The Decade Every Super Hero Got a Jacket (For Some Reason)
See the top 10 Marvel jackets of the inimitable 1990s!
Like giant disco collars and mullets before them, jackets became the number one Super Hero fashion statement of the ever-lovin' 1990s.
Sure, they’d been around in the Marvel Universe going way back—sometimes the Thing tossed on a classic trench to cover his rocky visage or the Punisher wore a coat to conceal that terrifying emblem on his chest—but in the most neon of decades, it seemed like every single Super Hero made the distinct choice to incorporate jackets into their fighting togs.
Great hero jackets come in all shapes and sizes. From long and flowy to high and tight, they all share one beautiful quality in common: they are definitely jackets. So, to celebrate we're running down a list of our favorite bejacketed Super Hero looks of the 1990s!
(By the way, prepare to read the word "jacket" a lot in this article. This is going to be the "I am Groot" of no interest in looking up synonyms for "jacket." Okay. You've been warned.)
First up: the undeniably classic combo of big jacket and petty criminal.
The X-Men and their pals could fill an entire list of incredible outerwear themselves, but it’s impossible to think about coated characters and not immediately have Gambit come to mind! Debuting at the very beginning of the decade on the cover of UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #266, he became a fan favorite thanks in part to his cool look and even cooler 'tude, dude!
Remy turned out to be so attached to the garment that he wore it on the outside of the blue and gold uniforms the team switched to not long after, and he still wears it to this day. It probably smells like gumbo and desire. Unique!
Even the top team in the land got excited about outerwear in the '90s! These jackets came in a variety of Earth tones, ranging from brown to dark brown. In AVENGERS (1963) #346, both Crystal and Sersi sported team jackets on a mission to the Kree throneworld during the OPERATION: GALACTIC STORM crossover. And from that point on, jackets seemed fair game for anyone on the squad.
Black Knight and Black Widow joined the trend, with Dane Whitman ditching his cape while he was at it. Natasha's grey costume was even recently immortalized in toy form! When I say Jackets, you say Jackets! Jackets!
When vampire hunter Blade debuted in the '70s, he rocked an iconic jacket. Then, after gunning for Dracula throughout the decade, he disappeared for a while only to pop back up in the '90s with a bold new look featuring a very metal leather jacket!
Sure, it functioned as a kind of flexible armor against stray bites, but also helped intimidate enemies during his appearances in the RISE OF THE MIDNIGHT SONS books, including his co-starring turn in the jacket-filled NIGHTSTALKERS (1992), which would be the iconography that influenced his big and small screen looks down the line!
The Fantastic Four
The early '90s were a tough time for Marvel's First Family in the fashion department. In ish #371, Sue Richards received a costume update that followed another specific trend: Less Fabric. And in that same issue, Reed donned a more functional—but rather unappealing—vest of many pockets. Sue must've gotten sick of the draft because she occasionally wore a bomber jacket, while Johnny wore an FF jacket while in his non-flame form and Ben resorted to wearing a metal mask to cover his ravaged face.
We bet the family photos from that era are in a box somewhere in the basement. And not on the mantle.
Even the undead got in on the jacket action.
A year after forming the Secret Defenders, Doctor Strange passed the leadership reigns to Dr. Druid, who then recruited Deadpool, Luke Cage, and Shadowoman to stop the sorceress Malachi’s reformation of the Moebius Stone. And after you're done rereading that sentence for comprehension, you will now learn that she briefly succeeded in her quest, and then the artifact’s protector took over the body of a young man named Cody, who had his life essence sucked out by Malachi moments before. Okay, comic books!
Calling himself Cadaver, this figure could pull a nearly indestructible sword from his own chest and began his own weird journey as an undead hero...with a very cool leather jacket covering his gross flesh!
Speaking of the on-and-off-again Hero for Hire, Luke underwent a costume change in the '90s to coincide with his new solo series CAGE (1992). As shown on the first issue’s cover, Luke eschewed the headband, yellow shirt, and chain belt in exchange for dark pants, boots, a different metal belt, and a red t-shirt under, you guessed it, a beautiful jacket.
Close cropped, the jacket told everyone that this was a new Cage for a new era. Though he’s gone back to versions of that classic '70s look, he’s also maintained a more casual approach to heroism since going the jacket route. Looking to reinvent your image? Go buy a jacket!
Though Major Victory may have looked like a full-on '80s New Jersey rocker in the first volume of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, he actually hailed from the far future! We won't get into the mind-bending continuity of the whole thing (already getting flashbacks to sucking the life essence out of a dude named Cody), but will note that, once Vance Astrovik no longer needed a containment suit to stay alive, he decided to pay homage to two important things: Captain America and rad, flowing jackets with no sleeves!
He would go on to wear this jacket through much of the rest of the series, which in our opinion was a major victory for Major Victory...and jackets!
The '90s were a time of great upheaval. Some heroes lost their minds, while others seemed to cede their very names to completely different characters. In DOCTOR STRANGE, SORCERER SUPREME (1988) #76, readers met a much younger, hipper version of the character, who called himself "Dr. Stevens" and rocked an elegant long jacket that appeared to be made from the Cloak of Levitation. Think Stefan Urquelle instead of Steve Urkel. 1990s.
A far more familiar looking Doctor Strange took over in issue #80, but decided to keep that sweet jacket. Eventually, Strange transitioned to his more traditional look, but you just know he still wears something similar to that jacket when taking an autumn stroll around the Village.
For a guy who began his hero career in the 1950s, Jack Monroe sure took quickly to the anti-establishment leather jacket, shades, and shoulder-length hair popular with metalheads and bikers in the '80s and '90s! You can actually see the change in CAPTAIN AMERICA ANNUAL (1971) #9, but he didn't quite get to the jacket until the NOMAD ongoing launched in 1992. For the rest of the decade, though, he looked very cool while taking on real-world troubles and also raising a kid named Bucky! Nomad? More like you're mad because you've never looked this cool! Sorry bub, had to!
Like Gambit, there's one other major mutant you think of when you consider quality '90s jackets, and of course it's Jubilation Lee!
Yes Jubilee was sporting a sweet jacket when she debuted in UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #244, but not the one you're thinking of. That would come later and quickly cemented itself as iconic, starting with issue #257. She even carried her statement piece over to GENERATION X (1994) when she joined that squad and began wearing the team's red-and-yellow themed costumes! Though styles have changed, Jubilee can still usually be found wearing some sort of yellow jacket to pay homage to the look made even more famous by X-Men The Animated Series!
Read all of these mags on Marvel Unlimited now, then stay tuned to Marvel.com for more! Pax et Justitia!
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