Fact Check: No, Phantom Comics Did Not Prophesize about ‘China Virus’ in 1957…

Altered Coronavirus COVID-19

The original comic shows Phantom asking people to protect themselves from the ‘sleep death’ and not ‘China virus’.

Several conspiracy theories regarding the Covid-19 pandemic had cropped up since the outbreak of the virus. As a new variant of this Covid-19 virus named as ‘Omicron’ becomes a global concern, new conspiracy theories have started surfacing on social media. The latest one is an image of the comic strip showing the superhero the Phantom instructing other characters to cover up their mouths with a mask is widely circulating on social media.

We can see in the viral image, the Phantom says “Tie as I do. This will protect you from the ‘China Virus’ in the valley.”

This image is being shared as a proof of a conspiracy theory about Covid-19 pandemic being pre-planned. Users claim that the comic strip was published in 1957 indicating that the virus was planned way before it’s time.

Former Secretary to the Government of India, Anil Swarup has tweeted this image mentioning the following: 

“I am told this was published in 1957, the “China Virus” continues to torment us even today. Precautions also valid. Don’t give up the mask as yet.” (sic)

Tweet Link | Facebook Link | Archive Link 

Fact Check-

We started our investigation by running a google reverse image search on the same, whose results led us to a tweet by a user named Balaji Sankara Saravanan. His tweet mentions, “How easily misinformation spreads. Today someone in one of my WA groups posted a clip from a old Indrajal comics and a mention about ‘China Virus’, in 1957! A quick research revealed that the clip was from a 1979 story ‘Valley of no return’ and no mention about any China Virus!”

We can see the original image posted by the Twitter user where the word “China virus” is not visible. They tweet also mentions that the original image is from a comic named ‘Valley of no return’ published in 1979.

Next, we started searching about the comic strip named ‘Valley of no return’, we found that this comic strip ran in newspapers from July 1957 to September 1957. The strip was written by Lee Falk and was illustrated by Wilson McCoy.

Next, taking a cue from the above information we ran another keyword search on Google, which led us to an auction website named “Heritage Auctions” where we can see the original image of the comic strip. We can see the original image mentions “Tie it on as I do. This will protect you from the ‘sleep death’ in the valley.”

Below you can see a comparison image between the viral image and the original image from the Phantom comics published in 1957.


Fact Crescendo found the viral image on social media to be digitally altered. The original comic strip mentions ‘Sleep Death‘ and not ‘China Virus’ as claimed in the viral posts.

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Title:No, Phantom Comics Did Not Prophesize about ‘China Virus’ in 1957

Fact Check By: Aavya Ray 

Result: Altered