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August 15, 2009

Recently revisiting the world of comic books

Filed under: Comics Rant — Tags: , , , , , — Bryan @ 10:22 am

I was recently revisiting some comic books and ran across a series from 1988 that gave me a surprising reaction.

In short, it’s what I consider one of the most poorly named comic book series created and given the time period in which it was created, I suspect the titling can be attributed solely to a marketing wonk. It irritated me at the time and surprising still irritates me.

The series is “The Mutant Misadventures of Cloak & Dagger“.

My problems were that #1 I’ve always considered them mutates, not mutants and while there is a mildly compelling argument for the later that is never how they are portrayed in their origins.

#2 is the use of the term misadventures. Going by the dictionary this is simply a synonym for misfortune or mishap, but in common use misadventures normally has a comical inclination. There is nothing happy or comical about these two characters.

They live a tragic life. They started out as runaways that were picked up off the street with other runaways. The children were injected with an experimental street drug and left in a room where all of the other children died except for them. The drug mutated them into what they are now and after recovery they set out to exact vigilantly justice on people who exploit children. Cloak is generally in favor of exacting a death penalty on these criminals.

The other story thread of this comic is the pseudo symbiotic relationship between the two characters. Cloak lives off of light released from other life forces. Dagger exudes light force that can be used as a weapon but she is also able to feed Cloak with it, thereby suppressing his almost vampire like potential for destruction.

The general premise challenged in this series was that of a black man and a white woman in a relationship which was still problematic for quite a few people in the 80’s. So this comic also was making a political statement by it’s very existence. The bottom line? A bi-racial teen couple in a pseudo adult relationship trying to find their place in the world while dealing vengeance to child molesters. You can’t get more 80’s than that.

Anyways, my point is this this is about as remote from happy or comical as you get short of a horror story, so “misadventures” always grated on me. Then again this was about the time I quit reading comics for reasons I can cover in another post. My point was that 20 years later I saw this title and it immediate pissed me off again… and hence this post.