Updated: Jun 30, 2018
With the recent critical success of Marvel's Cloak and Dagger on Freeform, the show has led to some questions about the comic book origins of these new street-level heroes. Who are Cloak and Dagger? What are their powers? What draws them to each other? Not to worry, I have done the comic book digging for you, so sit back, grab a cup of coffee, and learn about these two fascinating Marvel Heroes.
First appearing in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man Issue 64, Cloak and Dagger are going after a Pharmacist named Simon Marshall, that Spider-Man just so happened to hear screaming for help. Just as Spider-Man comes to the aid of Simon Marshall, his spider-sense triggers for the arrival of Cloak and Dagger. Their primary mission is not to apprehend Simon Marshall but to kill him. Cloak and Dagger are seeking revenge. In 1983, Cloak and Dagger received a self-titled mini solo series of 4 issues. The fourth issue is where we learn the full origin of Tyrone and Tandy.
Tandy Bowen is a beautiful 16-year-old girl who loves to dance. Her mother was a famous supermodel that was always off making money. She never had time to see Tandy at her dance recitals or practices. Tandy's father left her mother when Tandy was young. The only father she knew was her stepdad, Phil. Tandy didn't like Phil. She missed her birth father and hated Phil for marrying her mother. Tandy never felt loved by her parents, so she looked for love from her classmate, Rob Daltry. Rob was just another older boy who only wanted one thing. Rob left to college three weeks after being with Tandy and never looked back. Because Tandy did not receive any love from her home in the wealthy suburbs of Cleveland, Tandy decided to move to New York to pursue dancing.
Tyrone Johnson was a young man in projects of South Boston. Tyrone had excelled in sports but had a stutter. The stutter became a wedge in Tyrone's academics and his ability to communicate with others. He had one friend named, Billy. Tyrone and Billy were very close. They went everywhere together and played basketball together.
One day while walking home from school, the two boys were witness to a corner store mugging. The thief ran right through Billy and Tyrone, turned around and shot the store owner chasing him. "We gotta get outta here!" Billy tells Tyrone as he turns to run. The cops who were in pursuit of the criminal see Billy running and commands that he stop running. Just before Tyrone could say anything, the police officers shoot Billy right in the back. Tyrone believes that his stutter cost him his friend's life. Just after the incident, he left Boston to start a new life in New York.
Tyrone and Tandy get off their buses at the same time in New York City. With no money in his pocket and a hungry belly, Tyrone's eye catches a glimpse of the wealthy Tandy. He follows her thinking of a way that he could take her purse to support himself. Just before he could make his move, someone else made a move on Tandy's purse. The Thief ran away from Tandy as fast as could, and Tyrone immediately sprinted after him. Tackling the thief to the ground, Tyrone was able to give Tandy her purse back. Tandy then decided to take Tyrone out for a burger to thank him. The two exchanged stories and had become new friends in a new city.
After Tyrone and Tandy left the burger stand, they were met with a group of shady characters that claimed to want to give them a place to stay for free. They skeptically agreed to go with the shady characters to see what they had to offer. Just as they walked up to a boat on the river, one of the shady characters hit Tyrone over the head knocking him out and forced Tandy into the vessel.
The boat took Tyrone and Tandy to Ellis Island where the group had been kidnapping runaways to experiment on them. They were given an experimental drug called D-Lite. It was supposed to be a cheaper substitute for heroin. The mob tasked pharmacist Simon Marshall to create the drug for them. While many runaways were given the drug during testing, none of them survived. One night after being injected Tyrone and Tandy found the strength to pull on some decaying mortar to escape. The two risked their lives swimming to the shore.
As they swam, the two began to feel odd symptoms of the drug. Tandy grew warm while Tyrone started to freeze. Tyrone lost vision in surrounding darkness. Tandy began to shine brightly and Tyrone used Tandy's light to guide him to shore. Together they were able to make it back to Manhattan.
Powers and Abilities
After that fateful night, Tyrone's body had faded into shadow and Tandy shined bright. Tyrone embarrassed by this covered his body with a cloak he found in an alley. Just as Tyrone covered himself, the Shady characters that kidnapped them walked down the same alley. They wanted to take them back to Simon Marshall on Ellis Island. Tyrone and Tandy tried to fight back, but strange things started to happen. Tyrone's cloak began to envelop the criminals into itself. Tandy, trying to protect Tyrone, threw her hand up at them to watch daggers of light shoot from her fingertips killing the group. That night they swore to stop drug trafficking for good. There they became Cloak and Dagger.
Cloak's powers stem from the Darkforce dimension. His body is a direct connection to the dimension allowing him to teleport and communicate with darkness. Tyrone's Darkforce connection feeds on his body and the light in it. Darkforce itself is all-encompassing. It feeds on everything that holds life and light.
Dagger hold Lifeforce within her body. This enables her to create psionic light blades that she can throw. Her Lifeforce abilities also allow her to heal drug addiction and dispel corruption within the people she touches. Tandy's body is always absorbing Lifeforce to the point that if she does not use her powers, she will become brighter and become hotter. If she doesn't use her skills for a prolonged period, her body will expel light on its own.
Cloak's ever-consuming darkness is cold and hungry. Dagger's life-giving light is ever burning. The two heroes balance each other out. Cloak feeds off of Dagger's lifeforce to sustain each other. They powers create balance just like good and evil.
Comics to Read
Cloak and Dagger comics talk about mature content for younger crowds. Subjects like running away from home, drugs, and good vs. evil. Cloak and Dagger reside in churches when they stay in cities for a prolonged time. Here is a list of comic collections to get your fill on the balancing act heroes.
Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man.
Cloak and Dagger (1983)
Cloak and Dagger: Runaways and Reversal
Cloak and Dagger: Spider-Island
Cloak and Dagger (2018)
While the comic book and television versions are different, the core plot remains the same. Cloak and Dagger represent yin and yang in the world. Their story is all about keeping that balance and working together to achieve goals. When you finish reading Cloak and Dagger, then it's time to check out Cloak and Dagger on Freeform.