Every Marvel Cinematic Universe episode or film may have something to entice viewers to ooh, Ooh, Easter egg! But in its fifth episode, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law may have become the crowned monarch of Marvel Comics deep cuts.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is a brave new world. The Marvel Cinematic Universe just made a reference to Dakota North.
This article contains spoilers for She-Hulk episode 5.
Jens bestie/paralegal is already working on a solution, following The Flight Attendants' secretive fashion designer Luke Jacobson, who only designs battle gear for superheroes. But, with a little convincing, he accepts the challenge of bringing Jen to She-Hulk.
The question Who designs and produces all of these superheroes outfits? has been asked often by comics artists in unexpected ways. In Marvel Comics, the Wasp is both a founding member of the Avengers and an internationally recognized fashion designer who also designs superhero apparel for her pals. And mutant culture has its own exclusive top designer, the four-armed Jumbo Carnation.
Luke Jacobson? It's a surprise discovery in the Dakota North.
Dakota North was an outlier, according to Keith Silva in a 2018 story for the Comics Journal. It's a disservice to outliers. Both were relatively newcomers to the genre, and the fifth and final installment of the series was published only eight months later. It's a concept so unique in scope and bizarre in tone that really the only place for it to go was under its (glorious, fascinating) flames.
Dakota North is a leather-jacket-wearing, helmet-riding, butt-kicking, take-no-shit head, and the sole operational employee of, as Silva puts it, an international private security agency specialising in fraud in 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 complex corporate intrigue and is being slapped with 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 expressing his love 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 wanted the character to be gay and HIV+, but [Marvel editor Larry Hama] said that isnt why people read comics.
Thomases may have been optimistic, but Marvel Comics' history of outright banning or otherwise downplaying queer characters would probably continue for quite a while longer.
Luke appeared in only three Marvel Universe issues, but never made it into the main Marvel Universe. Will his She-Hulk: Attorney-at-Law incarnation inspire comic book writers to rectify that? I hope so.