Wednesday, October 31, 2012

One Night in Rutland: 1971, Part 1

It's Halloween, 1971! And green-shirted, brown-vest, tan-chinoed Dick Grayson (aka Robin), during his single semester in college, has dragged (drug?) his friends from Hudson University in New Carthage, New York to Rutland, Vermont, home (you oughta know by now) of the famous Rutland Halloween Parade!

Double-page spread from Batman #237 (December 1971), script by Denny O'Neil, pencils by Neal Adams, inks by Dick Giordano, letters by John Costanza

(Click picture to parade-i-size)

Please note, not only the reference to our Rutland pal Tom Fagan, but Dick's groovy college classmate who is so totally into floats. That's not just a character trait, it's an entire subplot!

With all the crack training of years studying under the Batman, Robin stumbles into a blackjack-wieldin' group of professional nogoodniks. He also takes note that perhaps Rutland's chemical sewage processing systems are not working as efficiently as they should. That's the greatness of a character like Robin: not only crime-fighting but sociological observations!

Luckily, Batman shows up. Whoops! Batman is dead! But, but, but...that trick never works!

Special guest appearance by Christopher Lee!:

Meanwhile, the real (and alive) Batman shows up to meet the Batman-clad Tom Fagan. (Batman is more musclely than Tom.) Also, some Marvel Comics character cameos, including an iconic character from Neal Adams's run on X-Men, Alex "Havok" Summers! Hey, dude, try to keep your brother from eventually committing murdering his mentor, huh?

Now that he has his own series in the New 52, it's fun to see where The Guy Who Really Likes Floats got his start in comics!

Also, this is the first Silver Age appearance of all-angry, all-insultin' All Star Batman. Hey, how does he get his cape to whip around like that?!?

In this following panels, part of DC's famous Public Service Announcements, we are warned against the danger of cos-playing Batman. It's just not worth it, kids! Just say no to dressing up like Batman!

Hey look! There's Havok again! He's the life of the party! Hi, Havok!

Besides all that, Batman battles the Grim Reaper and Nazis and solves some crimes. Wow, this Rutland Halloween Parade has become pretty deadly, hasn't it? Here, master Batman author Denny O'Neil explains the genesis of the story and some background on Tom Fagan and the parade and party. Sounds like the best time ever.

So that's what was happening in 1971 at the Rutland Halloween Parade. ...Part of it, at least! Because across town (and on Earth-616), it's not just Death making an appearance in's one of the most "devilish" antagonists straight from "h-e-double-hockey sticks!" Could it be...Satan? No. No, it's Dormammu. Check him, and the Defenders, when One Night in Rutland: 1971 continues out in the next post!

No comments: