It’s tough keeping up with Marvel’s thousands of characters, a history spanning almost 80 years, and a movie catalogue which due to licensing rights has pushed some of the lesser known characters to the forefront! But soon two of Marvel’s iconic ’80s hallmarks, Cloak and Dagger, are coming to our television screens in a new series, and so we thought that we’d look back at their history and introduce you to the dynamic pair who are the rare mutants whose whole lives aren’t defined by the Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. In fact, Cloak and Dagger have long been on the outskirts of the Marvel Universe, but with their new TV show on the horizon that will likely change.
Created by Bill Mantlo and Ed Hannigan, the team of Ty Johnson and Tandy Bowen first appeared in 1982’s Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #64 as antagonists for the friendly neighborhood hero. They attempted to get some deadly vigilante justice on the drug dealer who experimented on them and gave them their superpowers. The pair’s power sets are a juxtaposition of each other with Tyrone, a.k.a. Cloak, becoming engulfed in a smoky darkness which he hid within a vast cloak which was later revealed to be the Darkforce. This darkness gave him a hunger which only subsided when he was close to Tandy. Usefully, Ty also found he could transport himself and others through his cloak. Tandy, a.k.a.Dagger, became a shining bright light who could control the luminescence that she gave off. The pair realized they could utilize their powers to fight the men who’d hurt them, with Cloak consuming the henchmen in his darkness whilst Dagger attacked them with shards of light.
Like many characterizations from older comics, Cloak and Dagger weren’t without their problems. Cloak was a poor street kid who fit a lot of outdated stereotypes, and his powers seemed pretty problematic when you laid them all out. Dagger was a beautiful, rich teenage girl in a very poorly designed costume. This questionable combination was perfectly taken down in Kate Beaton’s fantastic comic strip Hark! A Vagrant.
However, the characters still gained a following, and after more guest appearances in Spectacular Spider-Man–including a battle with the Punisher–they were given their own four issue self-titled miniseries. The vigilante pair headed to Hell’s Kitchen and took sanctuary in a church where they tried to figure out a way to rid the city of drug dealers with the police on their tails. When a showdown between the goth teen duo, NYPD, and local crims led to the death of an innocent man, the pair began to question their motives. But for many comic fans, their first interaction with Ty and Tandy was alongside X-Men proteges the New Mutants in Marvel Team-Up #6, in which the pair lost their powers to Sunspot and Wolfsbane, after the men who gave Cloak and Dagger their powers attempted to control the New Mutants by injecting them with the same drug that ignited Ty and Tandy’s story.
Cloak and Dagger then began to appear in multiple Marvel comics and even events like Secret Wars. It was also during this time that Cloak and Dagger discovered that they were actually mutants, hence why they were able to survive the experiments that led to their latent mutant powers being activated. Even with this discovery, though, the teens turned down a place at Xavier’s School, preferring to stick together and follow their own path. This path even led to Cloak to take part in the Infinity Gauntlet event, which saw him team up with Adam Warlock to defeat Thanos after he clicked his fingers and killed half of the universe. Cloak even managed to consume Thanos with his cloak, but the Mad Titan escaped by destroying Ty and his portal into the Darkforce. Thankfully, he was later resurrected by Nebula when she gained the Infinity Gauntlet.
By this point Cloak and Dagger had been the stars of more than one self-titled series, and were recurring characters in the Marvel Universe. They teamed up with Spider-Man once again to defeat the serial killer symbiote Carnage in Maximum Carnage. Dagger appeared to die in the early story but was later revealed to be recuperating in Ty’s cloak dimension. Dagger later became a member of the Marvel Knights team, during which time she became really close with her teammate Natasha Romanov. With the pair split up, Ty lost control and began consuming any and all “evildoers” that he came across, accidentally consuming most of the Marvel Knights team until Tandy managed to absorb his powers and save the day.
In Runaways, the pair were hired by a Pride-controlled L.A.P.D. to catch the errant teen heroes. But after realizing they’d been used, Cloak and Dagger vowed to help the kids. Alas, their minds were erased of all the memories regarding the Pride or the Runaways, so they could never return to help them. The pair were even involved in Civil War–on Captain America’s side–and Secret Invasion when Cloak was called on by Luke Cage. When Norman Osborn built the Dark X-Men he recruited the pair, who eventually ended up joining the real X-Men for a short time. In the Spider-Island event, Mister Negative discovered a prophecy stating that he would be killed by Dagger, so he kidnapped her. This led to the pair’s powers to be switched, though it’s revealed the pairs powers were always meant be with Tandy channeling the darkness and Ty shining the light.
Cloak and Dagger returned in 2015’s Amazing Spider-Man, and are still a vibrant part of the MU with a brand new surprise digital series announced earlier today, with Cloak and Dagger #1 available now! We know that the show will invert the origins of the cult characters, with Tandy being a pickpocket and Ty being a wealthy jock, and we can’t wait to see how else they do with Marvel’s forgotten mutants.
Will you be tuning in to the new Freeform show? Just want more teen heroes on your TV? Never knew that Norman Osborn ran the X-Men? Let us know below!
Images: Disney, Freeform, Marvel, HarkAVagrant.com
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