It’s a Good Time

Moon Knight art from Alex Maleev

Yes it is. As someone who holds a strong appreciation for the Moon Knight character, right now is a great time to be a comic book reader. For quite a while his presence was either lacking or not high quality, but it seems like that is all about to change. Marvel is pushing, putting forth their best efforts to put the man of jet and silver in the forefront.

I could not be anymore excited.

I never really hold that much affinity for certain comic book characters. I tend to not read books specifically to just see what characters are up to that particular month. To me, super-hero characters tend to act more as bodies for concepts, and it is the creative talent behind the character that which matters. The character is fictional (obviously), but what a writer or artist can say with a character is not. Super-heroes, especially the casts of the Marvel and DC Universes, work as great, modern day myths, providing fine creative folk opportunity to explore themes not so fantastic on the surface. The capes and cowls provide a dress and harness life’s large ideas and bring them down in a form fit to work in a story. That is usually the way I look at super-heroes. They are characters, but more importantly devices, and writers that understand that tend to produce if not great, then at least interesting comic books.

Moon Knight kind of breaks that mold for me though. While he is very much the shell for a set of ideas, I do read the character for the character’s sake. His character is one I will gladly check in on, and I have read many bad Moon Knight comics just because he was featured in them. I mean, I’m not total “fanboy” about the character, complaining if the costume doesn’t match or if Khonshu pops up or not, but I do buy his various series or appearances like a “fanboy.” When I consider why, I think it all just goes back to when I first found Moon Knight. As a reader, I was living in a world where Spider-man and the Fantastic Four were the “be all, end all.”  These characters, these concepts so “super-heroy” with their spandex suits, powers, catch phrases and wild cast of villains. My reading of only these types of comics was a version of a sheltered, conservative lifestyle. I knew nothing else, and comic books only held that specific visual idea of Spider-man and the FF. Then came a specific issue of Ultimate Spider-man, seventy-nine (79), and gracing the final page in full splash art glory was a character not steeped in the bright blue and red hues of costume attire. Instead, he carried shadows, and his first act before my eyes was his defeat of Spider-man. When I think back to that moment, it was actually pretty meta. One character knocking out the other for my attention. It was sort of a shift in my comic book world view. Moon Knight showed up and opened the door, and ever since I have always found him a character that strikes my interest. For me, he carries this vibe of mystery and and this persona of cool. It is hard to ignore, especially when his actual visual look is considered.

I have carried this enjoyment since then, checking in on all incarnations of the character. For a while, it was simply for the “he’s my favorite” motivation, but in the last year I have really begun to appreciate the character on a whole new level. Moon Knight, all the way back to his origin, is the character so trying to do good. Marc Spector is the man with the questionable instincts and history, but he so wants to be a hero, to be something beyond human. He can never quite achieve that though, and at times the character must face what he truly is inside. I look at that, and I see such a universal concept. We are all Marc Spector. Everyone wants to be someone they are not, forgetting all of their personal faults and leaving behind the earthy shackles of humanity. His character, in such a Marvel way, represents that, and I feel like so many overlook it, labeling Moon Knight simply as “Marvel’s Batman” or a character only suitable for crime stories. Yes, he does work great on a crime story level, but Moon Knight is also much more and his concept can work in many settings. It just takes a skilled writer.

Moon Knight and Cast by Bill Sienkiewicz

Now comes Brian Michael Bendis: a writer who has produced many enjoyable comics, and oddly enough introduced me to Moon Knight. Marvel’s A-game is coming to my favorite character, and from the interviews I have read Bendis’ take looks to really work. I cannot say for certain because the book is months away, but the sole concept of Moon Knight playing “The Avengers” and creating new personas to act as Wolverine or Spider-man is so true to the character. Yes, at the surface it does feel like a very fresh take, but when you look at it it hits the core. Moon Knight is still playing hero and being someone else. Bendis’ “pitch”, his take alone sells to me that the man understands the character. Plus, he looks to also add to the character, putting him in a new setting and taking a step further. How could I ask for more? Oh yeah, Alex Maleev is drawing it. I know Maleev says he does not want to do Sienkiewicz’s Moon Knight, but I cannot help but look at his art so far and see a homage to Bill. An homage that also still feels very Maleev. That is fucking awesome.

I have appreciated the character since 2006, and since 2006 I have been scoffed at for feeling any appreciation. The original stuff usually gets cred, but anything new usually sees flack. Most of it deserves so (except for Charlie Huston’s first arc, “The Bottom”), but I still grow tired of the internet putting Moon Knight down. He is not “Marvel’s Batman.” Honestly, he is one of the most interesting Marvel characters, up there with Daredevil in my opinion. Now is a chance for people to really see that. Marvel is putting two A-listers on this character, and they are putting forth effort to market and create real excitement. I don’t know if this will happen again in such a way with Moon Knight. At least not for a long while. I am sure plenty will still complain about this book and see Moon Knight as nothing significant, but I honestly don’t give a fuck. This, in an odd sense, is a dream come true comic book for me, and I am going to enjoy every last second of it. For ever how many issues are published, I will be talking about this book, even if in some shocking way it sucks (I really doubt it though). I will also live in the build up to the series by re-reading all the old stuff, soaking up all the glory and interesting failure that is Moon Knight. I’m sure further writing will take place up this very blog.

I am a Moon Knight FAN, and I am damn proud. May 2011, I await you.

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1 Comment

Filed under Moon Knight

One response to “It’s a Good Time

  1. Pingback: Thoughts: Moon Knight #12 | alec reads comics

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