§ Mark Evanier notes the passing of Tom Fagan, whose championship of the Rutland, Vermont Halloween Parade made it an icon of superhero culture. The parade began nearly 50 years ago, and dressing as various be-longjohned Avengers became a colorful tradition that was big news in ’70s comics culture. Vermont Public Radio has more:

Fagan was crazy about comic books and he worked them into the parade, often dressing up as Batman. He was friends with many comic book writers and he encouraged them to come to Rutland, dress up in costume and appear with him in the parade.

In the 1970s, Rutland’s Halloween parade achieved a degree of fame when it was used as the setting of a number of superhero comic books, published by both DC and Marvel.

Tom Fagan was himself featured as a character in a number of these stories, usually depicted as an acquaintance of the lead character.

§ Colleen has more old photos. Hairstyle alert!

§ The Sardinian Connection reprints a 2006 essay by Mike Carey on WATCHMEN:

But I said metaphor, not allegory. Watchmen isn’t the sort of book that opens with a key, and turns out to have been talking about one particular thing all along, under the light disguises of fantasy. It resonates on every level, from the psychological to the mythic by way of the political. It has meanings but no morals. It refuses consolation both to the new frontiersman Rorschach and the utopian dreamer Ozymandias.

Perhaps that’s why it’s aged so well. It’s a trite truth that nothing dates faster than the topical, and nothing is more topical than the timeless. By cutting itself loose from any real world context, and yet at the same time tying itself so precisely to an era that could have/couldn’t have/could have happened, Watchmen has the best of both worlds: the acerbic accuracy of social commentary, and the endless, effortless now of fairy stories and myth cycles.

§ Reporter Dave Astor was one of those laid off in a wave of layoffs at various Nielsen magazines, including Editor & Publisher. At E&P, Astor probably broke more news stories about syndicated cartoons and cartoonists than any other source, and his loss is real for us bloggers and anyone who cares about cartooning. Hopefully there’s still a place for actual journalists in this day and age and he’ll land somewhere fitting. We wish him the best.


  1. Last night I read Justice League of America #103 (December, 1972), wherein the Justice League travel to Rutland, Vermont on Halloween to battle demons unleashed by Felix Faust. Writers Len Wein, Steve Englehart and Gerry Conway appear in the story, along with Len’s wife Glynis, and, of course, Tom Fagan. I was telling my wife a while back that it would be a great road trip to travel to Rutland, Vermont and meet Mr. Fagan. Damn. I’m truly sorry to read of his passing, but thanks to comics, in a way I got to know him.