While most of us couldn’t have ever imagined some of the events that took place in 2020 and 2021, there are a ton of social media posts floating around claiming that pop culture predicted the future.
For example, there were claims that “The Simpsons” predicted the coronavirus, that the movie “I am Legend” was set in 2021, and that the zombie apocalypse in that film was caused by vaccines. And just recently, the Teen Fact-Checking Network debunked a YouTube video claiming to be a 1950s PSA about avoiding a future plague. All not legit.
Now, there’s another pandemic prediction that’s gone viral on social media. Recently, a YouTube video claimed that a 1997 “Archie” comic somehow predicted virtual school in the year 2021. Here’s how we fact-checked it.
Look for evidence within the video
During the video, the YouTuber included text saying that the official Archie Comics Twitter page tweeted out the comic. However, they don’t include a screenshot or link to the actual tweet.
Heading directly to the source, sure enough, Archie’s verified Twitter account tweeted out a screenshot of the strip, saying that it was originally published in issue 46 of a “Betty” comic in February 1997.
What’s the blue checkmark mean?
Basically, a verified checkmarks means that the person is who they say they are, or that the organization’s account is being run by an authorized representative. It’s important to remember that a blue checkmark doesn’t automatically mean the information you’re seeing is accurate. Whenever you see something from a verified source, check out their “About” page or bio to see if they are an expert in that field before retweeting. In this case, it’s safe to say that the verified Archie account would be a reliable source on this matter.
Turn to a keyword search
It never hurts to see what multiple sources are saying. Using words like “Archie comic predicts virtual school 2021” brought up several results, including a fact check from USA Today.
According to the article, the comic went viral on Reddit, Twitter and Facebook, and it is, in fact, real. USA Today also linked to a page in the Grand Comics Database that archives classic comic strips as further evidence.
The Google search also brought up this blog post from the Archie Comics website. They included more images from the comic, which features high-school teenager Betty — one of the main characters in the Archie series — talking to her parents about the benefits of virtual schooling.
Archie Comics posted the entire six-page virtual adventure, and the strip is actually pretty entertaining. Betty’s teacher talks to her on the computer in a way that’s eerily similar to Zoom calls, detention takes place in her own closet, and she visits a “high school museum,” where learning used to take place.
According to the Archie Comics website, the strip was reprinted in 2015, with the only change being to switch the year from 2021 to the year 2104. The post said this was probably because we still don’t have flying cars, which make an appearance in the comic.
Legit. This comic, showing Betty attending virtual school in 2021, was published in 1997, 24 years before virtual school became a reality for most of us. However, the comic never states that this was due to a pandemic.