We are only a handful of days before Moon Knight waxes on the Disney Plus streaming service. Fans have already gawked at the action sequences in previews and are chomping at the bit for “moonrise.” However, some potential viewers might balk at the character’s darkness. Unlike some of Marvel’s most popular characters, like Iron Man, Captain America, The Hulk and, of course, Spider-Man, Moon Knight doesn’t come to market with an easily familiar brand. So what’s the best way for a fan who might want to pre-load some Moon Knight facts to get to know him?
We’ve put together a list of a few comic book essentials that you might want to peruse before jumping into the streaming series.
Moon Knight: Rising Bad Moon
Bad Moon Rising anthologizes the various Marvel Comics Moon Knight that emerged in the 1970s. The character’s two distinct and very different origin stories from Werewolf by Night and Moon Knight Volume 1 are of particular interest to first-time readers:
“The Stalker Called Moon Knight” (Werewolf by Night #32-33)
Well, there’s no place to start like the beginning. Moon Knight first appeared on the comics page in Werewolf by Night in August 1975. night werewolf was one of the few Marvel horror titles released by the publisher at the time, and Moon Knight was originally conceptualized by writer Doug Moench and artist Don Perlin as a mercenary hired by a known dark cabal as “The Committee” to defeat and kidnap the series’ titular werewolf, a young adult named Jack Russell (yes, the pun was intentional). Moon Knight’s debut, albeit canonical for the most part. is sometimes referred to as his “false origin”, as the entire episode was later retconned to better match the character’s “real” origin, which would eventually be revealed five years later.
Moon Night Volume 1 Number 1
Five years later, we got a whole new solo title. Moon Knight has had a few solo adventures before, in a back-up series in Hulk, a tabloid-sized magazine publication featuring the gamma-irradiated eponymous hero. He also teamed up with Spider-Man and briefly flirted with becoming a member of The Defenders before becoming the star of his own self-titled solo series. “Moon Knight Issue 1” finally gave the moon-themed vigilante its real origin. A few of the character’s traits had already been established, such as his three-way identity as Steven Grant (though the millionaire playboy version of the comics version seems a far cry from the Steven Grant series), taxi driver Jake Lockley, and his “quirky personality” of hardened mercenary Marc Spector. In a flashback, we find Spector watching his fellow mercenaries decimate a Sudanese village in search of the looting of a nearby archaeological dig. When Spector resists, the mercenaries strand him in the Left for dead, Spector struggles to find shelter, walking all day and eventually arriving at the archaeological dig site where he is spotted silhouetted against the moon. He is brought to a tomb where he apparently dies in front of a statue of Khonshu, the god of the crescent moon and vengeance Spector returns to life, apparently possessed by Khonshu and becomes an avatar of vengeance.
“Deadly Knowledge” Moon Night Volume 2 Number 2
Little is known about Ethan Hawke’s character, Arthur Harrow, considered the series’ main antagonist, but he does at least have some root in the Marvel Comics timeline. Harrow appeared once and only once in the second volume of Moon Knight aka “Fist of Khonshu” by Alan Zelenetz and Chris Warner. Harrow was a scientist, known for his work on the neurological aspects of pain through which he sought to cure his own excruciating chronic pain. When it is discovered that he had performed human experiments on Auschwitz inmates, Moon Knight was directed by Khonshu to bring the scientist to justice.
Moon Knight: The Bottom
Moon Knight had a lot of ups and downs in the late 1980s and 1990s. Although the character actually became an Avenger during that time (well, okay, a WEST COAST Avenger, technically), many writers struggled to find the pulse of the character. That all changed in 2006, when novelist Charlie Huston and artist David Finch rebooted the character with particular emphasis on the gritty and even extremely violent nature of Moon Knights. Although the series that preceded The Bottom introduced the character as an ordinary Daredevil-style street vigilante, The Bottom upped the violence to eleven, making Moon Knight an outcast even among his superhero brethren. The series also delved into the character’s dissociative identity order, which had previously been peddled softly, if at all. The series sees Marc Spector at his lowest, when, despite defeating his oldest enemy, he has been abandoned by almost everyone he loves, including his lover, Marlene, his oldest friend, Jean Paul, and even Khonshu.
Moon Knight: From the Dead
Writer Warren Ellis and artist Declan Shalvey were responsible for this reboot of the character, which features Spector coming to terms with his multiple identities, even seeing a therapist. On the other hand, his heroic alter ego splits into two distinct identities, that of the hard-hitting action hero, Moon Knight, and the smartly dressed M. Night, who wears a white three-piece suit and matching mask. This seventh volume of the character’s single-player title sees Moon Knight battling ghosts, visiting a mushroom planet, and investigating a sleeping experiment. There’s no guarantee any of this will make it into the series, but Mr.s Night certainly will. The character’s distinctive image was used extensively in the shows’ promotional materials and even appeared briefly in trailers.
Moon Knight by Jeff Lemire & Greg Smallwood: The Complete Collection
sweet tooth Creator Jeff Lemire has worked with several lower level superheroes in the past, which may have made him one of the most popular Moon Knight writers of the 21st century. Lemire set up much of the character’s later canon, including a pre-resurrection psychic connection to Khonshu that dates back to Spector’s childhood and may be the source of his DID. The streaming series appears to show Steven Grant oblivious to the doings of his other personalities and this may have its origins in the idea that Spector suffered from DID from an early age, even before his first “encounter” with Khonshu.