Now that we've screened the first few episodes in advance of the March 30th “Moon Knight” drop on Disney+, we're updating our list of The Best “Moon Knight” Comics You Should Read Before the Disney+ Series.
Moon Knight Comics You Should Read Before the Disney+ Series
If you're familiar with Steven Grant/Marc Spector and the “Moon Knight” comic book series, you're probably as anxious as we are for March 30. However, you may be wondering what “Moon Knight” is all about because it is a bit of a lesser-known character and series. Here's a breakdown for you of the basics you need to know about “Moon Knight” and the Moon Knight Comics You Should Read Before the Disney+ Series on March 30.
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Who is Moon Knight?
Marc Spector is the key identity behind Moon Knight, but it's not quite as simple as “Marc Spector is Moon Knight.” If you watched any of the “Moon Knight” trailers or read the breakdowns, you know what we mean.
In the comics, Marc Spector is a former Marine and CIA operative who became a mercenary with his friend Jean-Paul “Frenchie” DuChamp.
Spector is nearly killed in an ambush in Sudan by fellow mercenary Raul Bushman after confronting Bushman for killing archeologist Dr. Alruane in front of his daughter Marlene in Moon Knight, The Trial of Marc Spector, Part II: Spoils (Vol 1) #16 (July 1990).
After being left for dead, mortally wounded Spector reaches Alraune's recently unearthed tomb, is placed before a statue of the Egyptian moon god Khonshu, dies, and then suddenly revives fully healed. Spector claims Khonshu wants him to be the “moon's knight”—the “Fist of Khonshu“—redeeming his life of violence by protecting and avenging the innocent.
Some stories imply Spector is insane, but later stories reveal Khonshu is real, one of several entities from the Othervoid (a dimension outside normal time and space) once worshipped by ancient Earth people.
Spector invests his mercenary profits into becoming the crimefighter “Moon Knight” upon his return to the U.S. with help from DuChamp and Marlene, who later becomes his lover and the mother of his daughter.
In the comics, Spector uses 4 other main identities: his Khonshu Moon Knight superpowered alter ego, billionaire businessman Steven Grant, taxicab driver Jake Lockley, and suited consultant Mr. Knight.
Moon Knight has a disassociative personality disorder
When the comics were first written, Spector was described as having multiple personality disorder (and in some stories, it was actually categorized as schizophrenia, a mental disorder characterized by continuous or relapsing episodes of psychosis with major symptoms including hallucinations [typically hearing voices], delusions, paranoia, and disorganized thinking),
However, Spector suffers from dissociative identity disorder (DID)—previously known as multiple personality disorder (MPD)—which is a mental disorder characterized by the maintenance of at least two distinct and relatively enduring personality states, accompanied by memory gaps beyond what would be explained by ordinary memory issues.
Spector's alters known as Grant and Lockley manifested during his childhood. Other identities (including an unnamed red-haired little girl and astronaut) have briefly emerged during his adulthood. It is conflicted in some stories as to whether Spector has genuine DID due to childhood trauma or if his similar symptoms are the result of brain damage caused by his psychic connection to Khonshu.
Khonshu's connection compels Spector's personality to shift between the four major aspects of the moon god's multi-faceted nature (“the traveler,” “the pathfinder,” “the embracer,” and “the defender of those who travel at night”). Khonshu claims he created a psychic connection with Spector when he was a young boy, decades before calling him to become Moon Knight, Moon Knight (Vol. 4) #1 (Marvel Comics, 2014).
Spector and his multiple personalities blur the line between reality and flapdoodle and it is going to be ignominious.
The Best Moon Knight Comics You Should Read Before the Disney+ Series
Werewolf by Night (Vol. 1) #32 and #33
These two comics, Werewolf by Night #32 and #33, are the perfect intro for Marc Spector/Moon Knight's origin story. Moon Knight was created by writer Doug Moench in 1975 in issues #32 and #33 of Werewolf by Night.
With hints of Spector's mercenary backstory and a first peek at his now-classic comic look, this is where it all started so this is a must on your list of Moon Knight comics you should read. These issues are digitally through Marvel.com or Marvel Unlimited.
Werewolf by Night (Vol. 1) #32 (August 1975) synopsis:
In the middle of a seedy alley, the Werewolf battles a mysterious costumed figure known as Moon Knight. Armed with silver weapons, the Moon Knight attacks the werewolf as a crowd begins to draw. He slings three crescent-shaped throwing darts into the werewolf's chest and punches him with a solid silver cestus. The werewolf howls in pain and a portion of his mind reflects upon recent events.
Werewolf by Night (Vol. 1) #33 (September 1975) synopsis:
As the moon rises on the third night, Jack transforms once again into the werewolf. Moon Knight refuses to allow the Committee to use him as their personal secret weapon, so he frees Jack and together they tear into the Committee members. Most of them flee in terror, but the werewolf manages to rake their leader across the face with his claws. Moon Knight uses his crescent darts to free Lissa and Topaz then runs off. When the room is clear of bodies, the werewolf likewise leaves and races off into the night.
Moon Knight (Vol. 1) #1 (November 1980)
After 5 years, writer Doug Moench and artist Bill Sienkiewicz gave Marc Spector and Moon Knight a solo Moon Knight series in 1980. This is where fans get a taste of Spector's crazy origin story and it is the definitive origin story for this complex character.
With 38 issues, there's certainly a lot of material available to absorb and get lost in, but a condensed read will be fine for getting caught up before the series drops on Disney+. These are also available on Marvel.com,
Moon Knight (Vol. 1) #1 (November 1980) synopsis:
Before he was the macabre Moon Knight, he was mercenary Marc Spector. Witness the origin of the hero known as Moon Knight! Cloaked in the spirit of the Egyptian moon god, Moon Knight swears vengeance on “Bushman,” the mercenary who takes innocent lives and leaves his colleagues for dead.
Moon Knight (Vol. 2) #2 (July 1985)
Ethan Hawke is playing a man named Arthur Harrow in the Disney+ “Moon Knight” series. Dr. Harrow's only appearance in Marvel Comics is in Moon Knight (Vol. 2) #2 (July 1985) as a Nobel Prize candidate in medicine, but his work involved conducting secret experiments by scientists in Auschwitz-Birkenau. This issue was written by Alan Zelenetz with art by Chris Warner.
In this issue, Harrow is a mad scientist focused on ending pain in the human body. But as often with mad scientists, not only do plans not go well, they can be disastrous. This issue is available on Marvel.com.
Moon Knight (Vol. 2) #2 (July 1985) synopsis:
Moon Knight heads to the Yucatan to face a madman that is turning innocent people into mindless slaves.
Moon Knight (Vol. 1) #43 (October 1992)
Moon Knight (Vol. 1) #43 (October 1992) synopsis:
Moon Knight returns to Four Freedoms Plaza and helps the gathered heroes battle against an army of doppelgangers. He faces off against duplicates of Black Knight, Beast, Darkhawk, and Daredevil. The doppelgangers continue to respawn, but finally, melt and cease attacking.
Meanwhile, Frenchie consults with members of the Shadow Cabinet. They plan how to cure Moon Knight's deteriorating infection and gain information from Demogoblin.
Moon Knight (Vol. 5) #1 (June 2006)
There's a little over a 7-year time gap from the 1999 Moon Knight Vol. 4 1999 series end to the start of Moon Knight Vol. 5 series in 2006. Writer Charlie Huston and artist David Finch reinvigorated the Moon Knight character in 2006 when they launched the solo series. This version feels grittier than some of the past iterations and a little more like the Marc Spector/Moon Knight we're getting in the Disney+ series.
It's the first “Moon Knight” comic I read, and while I still suggest “Werewolf” #32 and #33 first, if you could only grab one Moon Knight comic to read, this would be the one. This issue is available on Marvel.com.
Moon Knight (Vol. 5) #1 (June 2006) synopsis:
It's hard to pin down who Moon Knight truly is. Sometimes he's the enormously wealthy, somewhat crazy Marc Spector. Others he's the brutally violent vigilante who follows the will of Khonshu, God of Vengeance. Several other personalities dwell within Spector's
schizophrenic disassociate personality disorder psyche. Thankfully, his madness makes him so engaging and unpredictable.
Marc Spector sits in a wheelchair in the empty shadow-filled corridors of his mansion; his body nearly as twisted and broken as his mind. He reflects upon the string of events that brought him to his present condition.
Moon Knight (Vol. 7) #1 (May 2014)
Marc Spector is Moon Knight!…Or is he? It’s hard to tell these days, especially when New York’s wildest vigilante protects the street with two-fisted justice and three—that’s right, count ‘em—different personalities! But even with the mystical force of Khonshu fueling his crusade, how does the night’s greatest detective save a city that’s as twisted as he is? The road to victory is going to hurt. A lot. Marvel’s most mind-bending adventure begins NOW as Moon Knight sleuths his way to the rotten core of New York’s most bizarre mysteries!
Moon Knight (Vol. 8) #1 (June 2016)
Much of this volume is a result of therapy Marc underwent at Mercy Hospital for the Mentally Ill to come to terms with his dissociative identity disorder (DID), interlaced with Ennead-induced illusions and his own delusions. Start Moon Knight (Vol. 8) #1 (June 2016) and read through the rest of the issues for a great look at the DID part of Marc Spector's character.
Moon Knight (Vol. 8) #1 (June 2016) synopsis:
Marc Spector (a.k.a. Moon Knight/Jake Lockley/Steven Grant) has been fighting criminals and keeping New York City safe for years… or has he? When he wakes up in an insane asylum with no powers and a lifetime's worth of medical records, his whole identity (identities) are called into question. Something is wrong, but is that something Marc Spector himself? Jeff Lemire (EXTRAORDINARY X-MEN) and rising star Greg Smallwood are calling everything you know about Moon Knight into question.
Avengers: The Age of Khonshu – Part One: Moon Knight vs. the Avengers (Vol. 1) #7 (January 2021)
This comic is quite recent: just a little over a year, actually. Jason Aaron's “Avengers” 2020 event features “The Age of Khonsu” as its 7th comic in the event (January 2021) and included Moon Knight fighting against Earth's Mightiest Heros.
Avengers: The Age of Khonshu – Part One: Moon Knight vs. the Avengers (Vol. 1) #7 (January 2021) synopsis:
New York City goes the way of New Thebes City in this pulse-pounding arc! Moon Knight, the avatar of an Egyptian moon god, is now the Avengers' worst enemy. Khonshu's true motives have disturbed an enchanted bed of power in the mind of Marc Spector, and now mummies and moon priests have begun to reshape the world in Khonshu's ancient image. So begins a new dawn. So fall the Avengers.
“Moon Knight” arrives on Disney+ on March 30, 2022.
Have you read any of the Moon Knight comic books? Do you have any favorites we missed? Let us know what we should add to our list!