I often speak about my love for Marvel Comics’ Moon Knight and whenever I do I always have to say that while Moon Knight has a long forty-plus year history including a number of different series, guest appearances, memberships on different things and more, he only has about twenty-five really good appearances. Unfortunately, the rest are mediocre to outright BAD!
I first discovered Moon Knight in the first issue of his first solo series, Moon Knight #1 in 1980. I was about eleven years old and I’d never heard of the character before seeing this issue on the stands of the historic Heroes World comic shop in the Livingston Mall in Livingston, NJ. I’d had no idea that the character was already about five years old at that point with many appearances already under his silver belt.
I remember, as a simple eleven year old kid, only having exactly fifty cents to spend on a comic book. That day, I was torn between Moon Knight #1and The New Teen Titans #1. Both were cover priced at fifty cents. Now I’d always been more of a DC guy and I was already familiar with the Teen Titans… even though I didn’t recognize the new characters on this new team… and I had no idea who Moon Knight was. There was something about that cover though that grabbed me and so it was Moon Knight #1 that won out that day. Incidentally, I wouldn’t get on The New Teen Titans bandwagon until issue #33 of that series. Eventually, I’d track down all of the previous issues including the TNTT #1 that I’d passed up that day.
That first issue of Moon Knight hooked me immediately. I collected his series regularly and searched for any of his previous appearances that I could find. Eventually, Marvel Comics published the Moon Knight Special Edition series that reprinted Moon Knight’s series from the back up in the Rampaging Hulk magazine.
Moon Knight was gritty and off-beat. The book was more intense than most of Marvel’s standard comics. It was violent without being gratuitously so. #25 of the series which introduced Moon Knight villain, the Black Spectre, has one of my all time favorite super hero fights and one of my favorite covers of the entire run… which was a run of many graphic, bold covers.
Unfortunately, as the book reached the higher twenties, it started to lose some of its earlier direction. The stories felt like filler and they were becoming an obligation to read. It was as if the book was broadcasting its demise which came with issue #38.
Moon Knight was relaunched a few years later in a new series, Moon Knight: The Fist OF Khonshu, and the character was retooled largely for the worst. His multiple identities… something that made him a fun, unique character were gone. He’d be only Steven Grant now… which would only serve to cement the uninformed comparisons to DC’s Batman. His costume was now laden with gaudy golden accents. He’d now have super powers, a vague form of super strength that depended on the phases of the moon. Worst of all, the perception of Moon Knight as insane and suffering from multiple personalities, something that was very subtlety only hinted at during his own series, would be blown up here and hammered permanently onto the character’s face. Moon Knight would never be the same again. The damage was done and seemingly permanent.
He’s seen here in this piece as I prefer him… in his classically elegant simple SILVER (not white!) costume with no gratuitous seems, bits of armor and other clunky noodling.
What do you think of Moon Knight? Let me know in the comments below!