November 1st, 2011
05:57 PM ET

Nerds in the city: Scenes from the Village Halloween Parade

Editor's note: Aaron Sagers is a New York-based entertainment writer and nationally syndicated pop-culture columnist. He has specialty knowledge in 'paranormal pop culture,' has lectured at conventions across the country on the topic and is a media pundit on supernatural entertainment. He covers pop culture daily at and can be found on Twitter @aaronsagers.

New York's 39th annual Village Halloween Parade was an event for more than 50,000 participants, and an estimated 2 million attendees, as Gotham’s already-expressive denizens shed what inhibitions they had left and let their freak flags fly.

Two days after a snowstorm kept many indoors, Monday's mild evening brought the masses outside for the anything-goes – and anyone can join in – parade that included giant puppets, bands, dancers, floats and costumed revelers.

Officially taking place between 7 and 10:30 p.m. and running on Sixth Avenue from Spring Street to 16th Street in Manhattan, the parade was also the launch of a party where thrumming throngs masqueraded throughout the city late into the night.

Billed as the nation’s largest public Halloween celebration and only major night parade by organizers, the event is run by a not-for-profit organization – Village Halloween Parade Inc. – that receives funding from local and state government, arts associations and large corporations. Much like the diverse collection of funders, the parade itself was a metropolis melting pot of ideas, styles and missions where attendees played dress up in costumes that show off a sense of humor, pop-culture awareness, nerdy inclinations – and, frequently, ample amounts of flesh.

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Filed under: Fandom
Are women comic book fans as rare as unicorns?
Patrons at the Unicorn Party.
November 1st, 2011
04:00 PM ET

Are women comic book fans as rare as unicorns?

Editor's note: Erika D. Peterman is a Florida-based writer and editor, and the co-creator of the comics blog

By now, anyone who has anything to do with comics ought to know that women are a big part of that world.

It’s certainly no surprise to Brian Jacoby, who owns Secret Headquarters and Games in Tallahassee, Florida. Since opening his shop almost five years ago, he’s seen plenty of female customers walk through the door on a regular basis.

Several months ago, however, Jacoby began pondering the outdated perception that women who read comics are scarce. When DC announced in May that it would re-launch all of its titles, there was much online discussion about how female characters would fare and whether major publishers gave much thought to their female customers.

At the time, Jacoby began seeing a flurry of Tweets from female comics fans who jokingly referred to themselves as “unicorns” — a direct challenge to the notion that women don’t know Barda from Banshee.

That gave Jacoby an idea. In September, he threw a “Unicorn Party” at his shop to bring female geeks together and show the world that they are not mythological creatures. The place was packed with largely female customers, including some parents who brought their little girls.

We talked to Brian about the party, controversial portrayals of female characters in the capes genre, the DC re-launch effect and the brick-and-mortar advantage in a digital age. FULL POST