Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr Let’s be real — a lot of superhero stories take place in New York. Plenty of people have made jokes about how everything seems centered around that one state… and more specifically, New York City. It can make the rest of the world seem like it doesn’t exist in comic books. However, New York City isn’t always the best place for creators to place their stories. CLOAK AND DAGGER breaks the mold by relocating the story to New Orleans. In many ways, New Orleans fits the story that CLOAK AND DAGGER wants to tell much better. The history of New Orleans, the culture, and the politics surrounding the area all feed into the story. New York City vs. Other Settings It’s not that I don’t like NYC. In fact, I love it. NYC is useful for many stories because it can encompass larger-than-life issues as well as street-level stories. However, after shoving so many superheroes into such a small area, the idea gets old. On top of that, it becomes unbelievable. Having every hero in one city brings up issues with crossovers and with the fact that… well, crime happens in other places! Your Weekly Vacation Part 1: Marvel’s New York On top of that, New York City isn’t always the best choice for a story. When considering story setting, it’s important to go beyond just popularity or common knowledge. New York, especially NYC, is an easy setting to work with because it’s a diverse place and people instantly recognize it. However, some stories don’t need sprawling cityscapes or grungy subway scenes. Sometimes stories need something only a very specific area can provide. Image courtesy of Freeform & Marvel Entertainment Some stories might need Miami — the A1A, the beach, the lifestyle — while some stories might need Los Angeles. What a story needs should be specific to that story. Not everything can be transplanted into New York life. Alternatively, some stories may be better when drawn away from New York. A great example of this is CLOAK AND DAGGER. I think taking Tandy and Tyrone away from NYC allows the creators to show off the best assets of the story. New Orleans and CLOAK AND DAGGER New Orleans is a rich city with a long-standing history. There are many facets to New Orleans — the land itself is interesting, as the state of Louisiana constantly struggles with swampland and having to dredge to stop more of the land from sinking. In many ways, New Orleans is both a permanent and impermanent fixture, and that weighs in heavily on the history of the city (even very recent history) and the ideas that swirl around it. Image courtesy of Freeform & Marvel Entertainment New Orleans is a hub for mysticism. From Voodoo and the spiritual practices of Cajun people to ghost tours and hauntings that litter the city, New Orleans is full of magic. This comes into play in CLOAK AND DAGGER pretty quickly. Both the history of Voodoo and its use in the modern day are relevant to the story. The idea of colonialist history and dueling ties into Tyrone’s desperation for revenge, as well. There’s Nothing Little About the Brilliance of LITTLE APPLE Above all things, the racial aspect of New Orleans’ history and present day is something CLOAK AND DAGGER takes advantage of. While racism — especially anti-blackness — is a problem everywhere, people have heavily focused on New Orleans comes to racial discussions. The history of slavery there and the still-standing (and still lived-in) plantation houses hangs heavy over the city. The racial aspect of the aftermath of Katrina is still something heavily discussed, as well. All of these aspects contribute to what CLOAK AND DAGGER is as a series. Voodoo In the recent episode, CLOAK AND DAGGER introduced Voodoo into the dynamic of the show. The religious imagery was already rather heavy in just the first two episodes, as well. Tandy stows away in a church as her place of refuge. Tyrone’s school has an assembly where they are led in prayer and sing hymns. Religion is a large thing in New Orleans—as Evita says on the tour she takes Tyrone on, even Marie Laveau was a devout Christian. CLOAK AND DAGGER Episode 1 ‘First Light’ Review: Connection Despite Contrast While CLOAK AND DAGGER use Evita’s tour to show both Tyrone and the audience the history of Voodoo, it also shows us what it looks like in the modern day. The entire reason Evita takes Tyrone on the tour is to introduce him to her Auntie Clarisse, a Voodoo priestess. Auntie Clarisse is a perfect example of how craft lives today — she is modern, yet true to her traditions. Image courtesy of Freeform & Marvel Entertainment CLOAK AND DAGGER show us Voodoo dolls that Clarisse claims are as old as the city, and with them, she places a 3D printed version of Tyrone. While the ingredients for a cleansing bath are simple and may have been foraged for (and still can be), she simply tasks Tyrone with going to Whole Foods to buy them. Voodoo is not just a historical artifact in CLOAK AND DAGGER — it’s something that people have kept with them to the current day and something with real power. Churches Another reason choosing New Orleans works fantastically for the story is how heavily CLOAK AND DAGGER feature churches. On the tour, Evita compares the church that Marie Laveau attended to the city itself. She mentions it has been torn down and yet rebuilt again and again. The statement presents the idea of a community that is determined to preserve its own history. Indeed, architecture is something hugely notable about New Orleans, and there’s plenty of churches to go around. Tall spires and stained glass windows fill the imagery of CLOAK AND DAGGER — religion and personal conviction are tied together closely. Tyrone’s vision of Tandy takes place in a church twisted to Tandy’s own insecurities and personal beliefs about herself with a stained glass window of her father taking place of Jesus. Image courtesy of Freeform & Marvel Entertainment The use of churches is a line that ties CLOAK AND DAGGER back to the original comics. Tandy and Tyrone take up refuge in a church, getting assistance from a kind priest. These elements still exist in the show, using the elements of the city to emphasize them. It’s one of the reasons using New Orleans as a location really shines. Duels In the recent episode, another factor of New Orleans’ history was tied closely to Tyrone’s story: duels. In New Orleans, duels were a common way to settle disputes. Typically people choose between using swords or guns for the duel. However, there’s a set up for a gentleman’s duel that involves a table set with weapons to choose from. Image courtesy of Freeform & Marvel Entertainment On the tour, Evita recounts a duel using guns — speaking of the sacrifice involved in a duel when one of the men doesn’t pull the trigger. However, when Tandy is witnessing Tyrone’s inner turmoil, the show sets it up as a gentleman’s duel. Tyrone goes through choosing different weapons to use against Connors. In the vision, Tyrone is dressed in colonial attire, clearly affected by the ideas that Evita brought up about the city’s history. CLOAK AND DAGGER Episode 2 ‘Suicide Sprints’ Review: The Poison Inside Us If CLOAK AND DAGGER had taken place in, say, New York City, the dressings of the scene would look rather different. I think the usage of duels and Tyrone’s thoughts of having a duel for honor against Connors was a striking image for the show to use. The grounds of City Park and the usage of colonial imagery and specific imagery that ties back to anti-black sentiments in slavery-era New Orleans made a powerful impact. Racial Divides One of the most important reasons for choosing New Orleans seems to be the undercurrent of racial tension that the area carries. CLOAK AND DAGGER is a story that, at its core, cannot avoid speaking about race. In both the original comics and the show, Tyrone lost someone close to him because of police brutality. In all iterations of the story, Tyrone and Tandy’s relationship is colored by their racial identities. The Unfortunate Relevance of Race and Drugs in 1981’s CLOAK AND DAGGER New Orleans’ history of slavery is one that is ever-present in the lives of those who live there. While slavery was something that affected (and still affects) all of America, New Orleans has a special place in the discussion. This is mainly due to the fact that the mansions of plantation owners still line the streets of New Orleans. Some are still owned by families and used as regular houses. While other cities may have tried to purge the historic spaces that remind them of past atrocities, New Orleans still has glimmering, pristine architecture at every turn that points to its dark past. The tensions of anti-blackness are not only a thing of New Orleans’ past. Katrina was an example of the huge oversights of our government when it comes to predominately black communities. Multiple people — famous or not — have commented on it. Kanye West’s comment that President Bush doesn’t care about black people was in direct relation to the aftermath of Katrina. In Lemonade, Beyoncé lies atop a New Orleans Police Department car as it sinks into the flood waters. Imagery & Continuing Themes Tandy’s vision of Tyrone perhaps best encapsulates why New Orleans is a perfect setting for CLOAK AND DAGGER. The fact that Voodoo launched Tyrone—and perhaps Tandy, through their connection—into the visions is only the first step. Evita’s quick walkthrough of New Orleans’ history seeps into the rest of the imagery of the episode. DARKNESS VISIBLE: When Horror Takes a Stab at Racism Tyrone facing Connor is evocative of the city’s history, with Tyrone in colonial garb, stationed by the dueling tree of City Park. The duel itself goes through many phases — Tyrone choosing his weapons to attack Connors seems to lead to the police attacking him in different ways. The first time, the police shoot Tyrone in a scene that emulates the police shootings that young black men face in the current day. The second weapon that Tyrone uses is the noose, and the police take on the role of a lynch mob, chasing Tyrone with torches and hanging him. Image courtesy of Freeform & Marvel Entertainment The entire episode centers Voodoo of both historical and modern times. One of the last things that happen in the episode is Auntie Clarisse finishing her 3D printed version of Tyrone to set with her other dolls. Throughout the series so far, the churches present in the city have been a focus. New Orleans allows the story of CLOAK AND DAGGER to flourish, pulling on imagery that it needs. It’s one of the smartest setting swaps I’ve ever seen.