This year's Rutland Halloween Pararde, scheduled for Oct. 30, 6:30 p.m., owes its international popularity to a few very superhuman superheroes.
In the early 1970s, the popular Rutland Halloween Parade was used as the setting of a number of superhero comic books, including Batman (issue 237), Justice League of America (issue 103), Freedom Fighters (issue 6), Amazing Adventures (issue 16), Avengers (issue 83), and The Mighty Thor (issue 207).
The Rutland Halloween Parade remains an annual event held on Halloween since it started in 1960. Tom Fagan, a local writer and comic book fan, is credited with having a hand in the parade's early development and superhero theme.
According to an Oct. 22, 2006, article by Boston Globe writer Peggy Shinn, "He was friends with many comic book authors and artists, most of whom hailed from New York. Fagan persuaded some of them to take part in the Rutland Halloween Parade in comic book character costumes.
In 1965, a local newspaper reported that the Joker, Plastic Man, and Dr. Strange were roaming the streets of Rutland, along with Batman (presumably Fagan, but like Bruce Wayne, the Caped Crusader wouldn't divulge his identity). More comic book heroes appeared (at the parade) every year..."
Comic book creators known to have attended the parade in the past include Steve Englehart, Gerry Conway, Marv Wolfman, Bernie Wrightson, Dennis O'Neil, Roy Thomas, Alan Weiss, and Len Wein.
Though Fagan is no longer directly involved in the planning of the parade, the popular event continues to this day, celebrating its 48th anniversary in 2007. Fagan attended the 2006 parade, sitting with the judges along with his personal assistant.
DC Comics has featured the Rutland Halloween Parade as a setting for superhero adventures since the 1970s. Here superheros appear during the city's 1973 parade.
Image courtesy DC Comics & the Library of Congress