Cloak and Dagger on TV
As always, when I’m doing my 3D modeling – this time for a spaceship for the cover of my new book, Blood Star – I like to have some TV on in the background. This time, while searching through the menu of options available in the golden age of TV, I happened across a show based on a comic book I was sort of… kind of… interested in, back in the day. I’m talking about Cloak and Dagger.
The TV show is, as with all these superhero shows, based on a comic book. This time, according to Wikipedia:
Cloak and Dagger first appeared in Spider-Man comics in 1982. After a number of additional Spider-Man guest appearances, they were given their own four-issue limited series. It debuted in October 1983 and was a success, prompting Marvel Comics to launch an ongoing bi-monthly Cloak and Dagger series in 1985.
Looking at the cover I remember from the 1980s, the graffiti on the wall behind our two heroes is hilarious, including Duran Duran, U2 and Kate Bush. The idea that these middle-of-the-road acts would be the acts sprayed on the wall in the big city is very funny.
Cloak and Dagger starts by playing with our expectations. First it panders to what we expect from a show about a young black man and a young white woman. We see a white girl at a ballet class who seems to be rich, and a young black kid who is presented as coming from the wrong side of the tracks. We see an atmospheric and beautifully shot crime in progress, where the scenario is allowed to slowly play out, with police cars cruising and the rain falling. The young black boy is understandably frightened.
The young white girl is just as terrified, though in a more mundane situation, as her father drives fast through the rain while on the phone. Tragedy then hits both of them, and they both end up in the water… just in time for a weird event to engulf them. It is a very effective starting sequence and I liked it a lot. There is a hint at current issues around Black Lives Matter, but just a hint, and then the show moves on – going into the obligatory superhero origin story.
Origin stories can be a drag, but the storytelling in the first episode is initially almost entirely without dialogue, which helps. Then more information starts to come in flashbacks about half way through. It is brave storytelling, to avoid dumping information and just throw the viewer into the flow, and I think it works very well. At one point, Tandy’s doofus boyfriend says that she stops talking just as she is about to say something. He’s frustrated, but I like this approach. I like how enigmatic the show is.
After the origin story is out of the way, we jump forward in time and the show upends our expectations, with the white girl on the wrong side of the tracks and the black guy a star athlete at school. But they still have problems in their respective lives. It’s a smart inversion, and one that I feel is very well advised in the times we live in.
Then the characters literally bump into each other. Tyrone and Tandy introduce each other, but it is only later when their hands touch that they are really introduced. There is a flash of light, against the backdrop of a graveyard. “Are you that kid?” Tandy asks, and it just works. The graveyard is filmed as a collection of straight angles, with very few overt images like angels and crosses. It is a collection of downbeat imagery, for the messy lives of a couple of teenagers.
Start Reading the Dark Galaxy Trilogy
Galaxy Dog is an epic space opera. What starts as an ordinary invasion of an alien planet, brings to light an ancient archaeological site of huge importance. A young man called Knave makes a life-changing discovery there and rises from a lowly position as an infantry trooper to become a player among the powers of the galaxy. This is the story of his rise, and the story of the fierce and independent woman and the feisty robot who help him.