'Moon Knight' Enters a New Phase with Jed MacKay & Alessandro Cappuccio
Marc Spector’s upcoming creative team and editor discuss plans for the Lunar Avenger!
Over the years since his 1975 introduction in WEREWOLF BY NIGHT #32, Moon Knight has been many things. He’s been a mercenary, a vigilante, a taxi driver, a millionaire, a mental patient, a television producer, and, on his good days, even an Avenger.
Speaking of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, the recent “Age of Khonshu” arc in AVENGERS saw Marc Spector make a return and take out nearly the entire team in service of his mad god and even inherit the power of the Phoenix in an attempt to save the world from the devil himself—it went about as well as can be expected.
Now, with no Khonshu to tether him, Spector strikes out this July in a new MOON KNIGHT ongoing series written by Jed MacKay with art by Alessandro Cappuccio. This creative team promises a new take on Marvel’s lunar lunatic heavy on action and containing a twist or two never seen before in the character’s canon.
We spoke with MacKay and Cappuccio along with series editor Tom Brevoort about the appeal of Moon Knight and how they plan to set this iteration of the cult favorite Marvel crusader apart.
What was your first exposure to Moon Knight as a reader? What appealed to you about the character?
Tom Brevoort: If I’m remembering right, the first time I would have seen Moon Knight was in his short run of DEFENDERS appearances, a very strange way to encounter the character. He seemed to be all about beer in that story, and I didn’t quite know what to make of him. Of course, a bit later on I was around for the tail end of his solo series in the back of HULK Magazine, and then the big launch of his first [Doug] Moench and [Bill] Sienkiewicz series. And what was appealing there, beyond just the strengths of the stories those creators told, was the fact that they treated Moon Knight as a much more grounded and urban, almost realistic character than most other Super Heroes.
For the most part, Moon Knight didn’t fight Super Villains or monsters, he dealt with weird stuff and real-world stuff. I also dug the fact that he had multiple identities (in those days, that hadn’t quite evolved into multiple personalities as it would as time went on—initially, he was a guy who put on a different act for each aspect of his life). In that, he was the most like the Shadow, who would pretend to be Lamont Cranston and the police janitor and a few other roles, but who had secretly been aviator Kent Allard, seemingly killed during the war.
Alessandro Cappuccio: I remember that my first contact with MOON KNIGHT was with the  run of [Brian] Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev; I was immediately struck by the diversity of this character compared to the classic Marvel heroes. When I was still studying to become a comic book artist, to better learn the art of storytelling, I bought the  volume from Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey, and this volume decreed my falling in love with Moon Knight. I was fascinated by how this character lived his adventures both in the Marvel Universe and elsewhere, with all kinds of weirdness, dreams, visions, nightmares; it was something different.
Jed MacKay: I think my first exposure to Moon Knight (and a whole pile of other characters, come to think of it) was from the 1990 Marvel trading cards. He was someone who stuck out immediately—he had a cool name, he had a cool costume, he had a cool writeup. That said, I don't think I became a Moon Knight reader until the 2014 series, which really struck me. Street-level characters have always had a lot of appeal to me, and here was a character who was undeniably street-level but also undeniably weird. Just strange from top to bottom, a guy who ran around at night dressed in luminous white, who dealt with things you couldn't imagine Daredevil dealing with in ways that you couldn't imagine Daredevil dealing with them.
What was the impetus behind bringing Moon Knight into AVENGERS in such a big way? How does this series spin out of that story?
Brevoort: Well, bringing Moon Knight into AVENGERS was entirely [writer] Jason Aaron’s idea. And like all of the storylines we’ve done since that series began, our intention is that every arc is like an event. So in this case, it was Moon Knight vs. the Avengers, showcasing what a badass character Moon Knight could be, with a possible eye towards potentially bringing him onto the team. We didn’t wind up going that way, but there were a bunch of aspects that Jason set up in his treatment of the character that struck people as being of interest. And with such a huge spotlight on him thanks to that story, and a streaming series in the wings, it seemed like an obvious choice to use that as a platform to launch out a new series. So our book does pick up on the events of “Age of Khonshu,” but it’s also a very different beast. It’s more in line with the traditions of Moon Knight that I mentioned earlier, a much more ground level character than what may have been on display in AVENGERS.
Tom, how did the process of assembling this creative team come together? What specific attributes do Jed, Alessandro, and the rest of the team possess that fit with your vision for Moon Knight?
Brevoort: Well, as I sometimes do, at the outset, I wrote up a brief document outlining my broad thoughts for the character and series, and sent that out to a few different people whom I thought might have an interesting approach and an interest in taking on MOON KNIGHT. Jed was on that list based on his work on BLACK CAT, though he was also helped by having done AVENGERS MECH STRIKE with me in my office. And he was the writer who came back with a take on the material that I thought fit in best for the type of series I was trying to hit. In terms of Alessandro, [Marvel Talent Relations Director] Rickey Purdin passed along his sample pages, and we thought he had the sort of style that would fit the series as well. He was a new face, and to be honest, we had been looking for a more established artist, but his sample pages looked strong, and so I took a chance and rolled the dice on him. And so far, it’s worked out great.
For Jed and Alessandro, how did you become involved with this series?
MacKay: Last fall, I got an email from Tom telling me that he was putting together a Moon Knight series and if I'd be interested in putting something together for consideration. Outside of a few points of direction, it was an open invitation, and I frantically began to throw ideas together. I was immediately struck with the concept of Moon Knight being described as "priest," and what that would look like in the case of someone who was at odds with the god that he ostensibly served. Moon Knight has always been an outsider, but when he's estranged even from his patron god? What would that look like?
Cappuccio: In April 2020 I was contacted by Rickey Purdin who proposed me to do another project completely different from MOON KNIGHT. Due to the pandemic, this project was postponed until December 2020 and just before Christmas Rickey contacted me again asking if I was interested in replacing the previous project to start the new Moon Knight series. Rickey had shown my portfolio to Tom and Jed who, having seen my work, showed interest in entrusting me with the Moon Knight relaunch series. So I abandoned the proposal of the previous work to undertake this path. Honestly, when I read that email I was speechless, for me to debut in Marvel with a regular series drawing one of my favorite characters exceeded all my expectations, it seemed absurd! I will never stop thanking them for the trust they have shown in me.
Alessandro, how would you describe your style and why does it fit with Moon Knight?
Cappuccio: I try to create a balance between blacks and whites on the page, usually before defining the figures I start sketching only the main masses of ink on the paper to try to create the right balance. I have always had a particular interest in the contrasts between black and white, and this in my opinion goes well with the character of Moon Knight that, working at night, often comes across dark and with horror environments where I can have fun and express myself to the fullest.
What previous Moon Knight portrayals weigh on your interpretation? What kind of new touches are you bringing to the character?
Brevoort: I think hopefully readers will see a lot of the classic flourishes that they love in our incarnation. But in particular, Jed drew a bunch from the Warren Ellis/Declan Shalvey series, in particular the Mr. Knight persona. But our Moon Knight is also a bit different from all of these others. Khonshu has now fallen, he’s a prisoner of the Asgardians, so Moon Knight is effectively a priest without a God. So what does that make him? How does he act? Well, for one thing, he seems to have his dissociative identity disorder more under control than we’re used to seeing... And he’s got a new mission (and a new Mission) and a new cast of characters surrounding him. But it’s an action comic that we’re doing, so each issue also has at least one incredible set piece built into it. And we’re also not above going more extreme with the sorts of weirdness that Moon Knight encounters after dark.
MacKay: I think that the 2014 series would be the greatest influence on our series, but we've been drawing a lot on the original series as well, combining a more modern street-level angst with the more human side of Moon Knight portrayed back in the original run. We're starting off with a very opaque Moon Knight, someone guarded and closed-off, appearing only as Mr. Knight or Moon Knight. But as we continue, we'll see the cracks in those walls and where exactly Marc Spector has found himself in the wake of putting his boot on the world's neck, and how he's trying to make a new start at the only thing he knows.
How does the absence of Khonshu in this series impact Moon Knight and his mission?
MacKay: Again, what is a priest without their god? What is the Fist of Khonshu without Khonshu? Khonshu has been a lot of things to Moon Knight over the years, but now he's absent and Moon Knight is on his own, for good or for ill. Whatever happens next, is on Moon Knight—there's no one else to blame, this time.
What is the Midnight Mission and how important is it to this series?
MacKay: The Midnight Mission is the axis that a lot of the series revolves around. It's Moon Knight's home base, a simple storefront where people can come to him with their weird problems, and he can go out and sort things out. It's Moon Knight's public face, and it's him being vulnerable in a way he hasn't been before; he's not some mysterious, unreachable masked figure. People know where to find him, both friends and enemies.
How do you build a supporting cast and rogues gallery for a character like Moon Knight?
MacKay: A fair amount of picking and choosing. [Laughs] We're looking at a fresh take on Moon Knight's supporting cast, creating new friends and enemies and digging others out of retirement, though these older characters may not be ones we'd usually associate with Moon Knight. Whoever we think might be fun to introduce into Moon Knight's new life goes on the list!
What has the collaborative process been like on this book?
MacKay: It's been great! Alessandro has been hugely enthusiastic and receptive throughout the whole process. He's always willing to try something out and has been a great collaborator, bringing some wonderful work to the book!
Cappuccio: Being my first job at Marvel I was pretty nervous about this new path, but the team Tom has built is perfect. Establishing a creative dialogue between collaborators is fundamental to creating a level product, with Jed all this is possible, I love his work!
If your volume of MOON KNIGHT has a mission statement, what would that be?
Cappuccio: I'd like to introduce as many people as possible to the character of Moon Knight, I'd like him to take the space he deserves within the Marvel Universe. I hope this new series is the right opportunity to do justice to one of the most interesting characters around.
Brevoort: For all that he’s been around as a character for decades, Moon Knight has never quite been able to find his feet as one of the super-popular A-list characters of the Marvel Universe. He’s a perennial player, but one that was seen by most as a bit secondary—he’d appear for a while, and then retreat into limbo for a bit. So if nothing else, we’re going to attempt to work to make Moon Knight a mainstream player and a figure that you expect to be appearing in a series all the time, not simply once in a while.
MacKay: Similar to what Tom said, I'd love for Moon Knight to find his niche and stick around in publication for a while. That's one of the reasons that I was so excited to work on a Moon Knight book—it's usually a long stretch of time between MOON KNIGHT series, and an opportunity to work on one can be pretty rare. We're hoping to change that!
MOON KNIGHT #1, by Jed MacKay and Alessandro Cappuccio, arrives on July 21! Catch up with previous volumes on Marvel Unlimited!
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