old_man-cloak-fullprevious portal guardian

Real Name: Unrevealed

Identity/Class: Apparently human;
    possible mutant, mutate, technology user, and/or magic user (or maybe something really weird and unusual that we've never heard of);
    pre-modern era (possibly the early modern era, and perhaps as early as the 1930s, although that is speculation based on to whom he was an homage; see comments)

Occupation: Unrevealed;
    presumably a former adventurer/vigilante

Group Membership: None known

Affiliations: Cloak (Tyrone Johnson)

Enemies: Byan'hantandu, Gromitz and other Grunds serving the Byan'hantandu, Jophurg

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: "Old goomer" (from one of the Grund)

Base of Operations: Unrevealed

First Appearance: The Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger#2 (December, 1988)old_man-cloak-face

Powers/Abilities: The old man has no superhuman powers. He is relatively small and elderly, and he possibly drinks a lot of alcohol, but he may retain some fighting and other skills from his vigilante career.

    In the past, the old man possessed an opera cape (allegedly another form of the cloak worn by Cloak/Tyrone Johnson), and he served as portal guardian to the Darkforce Dimension.

Height: Unrevealed (perhaps 5'9"; presumably taller in youth)
Weight: Unrevealed (perhaps 160 lbs.; presumably heavier in youth)
Eyes: Apparently brown
Hair: White (bald on top); likely darker and less bald in younger days.

History:
(
The Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger#3 (fb) - BTS) - The unidentified "old man" was the guardian to the portal to the Darkforce dimension (see comments) for an undisclosed (but "long time") prior to Cloak assuming the role. He allegedly utilized /wore the same fabric in Cloak's cloak, but when he wore it, it was more in the form of an opera cape, of sorts.

(The Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger#2 (fb) - BTS) - At some point after retiring, the Old Man took to hanging out in taverns at the snow-covered top of a Himalayan mountain in Nepal.

(The Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger#3 (fb) - BTS) - The old man was succeeded in the role of portal guardian by Cloak (Tyrone Johnson).

(The Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger#2 (fb) - BTS) - Via their sacred knowledge-bearing tome, the Book, the Byan'hantandu determined that an artifact constructed by the young and sometimes cosmically-powered Franklin Richards (while subconsciously cobbling together equipment from the equipment of his father, Reed Richards, aka Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic Four) on Earth was incredibly dangerous. They dispatched their extraterrestrial Grund agents, who pursued such matters as a contest, to recover the artifact.

(The Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger#2 - BTS) - Gromitz of the Grund cheated by accessing the Dark Dimension portal of Cloak (Tyrone Johnson)'s to reach Earth in proximity to the artifact in rapid order. The others Grunds (Grundane and two others) followed Gromitz via Cloak's portal. After Gromitz recovered the artifact, he returned to Cloak; prepared for this and unwilling to allow further transport, Cloak prevented Gromitz from passing through his portal, although Cloak could not stop Gromitz from forcing the artifact through the portal.

    After the Grund had returned to the Byan'hantandu and revealed what had happened, the Byan'hantandu again consulted the Book, seeking the identity of Earth's portal guardian.

    However, the Book's information was out of date; instead of providing information on Cloak, it provided information on the Old Man

    Having lost faith in the Grunds, the Byan'hantandu dispatched their Darbian agent Jophurg to retrieve the portal guardian.
old_man-cloak-cdiii2-frontal

    Via a Bhontar (a spherical energy? transport), Jophurg arrived
near the snow-covered top of a mountain in Nepal.

(The Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger#2) - As the apparently somewhat intoxicated "old man" sang parts of "Sweet Betsy from the Pike" while trudging though perhaps 6" of snow, presumably while traveling from bar to bar (or perhaps in search of a restroom), his hat was blown off by a strong wind. The old man pursued the hat, which landed at Jophurg's feet. old_man-cloak-cdiii2-hatless

    The old man remarked about the stranger being "the homeliest hallucination that ever crawled out of a bottle," but Jophurg silently picked him up, ignoring the Old Man's instruction, "Hey--Lemme down!" as well as queries of "What'r ya doin'?" and "What's this about?" Jophurg activated the Bhontar(s) and transported them both to the Byan'hantandu ship.
    As they took to the air, the Old Man exclaimed, "Oh, Sweet Mother of Mercy!"

(The Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger#3 (fb) - BTS) - Jophurg brought the old man before the Byan'hantandu, who swiftly realized that this was the previous portal guardian rather than the current one.

(The Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger#2 - BTS) - Another Darbian (apparently Jophurg) ambushed Cloak and attempted to access the portal to the Darkforce dimension to reclaim the artifact. Although Cloak refused to open the portal, the Darbian activated the Bhontar(s) and transported them both to the Byan'hantandu ship.

(The Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger#2) - After Cloak's arrival, his Bhontar was placed next to the old man's Bhontar. The old man then explained that their captors' records must be way out of date for them to have grabbed him, but they must have realized their mistake, which is why they had gone after Cloak.

    The old man then continued that Cloak had something their captors wanted, and that they were going to use their giant spaceship to destroy Earth whether they got it or not.

(The Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger#3) - After Cloak revealed the circumstance of his arrival, which the old man had surmised, the old man revealed how the "lil' yella twerps" (Grunds) and "big dumb 'uns" (Darbians) were underlings serving the big bosses (Byan'hantandu), who used the Book in an effort to make the universe safer; he noted that in their case, the Book was a tad out of date. Cloak asked why they would have mistaken "you for me," and the old man explained that he was "the doorman to the Dark Dimension (see comments) before you got the job, young fella."

    Noting that he had been pretty good at the job, the old man admitted he did have a long time to practice. He further commented that the fabric was holding up pretty well, although when he had used it, it was more like an opera cape.

(The Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger#3 - BTS) - The Byan'hantandu instructed one of the Grunds that they didn't need the old man anymore.

(The Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger#3) - The Grund instructed Jophurg to send the old man back to where they got him; with a "Yuh!" Jophurg complied, pushing a lever and sending the old man home in a "Bhontar."

    As the old man's Bhontar headed for a portal, Cloak yelled, "Wait, he can answer all my questions. What IS the Dark Dimension?! What about the Predator..." to no avail. The old man said, "S'Long Sonny" and was whisked back to a mountainous region on Earth.

And that's all that's ever been said about that...

Comments: Created by Terry Austin and Dan Lawlis.

    Cloak accesses the Darkforce dimension, allowing him to manipulate the Darkforce, which is also utilized by the likes of Blackout (Marcus Daniels), the various Darkstar incarnations, the Shroud, and many others. Stories often reference him accessing the Dark Dimension, which is the realm usually ruled by Dormammu. The Predator dwells within a pocket realm within the Darkforce dimension.

    A comment from when I first included the "old man" as a sub-profile in the B'yan'hantandu back in 11/2/2001: As pointed out by Greg O (and it now seems so painfully obviously I can't believe it never occurred to me), the Old Man was almost certainly intended as an homage to the pulp hero the Shadow (Lamont Cranston).

    So, he wasn't really called the old man, it's just a description of him. He was only called "the old goomer" by one of the Grund. However, since he was an homage to the Shadow, perhaps he was known as Contour, Gloom, Penumbra, or Umbra ; Silhouette and Shade are already in use for Shadow homage characters. Umbra is a member of the Darbian race. I really like Penumbra, but it doesn't seem like a name the slang speaking "old man" would have used...then again, he might have been well educated and just got more laid back over time (and/or he was drunk). Contour is kind of a cool name, but while the exact definition (denotation) is appropriate, the feel of the word or common interpretation (connotation) doesn't fit as well. However, Gloom...now that's something that fits...and maybe the Grund was trying to call him by his name and just misspoke, or the Book was wrong...ah, who knows...dorcas farkas.

    There are no youthful and/or costumed images of the "old man."

    Per Wikipedia: "Sweet Betsy from Pike" is an American ballad about the trials of a pioneer named Betsy and her lover Ike who migrate from Pike County to California. This Gold Rush-era song, with lyrics written by John A. Stone before 1858, was collected and published in Carl Sandburg's 1927 American Songbag. It was recorded by Burl Ives on February 11, 1941 for his debut album Okeh Presents the Wayfaring Stranger. The melody is of English extraction and is also that of the ballad "Villikins and his Dinah". Members of the Western Writers of America chose it as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time.

Profile by Snood.

CLARIFICATIONS:
The "Old Man"
should be distinguished from:

Besides the Old Man, there have been a few other homages to the pulp hero, the Shadow, Lamont Cranstonlamont-big_dummy


images: (without ads)
The Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger#2, pg. 17, panel 2 (walking in snow);
          panel 5 (hatless head);
    #3, pg. 2, panel 7 (or bottom right corner; face close-up);
       pg. 3, panel 1 (full, within Bhontar)


Appearances:
The Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger#2 (December, 1988) - Terry Austin (writer), Dan Lawlis (pencils), P. Craig Russell (inks), Carl Potts (editor)
The Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger#3 (January, 1989) - Terry Austin (writer), Mike Vosburg (pencils), Scott Williams (inks), Carl Potts (editor)


First posted: 06/21/2019
Last updated: 06/21/2019

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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