Tom Fagan passed away on Tuesday, October 21 at the age of 76. He was the creator and force behind the annual Rutland Halloween Parade in Rutland Vermont that spotlighted costumed super-heroes from DC, Marvel, and other comic book companies of the time.
The parade won’t be known to a lot of current comic book fans. However, during the 1970s, the popular event was featured in several DC and Marvel super-hero books published around Halloween–including Batman #237 in 1971, Freedom Fighters#6 in 1976, and an unofficial three-part Marvel-DC crossover that ran in 1972 in Marvel’s Amazing Adventures #16, DC’s Justice League of America #103, and The Mighty Thor #207.
Out of all of them (which includes more than the five I’ve listed), I’m always going to have a soft spot for Justice League of America #103 (December 1972), wherein the JLA travel to Rutland on Halloween to battle demons unleashed by Felix Faust. Writers Len Wein, Steve Englehart and Gerry Conway also appear in that story (which was written by Wein), along with Len’s wife Glynis and, of course, Tom Fagan.
JLA #103 is the second of the three-part unofficial crossover. The first part (Amazing Adventures #16) was written by Englehart and the third part (Thor #207) was written by Conway.
I’ve often told my wife that when we finally take our extensive road trip to the East Coast, we’ll be stopping in Rutland to meet Tom. Now we won’t be able to meet him, but I still hope to visit Rutland one day and stand on that “Main Street” where those annual Halloween parades occurred in the comics of my youth. I’ll take a moment to honor and salute Tom.
If we travel there during Halloween, I’ll be keeping a wary eye out for that old witch, the one Tom claimed to have seen as a child. And if I see her, I’ll salute her, too.