950: Mystery Solved
Title text: The Roanoke Lost Colonists founded Roanoke, the Franklin Expedition reached the Pacific in 2009 when the Northwest Passage opened, and Jimmy Hoffa currently heads the Teamsters Union--he just started going by 'James'.
In this comic, aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart's plane comes back to land after it went missing in 1937. It was presumed that Earhart was dead and that her plane went down into the ocean at some point during her journey, although various alternate theories have arisen since then. However, this comic proposes a much simpler explanation: There was no disappearance, it just took her 74 years to fly around the Earth. This explanation is simple, but impossible; Earhart seems to think Cueball is stupid for not comprehending such a simple answer, but in fact her explanation raises a multitude of other questions. Among them: How did it take so long for her to land? (She answers that the world is big, but it isn't so big that it takes 74 years to fly around it, even with 1937 technology.) How did she survive that long, apparently without aging? Why didn't anyone else see her on her journey? Why doesn't she know that a flight shouldn't take 74 years?
Another possibility is that she did not just fly around the earth, but flew very fast (near light speed) for 74 years to return without having aged much. This would of course not explain why she thinks it is a long trip around the earth, or how she would accomplish this feat in a twin-engine monoplane. The disappearence gave birth to many conspiracy theories. One of those were explored upon in the TV series Star Trek: Voyager involves her being abducted to another part of the galaxy, where she was left in cryogenic stasis until found by the Voyager crew. Something similar could be the case here, having Earheart frozen by aliens until 2011.
The title text lists a few more deceptively mundane answers to long-unsolved mysteries that at first seem to dispel the questions with boring logic, but in fact raise more questions than they answer. The first is the lost colonists of Roanoke, who were one of the first groups to come to North America, but then suddenly disappeared, leaving their colony untouched. The comic suggests that they simply left to found Roanoke, Virginia. Like all the other explanations in this comic, this doesn't explain how this simple solution became lost to public knowledge; it also explains why they abandoned their original colony.
The second mystery in the title text, Franklin Expedition, was a British voyage in 1845 to study the Northwest Passage that also disappeared, somewhere in northern Canada. The text suggests that the expedition wasn't lost; it was still exploring and eventually found its way to the Pacific Ocean in 2009. This is impossible not only because the men on the expedition would be long dead, but also because there is no Northwest Passage; the Northwest Passage was a theoretical sea route above North America from the Atlantic to the Pacific, but was eventually proven to be non-existent by cartographers. The comic suggests the Passage did open up in 2009, but does not explain how or why that could possibly happen.
The final mystery is Jimmy Hoffa, the famous Teamsters Union leader who went missing in 1975 and declared dead in 1982 (possibly murdered). The comic says Jimmy simply opted to switch to the more formal version of his name; again, this raises the question of how such a thing would be possible without anyone noticing. The current head of the Teamsters is in fact named James Hoffa (he is Jimmy Hoffa's son and goes by "James P. Hoffa" professionally); the comic could be implying that the senior Hoffa is not only alive but actually impersonating his own son.
Amelia Earhart, the Roanoke colony and Jimmy Hoffa are all referenced in 1501: Mysteries.
- [A twin prop airplane flies high overhead.]
- Off-screen person: What's that airplane?
- [The plane has landed, and the pilot is walking towards the crowd waving.]
- Off-screen person: Holy crap— Is that Amelia Earhart?
- [A close up of Amelia Earhart waving.]
- Amelia: Hey everyone! My flight was a success!
- Off-screen person: But... Where were you!?
- [A wide view of Amelia, she stops waving.]
- Amelia: I flew around the world!
- Off-screen person: But you disappeared in 1937!
- [A close up of Amelia Earhart.]
- Amelia: Right, to fly around the world.
- Off-screen person: It's 2011!
- Amelia: The world is big. It's a long flight.
- [A wide view of Amelia]
- Off-screen person:
- But you...
- It's not...
- I -
- Amelia: Can I talk to someone smarter?
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