Characters Appearing: Amos Culhane, Cleo Vanderlip, Dakota North, Luke Jacobson, Mad Dog (Dakota North employee), Ricky North, S.J. North
Dakota North #1
Issue(s): Dakota North #1
Very chic, very unusual and interesting looking. But i never came across any of the issues and didn't know what it was or if it was a Marvel universe title. I did eventually meet Dakota North in what i thought, at the time, anyway, was a fairly uninteresting issue of Power Pack and so never went looking for these back issues until this project. North will later get more play in later books starting with the 90s Luke Cage series and then much later in Daredevil.
All you really need to know for the purposes of the larger Marvel universe is that Dakota North is a private detective and/or bodyguard.
I guess also that she has a brother named Ricky and a father, S.J..
Beyond that, as promised the series is very stylish or at least stylized.
Both writer Martha Thomases and artist Tony Salmons are not Marvel regulars (Salmons has already done a few things for Marvel; i don't know anything about Martha Thomases), and they turn in a quirky detective story.
North is called in to protect a fashion designer whose showroom has been vandalized. The story turns out to be more involved, and relates back to Dakota's fathers in ways we'll learn more about in future issues of this five issue bi-monthly series.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Another entry on Wizard's "famous worsts" list.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | December 7, 2013 8:25 PM
Didn't Tony Salmons do some GI Joe issues? The style seems super familiar.
Posted by: MikeCheyne | December 7, 2013 10:31 PM
Yes, looks like he did 4 scattered GI Joe issues and a back-up in an annual, all after this.
Posted by: fnord12 | December 7, 2013 11:08 PM
I've heard that DC considered Dakota North a ripoff of their Ms. Tree series. But I know so little about Dakota North, let alone Ms. Tree, that I'm not sure if there's anything to it.
Interesting that Marvel is publishing this and Misty around the same time: trying to branch out to older and younger female readers?
Posted by: Walter Lawson | December 8, 2013 2:44 AM
DC parodied the "Style" ad as seen here: http://www.thrillingdetective.com/tree.html
Posted by: Walter Lawson | December 8, 2013 2:47 AM
DC actually didn't publish Ms. Tree until some years after Dakota North ended. Ms. Tree was published by Eclipse, then (maybe)Aardvark-Vanaheim, then spent the longest time with Renegade after Deni Loubert split from Dave Sim. If anything, Dakota North actually had better art--Tree artist Terry Beatty was routinely slammed by nearly every comic critic back then. Tony Salmons took quite a lot of patience to get used to as well...
Posted by: Mark Drummond | December 8, 2013 2:58 AM
(My mistake: Ms. Tree was indie when the parody ad was made; it became a DC series in the early '90s,which was when I became dimly aware of it.)
Posted by: Walter Lawson | December 8, 2013 3:20 AM
Renegade put out the advertisement, as plainly shown in the advertisement itself.
Posted by: PB210 | December 8, 2013 3:39 AM
In the mid-eighties, right before Shooter was pushed out, Marvel was trying to publish a lot of non-superhero comics to expand the medium. Shooter offered to buy Harvey Comics (Caspar, Baby Huey, Richie Rich, Lil' Hot Stuff) but was turned down, so he established Star Comics instead. Strikeforce Morituri, a sci-fi comic, came out. The 'Nam was a war comic. And of course all the licensed comics - GI Joe, Transformers, and others. EPIC was publishing comics like Alien Legion, Dreadstar, and Swords of the Swashbucklers.
I think that got a lot of people into comics who otherwise wouldn't have bought. If it was not for GI Joe, I probably wouldn't have started. Years later, I had friends pick up The 'Nam. Very few of these comics would last long after Shooter left.
I think Dakota North was an attempt to do the same. I picked up the first issue, but wasn't interested in it. Too much of a set up issue instead of giving the reader something interesting. I was also both fascinated and repelled by Tony Salmons art. There was some power there, but not very attractive.
During the time of the series publishing, is there any hint it actually took place in the Marvel Universe? Or was that a decision later writers took to incorporate the character? Many of the non-superhero genre books at the time did not appear to be in-continuity (which I think was an asset to them).
Posted by: Chris | December 15, 2013 3:31 PM
Chris, nothing in issue #1 places it specifically in the Marvel universe. I'll call it out if i see anything in later issues.
Posted by: fnord12 | December 15, 2013 8:37 PM
I never understood why Marvel didn't publish these non-continuity books through Epic.
Posted by: ChrisKafka | December 15, 2013 8:45 PM
EPIC was for creator-owned comics specifically, not an imprint for non-superhero comics. I also can't ever remember seeing an EPIC comic in the news stands. I only saw them at the comic shops.
News stand distribution was still very important in the mid-eighties; Marvel would not begin the process of dividing up books between those that sold in both direct market and news stands and those that were comic shop only for several more years.
EPIC later started publishing some "mature" themed superhero books like Elektra: Assassin, but that was done purely to make the line more profitable for internal book keeping. EPIC was never originally designed to showcase standard Marvel heroes. Dakota North certainly wasn't one of them.
Posted by: Chris | December 17, 2013 8:27 PM
Dakota North does eventually become part of the Marvel Universe as she appears in Web of Spider-Man #37, cover dated Apr 1988.
Posted by: Haywerth | December 29, 2013 2:41 PM
Haywerth, the question Chris was raising was does anything in the original Dakota North series indicate that it was meant to take place in the Marvel universe. I've read the whole series now and i can say that there was nothing that specifically placed it there (but also nothing that specifically contradicted the idea). More when i add the entry for those issues soon.
Posted by: fnord12 | December 29, 2013 11:13 PM
Oh, my mistake. Thanks for the clarification.
Posted by: Haywerth | December 30, 2013 6:51 AM
Marvel ran another ad for this title claiming it was "in the tradition of Modesty Blaise and Miami Vice!" I doubt the title character had stubble or ever let her boobs out, though.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 10, 2014 6:30 PM
Comments are now closed.
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