Who Are Marvel’s

Cloak and Dagger?

By Matthew Arcilla

Outside of underwhelming disappointments like Netflix’s The Defenders and outright duds like ABC’s The Inhumans, pretty much everything Marvel is enjoying tremendous success on the big screen and small. While the Marvel movies are the obvious winners here, even lesser talked about productions like  Freeform’s Runaways and ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have loyal and devoted fanbases.

That’s the kind of success that Freeform is hoping for with Cloak and Dagger, a new teenage drama that brings over a pair of heroes with a unique standing in Marvel Comics. Starring Aubrey Joseph and Olivia Holt, Cloak and Dagger commits to some of the most intriguing aspects of the characters such as their deep superhuman bond and pains inflicted by drug abuse.

Here are 8 things you might want to know about Cloak and Dagger, how they were introduced to the Marvel Universe, their unique origins and some of the most noteworthy conflicts and struggles they’ve wrestled with throughout their history.

8. Comic Book History

The characters first appeared in a 1982 issue of the Spectacular Spider-Man, credited to writer Bill Mantlo and artist Ed Hannigan. After a few additional appearances, they received their own four-issue limited series, followed by an ongoing series in 1985. They rarely fought flashy, costumed supervillains  and instead clashed with organized drug dealers and their tendency to prey on youths like themselves.


7. Inspiration

Bill Mantlo, a highly prolific writer at Marvel who could quickly write up fill-in stories when other writers fell behind, said the inspiration for the characters came to him when visiting Ellis Island. Mantlo said, “They came in the night, when all was silent and my mind was blank. They embodied between them all that fear and misery, hunger and longing that had haunted me on Ellis Island.”


6. Ty Johnson

In the comics, Cloak was born Tyrone Johnson. Known as “Ty,” he had a stuttering affliction that kept him from speaking up to prevent a personal tragedy. Filled with grief and guilt, he ran away from home and found himself in Manhattan, where he was ready to turn to stealing to survive. There he ran into…


5. Tandy Bowen

…a fellow runaway. Bowen had a privileged upbringing as the daughter of multimillionaires, but her parents had little time for her. She ran away from home to try to make it big in New York. A thief tried to snatch her purse, but Ty helped her and the two became friends.

4. Origin via Drugs

It wasn’t long before the homeless teens met a chemist named Simon Marshall. Marshall was luring kids to his lab with promises of food and shelter, but was using them as test subjects for a synthetic heroin he was developing for the mob.


3. Cloak and Darkness

With the power to tap into the energies of the Darkforce dimension, Tyrone became Cloak. These energies at their mildest leave one cold and drained, while at their worst can drive one insane and even kill. Cloak’s directed use of the Darkforce lets him become intangible, engulf objects and teleport. Cloak must constantly receive light energy from Dagger lest the darkness consume him.


2. Daggers and Light

Tandy has the ability to create light daggers at will, which she hurls at her foes. These daggers drain enemies of their vitality and can also cure ailments. She has also become extremely agile and possesses a danger sense. As a counterpart to Cloak, Dagger can also generate and manipulate light. If she goes too long without using her powers, she will involuntarily discharge light energy.


1. Their Place In The Universe

Although the films and television have a rather tentative relationship, Marvel executive Jeph Loeb has confirmed that Cloak & Dagger exists in the same universe shared by ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Netflix’s Defenders television franchise and the Avengers movies, alongside last year’s Runaways, also on Freeform. That’s right, Cloak & Dagger have taken their first steps into a crowded universe.


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