Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger, also known as the “divine pairing”, are two human mutates that debuted back in 1982 in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #64 (March 1982) and although they have been present in the comics for three decades now, it wasn’t until the TV show premiered that the two characters actually became more popular and known among the public. The TV show followed the general outline of their adventures; it wasn’t a direct adaptation of the comic book stories, and that is why I decided to clarify one of the elements in today’s article.
In the comic books, Cloak and Dagger never actually truly dated, but a weird twist from the Spider-Island storyline actually had them kiss and develop a short romantic relationship. Still, the circumstances of that storyline are so bizarre that we cannot consider it a real relationship.
Today’s article is going to be about the nature of the relationship between Tyrone Johnson and Tandy Bowen, better known as Cloak and Dagger, respectively. You’re going to find out just how deep their relationship is and whether it ever had any romantic elements or not. Enjoy!
How were Cloak and Dagger created?
Cloak is the superhero alter ego of one Tyrone “Ty” Johnson, while Dagger is the superhero alter ego of one Tandy Bowen. They are two human mutates with exceptional powers that initially appeared as an aide to other Marvel’s superheroes or groups before getting their own series and adventures, separate from other superheroes.
The writer behind the pair, Bill Mantlo, said this about their creation: “They came in the night, when all was silent and my mind was blank. They came completely conceived as to their powers and attributes, their origin and motivation. They embodied between them all that fear and misery, hunger and longing that had haunted me on Ellis Island.”
Mantlo’s frequent collaborator, Ed Hannigan, designed Cloak and Dagger, and this is what he had to say about the idea behind their designs: “Bill had a short page or two synopses of the story that he showed me, and we discussed what the characters would look like. He gave me a lot of leeway, but it was fairly obvious that Cloak would be black and have a big ‘animated’ black cloak and Dagger would be white with a skintight leotard-type thing. I am not sure, but I think I might have come up with her ballet angle. I put the same kind of amulet/clasp on both costumes and came up with the dagger-shaped cutout on her costume, which was quite daring at the time.”
Both of these interviews are available in print, in Jason Shayer’s article “Cloak and Dagger: Child of Light and Child of Darkness”, published in Back Issue! #45 (pages 67–75).
Are Cloak and Dagger in love in the comics? Do they ever date?
For decades after their 1982 debut, Cloak and Dagger were just superheroes that targeted drug dealers, even when they got their own series. Although we did get some bits of information about their private lives from time to time, it wasn’t until decades later that the duo actually received actual private lives and these facts explained the true nature of their relationship to the readers.
As far as Cloak’s side of the story is concerned, he sort of loves Dagger – it’s not actually romantic love, but it’s very close – and generally cares for her and holds her in high regard. These emotions were also the reason that the two of them became close friends, as Dagger at one point realized that no one would love her and treat her like Dagger, which is why they became so co-dependent in future stories.
On the other hand, Dagger never really felt any love for Cloak. She considered him a close friend and she cared deeply for him, but she never felt the same way for him as he did for her. This resulted in the nature of their relationship being just friendly, which – in turn – means that the two of them never dated.
And that was true for most of their comic book appearances. Namely, after the events of Spider-Island: Cloak and Dagger #3, the two actually began a short relationship, which brings us to the next and final section.
Do Cloak and Dagger kiss in the comics?
You now know that for the most part, Cloak and Dagger have been just friends in the comics, but you also know that for a short period of time, the two actually dated. This happened after the above-mentioned storyline played out and here’s what actually happened.
The villainous Mister Negative, one of Spider-Man’s enemies, managed to corrupt Dagger as part of his villainous plan. The corruption was so strong that Dagger started dying, which prompted a quick reaction from Cloak. He apologized and then kissed Dagger for the first time since their debut. The kiss was a pivotal moment in their development as it not only changed the nature of their relationship, it also caused them to switch their powers for a brief period. Thus, Cloak became Dagger and Dagger became Cloak.
The kiss itself changed a lot. For the first time in decades, the duo actually admitted they had actual, romantic feelings towards each other. Although we’re not certain whether the newly found emotions were a consequence of their power-change or actual emotions, as their relationship ended when their powers returned to normal, it remains an important and relevant episode from their histories that merited an individual analysis.
To sum it up, it can be said that Cloak and Dagger are friends and not lovers. They have a working co-dependent relationship, but it’s purely platonic in nature. They did, on the other hand, kiss and even date for a short period of time, but that was the result of consequences beyond their control and it hasn’t really influenced their stories further along, which is why I am leaning towards the friendship interpretation of their relationship.