Even by comic book standards, Moon Knight is weird.
It was presented in 1975 “Night Werewolf” #32 as a foil for the title creature, outfitted head-to-toe in silver-white with matching weapons. Supposedly, it was a choice of the Committee that hired mercenary Marc Spector to take on the beast.
After a two-part story in which Spector changes his allegiance after meeting the werewolf’s human counterpart, Moon Knight got a solo tale in the anthology series. “Marvel in the Spotlight” who introduced his supporting cast – helicopter pilot Jean-Paul ” French “ DuChamp and his lover Marlene. We also met Moon Knight’s other secret identities: millionaire Steven Grant and taxi driver Jake Lockley.
The character has appeared in a variety of other Marvel titles, including ” The defenders “ “Marvel two in one” and “Spectacular Spider-Man” before starring in Hulk-centric magazine back-up stories that allowed the creators to include a bit more violence and suggestive content than the standard comics.
It wasn’t until 1980 that the character’s Egyptian elements were introduced in the first issue of Moon Knight’s eponymous solo series. Already concerned about his employer Bushman’s brutal tactics against rebel forces in Sudan, Spector is horrified when their crew is ordered to attack a village unrelated to the rebels but where archaeologists have made a valuable discovery. Bushman murders the archaeologist leading the dig, but his daughter, Marlene, escapes.
After attempting to stop the execution of unarmed villagers, Spector is thrown into the desert, where he collapses, apparently dead. But dragged into the tomb that Bushman is looking for and lying in front of a statue of the Egyptian moon god Khonshu, Spector is resurrected, claiming he is the Moon Vengeance Knight.
In early issues, Moon Knight confronted Bushman, assassins, a serial killer, and explained the inconsistencies between this version and his first appearance (both written by Doug Moench).
Eventually, the multiple alter egos turned into serious mental health issues for Moon Knight. His first streak ended with his retirement from crimefighting, though he returned at Khonshu’s request to face an ancient Egyptian threat.
Moon Knight joined the West Coast Avengers for a time and won another solo series in 1989 which lasted five years and ended in his death. As a comic book character who was only temporary, he kept popping up as the occasional guest star and main character, always compelling and cool, but never quite able to last very long.
Subsequent series played out the more sinister side of Khonshu and Spector’s own mental illness. He even believed he was other superheroes for a while. A new personality developed – Mr. Knight, a masked detective wearing a white suit – as he battled a variety of bizarre enemies.
Another series found Spector waking up in a “Flight over the Cuckoo’s Nest”-esque psychiatric hospital, possibly run by Egyptian gods and demons. It was a trippy 14-issue story that featured more personalities and questioned what was real and what wasn’t.
One of Moon Knight’s more recent adventures involved him once again operating on Khonshu’s behalf and saving Earth by taking it back almost single-handedly, including defeating the Avengers. More recently, in the ninth volume to bear the title “Knight of the Moon” Spector dismissed Khonshu but resumed his charge of protecting the Night Travelers from his Midnight Mission in New York.
* “Moon Knight Epic Collection: Bad Moon Rising” – Features Moon Knight’s early appearances and adventures, from becoming entangled with a werewolf to sort of joining the Defenders and revealing his origin.
* “Moon Knight by Lemire & Smallwood: The Complete Collection” – You can’t just taste a part of this mind-blowing adventure that takes Marc Spector from a mental hospital through the streets of New York and to the Moon itself; you have to read all 14 issues to get the full picture.
* “Avengers: The Age of Khonshu” “How dangerous is Moon Knight?” Dangerous enough to defeat the Avengers and some of their strongest allies so Khonshu can conquer the world and defend it against a potentially greater threat.