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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Holy Halloween Hijinks

As the real-life organizer of the Rutland Halloween Parade, Tom Fagan made recurring appearances in comic books that referenced the annual event. The trend began with Avengers #83, which marked the 11th year of the parade and pictured him wearing a Nighthawk costume.

On the parade's 12th year, Tom Fagan appeared not only in Marvel Feature #2 (wearing street clothes before the Halloween festivities) but also in Batman #237—making his DC Comics debut dressed as the Caped Crusader. The parallelism was fitting, given how the creation of Nighthawk in the Squadron Sinister was an homage to Batman of the Justice League.

The next Halloween was a particular treat. With Glynis Wein the colorist on Amazing Adventures #16, and husband Len Wein the writer of Justice League of America #103, the couple appeared with Gerry Conway and Steve Englehart in a subplot that drove through the Halloween issues at both Marvel and DC as the foursome headed to Tom Fagan's Halloween party. Appropriately enough, he went as Nighthawk in Amazing Adventures #16 yet wore a Batman costume for the Justice League.

JLA #103 gave an additional nod to Marvel Comics in a humorously haunting way, when villain Felix Faust transformed ordinary people in Halloween costumes into super-powered foes. These included a Web-Slinger, the shield-carrying Commando America, and the Norse Thundergod (who was particularly apt seeing how Thor's series at Marvel also referenced the Rutland subplot).

The above image of Tom Fagan comes from Justice League of America. Vol. 1. No. 103. December 1972. "A Stranger Walks Among Us!" Len Wein (writer), Dick Dillin & Giordano (artists), Julius Schwartz (editor).

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