Moon Knight #1
Issue(s): Moon Knight
Doug Moench wrote a great run of Master of Kung Fu, but the book definitely got stale after Paul Gulacy left. You might think that meant that he needs a great artist to do his own best work, and we have Bill Sienkiewicz on art here. Sienkiewicz is still in his early phase - many people considered him to be a Neal Adams clone, not that there was anything wrong with that. I'm not sure i see Adams specifically, but it's definitely a more realistic style of art and he does a lot of good stuff with shadows.
Any way you look at it, it's good art. And, despite being vaguely Klu Klux Klannish, Moon Knight himself has a cool design.
He's also got the multiple personality thing going, which has the potential of delving into identity or psychological issues.
But frankly it just doesn't work out. The stories wind up being kind of pedestrian, the support cast is awful, the dialogue is flat, and nothing is really done with the identity issues. There's really nothing that distinguishes Moon Knight from say, Daredevil or Nighthawk. And the similarities to Batman don't help.
These issues provide a more involved origin. As Marc Spector, he worked as a mercenary for a ruthless man named Bushman...
...but, along with Frenchie, he turned on Bushman when they went after the beautiful Marlene Alraune. Spector was actually killed but was seemingly resurrected by the Egyptian god Khonshu.
Frenchie, Marlene, and Spector continue to work together.
Bushman comes back this issue but Spector stops him as Moon Knight.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (7): show
Around the time this book came out, Marvel made the first announcement of "Marvel Universe", which was intended to be an anthology in the Epic Magazine format, but using all Marvel super-heroes. The current creators of the books were intended to do stories with their characters, and tentative one-off stories were Thor by Goodwin & Simonson, Dr. Strange by Michael Golden, Avengers by Shooter, and SHIELD by Gulacy. Shortly afterwards Marvel announce "Marvel Fanfare" a newsstand-format book of "fan-oriented" stories, and "Marvel Showcase", a try-out book printed on cover paper stock for the direct market. Later in 1980, it was announced that plans for "Fanfare" were dumped and the fan-oriented stories would appear in "Showcase". Evidently someone at Marvel remembered that DC had a long history of its own Showcase, so the book eventually appeared as Marvel Fanfare anyway. "Marvel Universe", of course, became something quite different(possibly the Golden Dr. Strange story was the one seen in the regular book).
Posted by: Mark Drummond | September 2, 2012 6:47 PM
I dount that the Golden Dr.Strange story was the one in the regular book- events in earlier issues of the regular book were integral to the plot of that story.
Posted by: Michael | September 2, 2012 6:55 PM
Later in 1980 other tentative stories for "Marvel Universe" were announced, such as Dr. Strange by Claremont & Miller, and a Dominic Fortune story by O'Neil and Chaykin that was bumped from Hulk magazine when it was cancelled.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | September 7, 2012 5:17 PM
According to Doug Moench, the first issue had an altered origin for Moon Knight because Jim Shooter didn't like the mid-1970s origin.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 6, 2013 4:15 PM
I really like Moon Knight as a character. I like the Moench stories, but agree he never became as big as I think he could have been. Given his appearances in WWBN and Egyptian mythology origin here, I always thought he should have become a monster hunter in the Marvel Universe - what Batman might have become if his Golden Age stories of fighting vampires and what not were emphasized over the crime/detective aspect. Certainly some of his rogues gallery would have lent it well in that respect. A slight occult angle would have done much to distinguish him from typical street level superheroics.
Posted by: Chris | January 6, 2013 8:22 PM
I never quite understood the dubbing of Moon Knight as Marvel's *Batman* since I felt he had his roots more in the occultish pulps and was their version of *The Shadow* instead.
Upon Khonshu offering Marc Spector a second chance at life by becoming his avatar on Earth, Marc creates a silver cloaked costume and becomes Moon Knight. Yet in his first appearance, it is the criminal organisation the Committee that supply Marc with the name Moon Knight, his costume and weapons to hunt down Jack Russell (while Moench indicates Shooter enforced the change, it could be used as an interesting plot point going forward).
It also never made sense to me why the avatar of an Egyptian god was referred to as a *Knight*.
Could this suggest that Mark's encounter with Khonshu was a ruse orchestrated by the Committee to get him to do their bidding? Was he a sleeper agent they intended to eventually use for some major plot they intended to unleash?
He should also always be seen as distant toward superheroes. I mean, how do you invite The Shadow to the Avengers?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | January 8, 2013 6:31 PM
Nathan, when i say Moon Knight is like Batman, i mean it relatively superficially. He's a rich guy with no powers that dresses up in a shadowy costume and fights crime.
Posted by: fnord12 | January 9, 2013 6:15 PM
@fnord: I wasn't directing my criticism to you since it's been an industry-wide analogy.
Just saying don't you think he'd sustain a title for longer if played as Marvel's Shadow? Otherwise James Bond with MPD;)
Posted by: Nathan Adler | January 10, 2013 1:02 AM
Here I am headed to this entry to mention Walter B. Gibson, whom I'm reading up on this morning after seeing a brilliant Steranko pendant, and Nathan Adler was here with the last comment about, ta-da, the Shadow! Considering his work on MOKF, my favorite title acronym, Doug had read original Shadow novels where Lamont Cranston is simply a disguise for former WWI aviator Kent Allard (ah, spoiler, sorry). You'll notice Marc Spector's also a former soldier. I'd like to read an article where Moench compares his inspiration to his approach, particularly regarding this very cool character's concept. I will speculate it might have been an adherence to elements evocative of that era that you may have found jarring in the 1980's Marvel Universe?
Posted by: Cecil | November 3, 2015 9:07 AM
Chris, I like those ideas.
Posted by: Cecil | November 3, 2015 9:11 AM
But I thought ot was established that Moon Knight DID have "identity or psychological issues". At keast he does whenever I tried to pick up his book,
Posted by: Jon Dubya | November 16, 2016 12:58 AM
I would consider Raoul (Roald?) Bushman one of the scarier villains to come out in this period. Unlike today, when every female co-ed gets a "rebelious"tattoo to be different like everybody else, the idea of a skull death mask tattoo had to be pretty wild concept back then. Add in filed teeth and the guy would look a right nightmare.
Also he's an African warlord (there are lots of them in the real world) and one of the few African villains not to be a Black Panther foe.
Posted by: kveto from prague | April 9, 2017 12:48 PM
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