Every Marvel Cinematic Universe episode or movie may contain something to enthuse fans, like the Easter egg! She-Hulk: Attorney at Law may have become the crowned monarch of Marvel Comics deep cuts in its fifth episode.
My friends, this is a brave new world. The Marvel Cinematic Universe just made a comment on Dakota North.
[Ed. note: This article contains spoilers for She-Hulk episode 5.]
Jens bestie/paralegal is already working on a solution, tracking down the secretive fashion designer Luke Jacobson played by The Flight Attendants Griffin Matthews, who only designs battle gear for superheroes. But with a little convincing, he accepts the task of changing Jen's wardrobe from summer to fall or day to night.
The question Who designs and produces all these superheroes outfits? has been asked by comics artists frequently in innovative ways. In Gotham City in the 2000s, there was the Tailor, a neutral player who dressed both hero and villain. In Marvel Comics, the Wasp is both a founding member of the Avengers and an internationally well-known fashion designer who also designs superhero wear for her friends. And mutant culture has its own exclusive top designer, the four-armed Jumbo Carnation.
Luke Jacobson? Its a return to the little-known Dakota North.
Dakota North was never intended to be an outlier, according to Keith Silva in a 2018 article for the Comics Journal. Its fifth and final installment came only eight months after that. Both essentially newcomers to the genre, it is a concept so unique in scope and bizarre in tone that it was almost depleted in (glorious, fascinating) flames.
Dakota North is a leather-jacket-wearing, quip-slinging, motorcycle-riding, butt-kicking, take-no-shit head, and the sole operational employee of, as Silva puts it, an international private security organization that specialises in crimes against the fashion industry. And Luke Jacobson was her first case.
Who is Luke Jacobson?
He's a fashion designer who's unknowingly caught up in some complicated corporate intrigue and is receiving threats of violence. He's a dead ringer for Fabio, is generally useless, and dances to Donna Summer. Despite, or perhaps, in an editorial sense, he's always proposing marriage and expressing his affection for Dakota.
Martha Thomases told Silva that Jacobson was inspired by my friend, the fashion designer David Freelander, who died of AIDS in 1987. I had wanted the character to also be gay and HIV+, but [Marvel editor Larry Hama] said that wasnt why people read comics. I suspect that, if the series had continued, we would have gone there.
Thomases might have been optimistic, but Marvel Comics' history of outright banning or otherwise downplaying queer characters would last for quite a long time.
Luke appeared in only three issues of Dakota North, but never made it over to the main Marvel Universe. Will his She-Hulk: Attorney-at-Law incarnation inspire comics writers to rectify that? I hope so.