his art is often imitated by real life. This phenomenon is known as the "Byrne Curse."
The biggest occurrence of this curse happened back in 1997. At that time John Byrne was working on Wonder Woman. During that year he decided to "kill" Wonder Woman. As most comic book readers know, Wonder Woman is an Amazon princess whose real name is Diana. The issue in which Wonder Woman dies had a newspaper on the cover that read "Princess Diana Dies." This issue was released in August of 1997 three days before Diana, Princess of Wales was killed in a car crash.
Other instances of this curse are in 1977 when New York had a blackout. During that same month an issue of Marvel Team Up done by Byrne was released that had a black out taking place in New York. Also he had an issue of Uncanny X-Man that depicted an earthquake taking place in Japan. That same month Japan suffered a major earthquake.
This brings me to a comic book he drew back in 2001. It was part of an alternate reality mini series of Superman and Batman called "Generations." What was very different about this series was that the characters existed in real time. The first Generations took place between the years 1939 and 1999, with each story taking place 10 years apart. Unlike in a normal superman book where Lois Lane has barely aged in the past seventy years, in this realty Lois Lane is an old woman dying of cancer by the year 1979. Other superheroes grow older throughout the series including Superman and Batman’s children.
The series was so popular that he came out with a second edition in 2001 known simply as Generations 2. This one took place between the years 1942 and 2019, with each story taking place eleven years apart instead of ten. In this addition we see an older Hal Jordan (aka Green Lantern) as the president of 1986, then Barbara Gordon (aka Batgirl) as the president of 1997. The next story takes place in they year 2008 and shows an African American in the White House as the Commander in Chief.
Could this be another example of Byrne’s Nostradamus like ability? Of course Barack Obama will never officially be president during the year 2008, but he was elected president during this year. Hopefully Obama’s presidency will not turn out to be curse like but it could definitely reinforce the belief that Byrne’s comic’s can sometimes predict the future.