Publication Date: 7th Sep 2023
Written By: Monolith.
Image Work: Douglas Mangum.


Tyrone Johnson came from South Boston, Massachusetts. Tandy Bowen grew up in Shaker Heights, outside of Cleveland, Ohio. Their lives were as different as night and day, but their stories mirrored each other just the same.

Despite his poor upbringing and the many challenges of life in the inner city, Tyrone Johnson was an exceptional youth. He pushed himself in school and also had the potential for a basketball scholarship. However, he was deeply withdrawn socially because of a stammer that prevented him, more often than not, from enunciating his words clearly. His best friend Billy provided Tyrone a sympathetic ear, and promised him he'd get by so long as he had Billy as an interpreter.

One day, Tyrone and Billy witnessed a convenience store robbery. The robber shot the clerk when he tried to pursue him, and the man fell backwards from the gunshot and died in Billy's arms. Billy told Tyrone they had to get out of there, and started running away. A police officer arrived on the scene and assumed Billy was the perpetrator. He yelled for Billy to "Stop!" and prepared to fire. Ty tried to speak up and explain Billy was innocent, but his stutter kept him from speaking fast enough. Billy was shot dead by the officer, killed by a bullet to the back. Tyrone blamed himself and ran away from Boston out of grief and guilt.

Knowing she was a stereotype of the "poor little rich girl" didn't help Tandy Bowen's feelings. Her father abandoned his family to "seek enlightenment" in the Far East, leaving her mother the full family estate. Tandy was deeply in need of her mother's love after her father left, but Melissa Bowen preferred the life of a starlet to paying any attention to her daughter. Tandy was distraught when making the lead in her dance recital still wasn't enough to get her mother's affection. Her mother's new husband, Philip Carlisle, was genuinely willing to support Tandy, but the love of a step-father wasn't a replacement in Tandy's mind for her real parents.

Tandy's need for affection drove her into the arms of an older boy, Rob Daltry. Tandy initially rejected Rob's advances, correctly recognizing he only wanted one thing from her. When her mother refused to even try to appear for the recital, however, Rob was there to comfort Tandy when she needed it. She let herself be convinced that at least Rob cared about her, and slept with him. Three weeks later, Rob hadn't spoken to her again and went off to college without a backwards glance. Feeling used, embarrassed and alone, Tandy ran away from Shaker Heights. [Cloak & Dagger (1st series) #4]

At the Port Authority bus terminal near Times Square, Tyrone and Tandy arrived in the big city with nowhere to go. Tyrone spotted Tandy and (although he had never committed a crime before) considered stealing her purse in order to have money for food. Another kid grabbed Tandy's purse before Tyrone and started to make off with it. Acting instinctively, Tyrone tackled the purse-snatcher and returned Tandy's belongings to her. Out of gratitude, she treated him to a meal and the lost teens traded stories as they got to know each other. When Tandy tried to offer Tyrone money for a room that night, he refused, feeling guilty for wanting to steal from her earlier.

Outside the diner, a group of chicken-hawks approached the duo and offered to set them up with a place to stay. Tyrone was suspicious of the gang but, when the naive Tandy agreed to go with them, he felt he had no choice but to tag along.  Tyrone hoped to find an opening to make an escape with Tandy, but the gang kept them tightly corralled until they reached the waterfront at Battery Park. The chicken-hawks roughed up the teenagers at that point, forcing them on a boat out to the abandoned Ellis Island complex. There, Tandy and Tyrone were locked up with other runaways pulled from the streets as test subjects.

A pharmaceutical chemist for the mob named Simon Marshall was working on a synthetic alternative to heroin, hoping to create a drug that gave the same "high" but was cheap and easy to make with domestic products. Tandy and Tyrone's bodies were injected with Marshall's new drug and they were left to stew as the chemist charted the effects. His experiments killed countless runaways and homeless procured for him by his thugs. Tandy and Tyrone were surrounded by the dead and the dying as everyone else succumbed to the drug's disastrous effects. Realizing they were dead one way or another, Tyrone prepared to make a break for it and get Tandy to whatever relative safety he could. A rotting wall allowed him to break open a barred window, and he half-carried Tandy towards the water. The mobsters shot at Tyrone and Tandy as they dove into the bay and left them to die of drowning, exposure or bullet wounds.

Out in the water, Tandy and Tyrone began to flush hot and cold as a strange transformation came over both of them. Tyrone started to leak shadows from his body, while Tandy began glowing as bright as the sun. Only by coming together were they able to contain the changes happening to their bodies; light and darkness working together. Tyrone found the shadows leaking from his body hard to contain, so he grabbed several yards of discarded cloth to cover himself once they got back to dry land.  By happenstance, Tyrone and Tandy ran into the same chicken-hawks who turned them over to the mob. No longer helpless, they struck back against their oppressors with their new powers, and so were born Cloak and Dagger, the Darklight Vigilantes.

Tyrone and Tandy were greatly transformed by their experience. As Cloak, Tyrone's stammer was gone, and he no longer needed food or sleep as his body adjusted itself into a living void to the Dark Dimension now contained within the confines of his cloak. Instead of food, he felt a hunger for the lifeforce of other people, feeling urges to draw them into his darkness and feed off of their living "light." As Dagger, Tandy now had light to spare. Her life energy expressed itself as a brilliant radiance that emanated from her skin. Her daggers of light could be used as weapons, but also enabled her to feed Cloak so he didn't prey on innocent people. Dagger felt she owed Cloak her life for saving her from Ellis Island, and their friendship deepened into both a partnership and even a symbiosis as the days passed. [Cloak and Dagger (1st series) #4, Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man (1st series) #64]

Before they fully embraced their new role as vigilantes, Tandy and Tyrone continued trying just to stay alive on the streets of New York. Managing Tyrone’s urges was a struggle for Tandy. Her light would intensify with time but, at first, satiating Tyrone could leave her cold and empty inside. It seemed like a miracle when they met another street kid with powers named Grey, whose living fog could also be used to calm Tyrone down, taking the burden off of Tandy. Grey was charismatic and accustomed to life on the streets. He swept up “TnT” in his carefree lifestyle for a few weeks. Grey was a predator, though, using his mind-numbing fog to make Cloak fade away so that he could feast on Dagger’s light himself. When he made his move, they finally realized what was happening and Tyrone swallowed Grey into his cloak to protect Tandy. Cloak released Grey as a desiccated, grey-skinned corpse and Tyrone and Tandy were horrified to realize just how dangerous Cloak’s appetite could be. [Cloak and Dagger (4th series) #1-3]

Hardened further by their experience with Grey, Tandy and Tyrone began training in earnest to become real vigilantes and use their powers to strike at those who hurt them. Cloak and Dagger decided to take revenge on Simon Marshall, for themselves and for all the runaways who were unable to escape. Using their powers, they chased Marshall over the rooftops of New York. As fate would have it, Marshall attracted the attention of the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. He begged Spider-Man to save him from Cloak and Dagger. High on the power of their new abilities, Tyrone and Tandy refused to explain themselves to the web-slinger, sparking a conflict. Despite his agility, the partners managed to neutralize Spider-Man with Cloak's dark void and a jolt of Dagger's light-knives. With a flurry of light daggers, Tandy overwhelmed Simon Marshall's lifeforce, causing him to experience a fatal shock to his system. Their victim dead, Cloak and Dagger teleported away, with a parting apology to Spider-Man.

Their next move was to gather up all the mobsters who were present on Ellis Island that fateful night. Spider-Man had tracked Marshall's activities to Ellis Island, and eavesdropped as the teenagers and their captives related the story. Although he felt for their plight, Spider-Man couldn't let the runaways continue as murderers, and another fight broke out. During the struggle, the mobsters ripped free of their bonds and tried to take Dagger hostage. Cloak enveloped them in the folds of his cape, swallowing them into the endless darkness. He provided them a small glimpse at the way out but, as they rushed towards the light, the mobsters failed to realize it was a window. Crashing through the glass, they fell five stories and died on the stone below. Cloak and Dagger teleported away again, leaving Spider-Man behind, the vigilantes not allies, nor truly enemies. [Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man (1st series) #64]

Cloak and Dagger chose to expand their mission after that night, becoming protectors of all the runaways of New York City, and fighting to destroy the drug trade entirely. Cloak needed their mission, for it provided an outlet for his hunger and an excuse to remain with Dagger, who he had come to greatly care for. Dagger had come down from the initial rush of their powers, however, and still occasionally dreamed of returning to an ordinary life. Still, she remained with Cloak out of loyalty, and a sense of duty to help others like her.

After attacking a group of street pushers, Cloak and Dagger learned the name of Silvermane, the Maggia don who coordinated much of the city's drug trade. Spider-Man caught wind of their activities and tried to stop them. He feared a pair of teenagers, however powerful, wouldn't survive a conflict with Silvermane and the entire mob. Cloak and Dagger actually managed to outwit and outmaneuver Spider-Man, though. Knowing Spider-Man would want to protect Silvermane from them (and vice versa), they allowed Spidey to lead them to their target. In a three-way fight between Spider-Man, Cloak and Dagger, and Silvermane's guards, Dagger got a clear shot at the aging and bedridden don, but Spider-Man intercepted her daggers. Paralyzed by her power, Spider-Man couldn't stop Dagger from striking a second time, at Cloak's urgings. In a blast of living light, Silvermane was seemingly killed. [Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man (1st series) #69]

As Cloak and Dagger departed, however, a mafia doctor arrived to salvage Silvermane's life. The guards kept Spider-Man busy while Silvermane's dying body was extracted and placed into a cybernetic exoskeletal frame and life support system. Thirsty for revenge, Silvermane hunted down the pushers who sold him out to Cloak and Dagger and then the vigilantes themselves. Spider-Man got involved again, and a battle occurred in the New York subway system. Cloak was forced to pass an entire subway train through the Dark Dimension, draining his strength and leaving him vulnerable to Silvermane. Spider-Man got the weakened Cloak out of the way, leaving Dagger once more to face Silvermane. The don's cybernetic power did little to alter the outcome of their second encounter. Summoning the full force of her living light, Dagger caused Silvermane's life essence to flare up and burn out his life support circuitry, once again leaving the drug czar for dead. [Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man (1st series) #70]

As their powers grew, so too did their mandate. Dagger learned that her light-knives could purge the taint of drugs from addicts' systems, allowing them to save users as well as punish pushers. Saving criminals wasn't part of the Punisher's mandate, however. The extremist vigilante used Cloak and Dagger as his stalking horse in his war against the Kingpin, just as they once used Spider-Man to find Silvermane. Punisher deliberately left some of his junkie victims alive so they would reveal Kingpin as their source to Cloak and Dagger. The partners swore to kill Kingpin as they did Silvermane. Just as before, Spider-Man interceded and tried to protect Kingpin from being murdered. The other vigilantes unwittingly softened up Kingpin's protection so the Punisher could move in alone. However, Kingpin beat Punisher and fled before Cloak and Dagger could make their own strike against him. [Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man (1st series) #81-82]

Restless from their mission, Cloak and Dagger finally sought sanctuary at the Holy Ghost Church on 42nd Street near Times Square, their typical hunting grounds. Father Francis Xavier Delgado accepted their petition for sanctuary, but he struggled with their violent self-appointed mission. Cloak and Dagger also made a contact in the police with Detective Brigid O'Reilly. A fight broke out when the vigilantes pursued a gang of chicken-hawks to rescue some runaways they absconded with. One of the runaways was shot and killed in the melee, just as Detective O'Reilly burst onto the scene. She condemned Cloak and Dagger for their brash tactics and tried to arrest them for the boy's death. Cloak instead teleported away to console the heartbroken Dagger over their failure. [Cloak and Dagger (1st series) #1]

Some, such as Spider-Man and Father Delgado, denounced Cloak for having a hold over Dagger, influencing her into staying with him and indulging his violent urges. In fact, Tyrone hated being dependent on "feeding" on Tandy's light, and suffered his hungers longer than necessary in order to avoid draining her. This "fasting" would have long-term effects on his sanity (not to mention his irritability). Dagger, meanwhile, naively explored the upper limits of her powers. After cleansing a sex worker of the addictions that tied her to her pimp, Dagger tried to cure a woman of cyanide poisoning from tainted drug store medicine... after the woman had already died. The light she released was beautiful and intoxicating, and Dagger even thought she felt the woman's soul (although far away), but she was unsuccessful in resurrecting the dead. Even the attempt was a miraculous showing for Father Delgado, whose appreciation for Dagger only grew.

Cloak and Dagger attempted to ingratiate themselves with Detective O'Reilly by offering to help catch the cyanide killer who was leaving tainted bottles of medicine around the city in drug stores. O'Reilly reluctantly agreed to work with the vigilantes and gave them her best guess as to the next drug store the killer would visit, unprepared for Cloak to teleport himself and Dagger immediately to the scene, leaving her to catch up. A furious Dagger found the killer swapping a bottle of children's aspirin this time, and turned Cloak's darkness loose on the man. Brigid arrived in time to see the man being swallowed up, and insisted on letting the law and justice stand before retribution. However, by trying to pull the killer loose from Cloak's folds she nearly became his second victim. Dagger pulled Detective O'Reilly free, but their shaky alliance began to collapse as Cloak refused to disgorge his prey. [Cloak and Dagger (1st series) #2]

A rift began to grow between Tyrone and Tandy as Dagger calmed down enough to suggest trying things Brigid's way, and turn the killer over to the law. Cloak's bitterness over the law's failure to protect them as runaways (not to mention his ever-growing hunger) led him to reject Dagger's pleas. Cloak turned from Dagger and her light, deciding he no longer needed to feed on her lifeforce when there were a plentitude of less deserving souls in the city for him to feast on. Let Dagger keep her light, Cloak thought, while he took it from the undeserving. Cloak was unprepared for Dagger's own stubbornness, however, for Tandy began sending out her light-daggers into the city, guided by their symbiotic connection to seek out Cloak and feed him the light she felt that he needed. The strain of casting her light over such a distance was more draining than ever before, however. 

Physically exhausted and deprived of the light she still needed to survive herself, Tandy collapsed into Father Delgado's arms. Dagger's selfless devotion to Cloak continued to move Delgado, who marveled at the girl's purity. On the other hand, he saw Cloak more and more as a monster whose influence was ruining Dagger, despite Cloak being oblivious to her plight. Father Delgado rushed Dagger to the hospital after she collapsed a second time from depleting her lifeforce. Meanwhile, Cloak and Brigid O'Reilly had an encounter with thieves at the Holy Ghost Church. Cloak took a bullet meant for O'Reilly, and the two reached a temporary understanding. Cloak finally dispelled the cyanide killer from his cloak, deeply in shock but essentially still alive and ready to be arrested. Tyrone also learned about Tandy's condition and how she had suffered in his absence. [Cloak and Dagger (1st series) #3]

At the hospital, Cloak and O'Reilly found Father Delgado watching over Dagger's bedside. Cloak ignored his hunger long enough to expel the light Dagger had been feeding to him over the distance, restoring her health and awakening her from her faint. The four of them transported back to the Holy Ghost Church, where Cloak and Dagger told the detective and the priest the full story of their transformation into super-powered vigilantes. After that, neither the Lord nor the Law wanted to sit in judgment of their mission, and Cloak and Dagger had the allies they desired in their quest. [Cloak and Dagger (1st series) #4]