Creator Declan Shalvey on His Influential Moon Knight Run
The creator spoke to fellow artist Elsa Charretier about his creative inspirations and character-defining run on 2014’s ‘Moon Knight.’
Hosted by Elsa Charretier and produced and directed by Pierrick Colinet, Charretier’s YouTube channel expertly discusses the art of making comics, touching on everything from content to style and structure in sequential storytelling.
Creator Elsa Charretier (THE UNSTOPPABLE WASP) sat down with artist and writer Declan Shalvey to cover his influential designs and visionary visuals from MOON KNIGHT (2014)! Declan’s co-creations, including the Mr. Knight identity and a bold new take on moon god Khonshu, have gone on to define Moon Knight’s mythos in his future and ongoing comic runs.
Read the fan-favorite 2014 series in full on Marvel Unlimited, and grab more interview highlights from Declan’s behind-the-scenes scoop!
ELSA CHARRETIER: The [Mr. Knight] suit is inspired by Michael Lark’s take from SECRET AVENGERS. What motivated your choice to having the character in a suit as opposed to using a more classic Super Hero costume?
DECLAN SHALVEY: Well, it was all in the script. It was all in the original take. I remember when I was pitched to the series with Warren [Ellis] I was so excited, and then he told me the basic concept of what it was and I remember thinking, like, “this is insane.” MOON KNIGHT was the first opportunity to do something that was more me. And with all of these ideas about Moon Knight it required more of me to build and design. I looked up [SECRET AVENGERS #19] and I liked what Michael had done a lot, but I kind of wanted to go for something that was far more stylish. Just make it more of a streamlined, dapper suit.
ELSA CHARRETIER: Yea, I think that’s your stroke of genius for that run that you decided to color Moon Knight entirely white. No gray scales, no shadows, just purely white throughout the entire series. And that really makes it stand apart.
DECLAN SHALVEY: I’d like to just point out that you said “genius,” not me.
ELSA CHARRETIER: [laughter] Yea, and I stand by it. Do you remember at what point in the development that you came up with that idea?
DECLAN SHALVEY: I do, and like all good ideas I robbed it from somewhere. I remember Jordie Bellaire who was the colorist of the book had previous to MOON KNIGHT been coloring ULTIMATE X-MEN (2010). And Brian Wood was writing it and had asked for Kitty Pryde to be in white, in a white suit. I just remember thinking that was really cool, and that Kitty stood out in a very different way.
ELSA CHARRETIER: In the first issue you used a lot of silhouette, negative space, but not so much in the following issues. Was it more about anchoring Moon Knight into the story rather than taking him out as a design element?
DECLAN SHALVEY: There’s an argument that it’s a very superficial book because I knew nothing about Moon Knight before the series, and I know nothing after [laughs]. I looked at all the favorite artists that had worked on the book, like Alex Maleev, Tommy Lee Edwards, and Bill Sienkiewicz. And Sienkiewicz was a huge inspiration in seeing him experiment. I got a Moon Knight omnibus, and as you go through the book you see these really weird, wonkily drawn panels, and then you see this other panel that’s really inspiring and crazy. It’s like, very uneven, and as he works on the book you can see that it’s starting to meld into this thing that is the Bill Sienkiewicz that we know now.
ELSA CHARRETIER: You feel like he figured out his style as he went along?
DECLAN SHALVEY: Yea, and I feel like he did it in the pages. But I respected that he experimented so much and that made me want to go hard. I think I came out of that book a better artist.
ELSA CHARRETIER: Was it ever a challenge for you to keep everything coherent [in terms of design]?
DECLAN SHALVEY: It was hard to know what was coming next, like there was only so much I could design. When I drew Mr. Knight I didn’t know that there would be a Super Hero costume in the next issue. I mean, I knew it was coming at some stage but I didn’t know when. As much as I would like to say that everything was considered from the beginning to the end and I designed this masterpiece… I mean, you know yourself—
ELSA CHARRETIER: Sometimes it just happens.
DECLAN SHALVEY: You’re just winging it, you just gotta roll with it. That’s not a bad thing sometimes, having to think on your feet is a great way to keep you on your toes and it keeps you from becoming complacent. I definitely had a storytelling approach with the book which was generally widescreen panels. For me it’s a pacing thing.
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