Moon Knight: Bad Moon Rising
New writer Max Bemis teases two new villains out to get Marc Spector!
In November 8’s MOON KNIGHT #188, from writer Max Bemis and artist Jacen Burrows, readers will be introduced to a new enemy who may become our hero’s most formidable foe, the mysterious Sun King. But with MOON KNIGHT #189 on November 29, the cast grows again with a villain called The Truth!
We talked to Max about Moon Knight’s newest bad guys, how they differ from his current rogues, and what about the mythology influenced his new take on this book.
Marvel.com: In the first issue of your MOON KNIGHT run, you introduce a new rival for our hero, but in issue #189, you expand his rogues gallery even further. What can you tell us about these two new villains and what inspired you to create them?
Max Bemis: One of the first things I talked about with [Marvel Editor-in-Chief] Axel Alonso when he invited me to write the comic was that we wanted to expand the rogues gallery and create new foils for Moon Knight. Historically, there’s been a lot of great villains in the series. I think obviously Bushman is an amazing sort of archnemesis and has been for a long time. Our goal was to top what was already existing. Whether or not we achieve that is in the eye of the beholder, but I certainly put my all into it.
I feel like a character who is as eclectic and dark and interesting as Moon Knight needs to have a rogues gallery that mirrors his own twisted mind. Not to say that he didn’t already have his own, but I feel like nothing that felt overtly like a rogues gallery, more so just villains or people he came up against. Now that he’s in a more solid place mentally, creating adversarial forces for him to work against is easier to do rather than him fighting against himself or Bushman again.
Marvel.com: Is it more fun for you to add to the pantheon yourself or to play with existing toys in the sandbox?
Max Bemis: I think it’s equally fun. Just writing super hero comics in general or licensed comics implies that I get a lot out of playing with mythologies that already exist. Why even work in this medium if you don’t have some fun with or if you don’t respect it and have some appreciation for what came before you? In terms of MOON KNIGHT, it’s always been a favorite comic of mine. In terms of his villains, I’ve always loved everything I’ve read in terms of the people he’s come up against. Obviously, it’s also fun to add to that mythology and I think it’s a 50/50 balance where you love being a part of this larger tapestry just as much as you love adding to it.
Marvel.com: How has it been working with an artist like Jacen Burrows in creating these new characters?
Max Bemis: Amazing! I mean, certainly I’m writing this comic with Jacen in mind and have been since the beginning of the book, since we knew he was onboard, after the pitching process. So, a character like The Truth, who’s introduced in the second issue of our run, was kind of tailor made for Jacen. I write them with no doubt in my mind that he’s going to take what I’ve come up with and turn it into something amazing that I probably never could have hashed out the details of myself. So, I do leave a lot of it up to Jacen in terms of character design and stuff like that. But I can almost predict what he’s gonna draw because I’m such a huge fan of his. I definitely write knowing the Jacen Burrows way of creating as a fan.
Marvel.com: How have previous runs on Moon Knight influenced your approach to the character?
Max Bemis: I mean, completely. I think if Moon Knight was written as a cheesy character ever and if it wasn’t for the pedigree of creators who have come before me, who knows how I would feel writing kind of an off kilter approach to him? That’s been done many times for a lot of Marvel characters. It’s not like I’m the first person to write an existential or deeper story involving Moon Knight. In fact, it’s not intimidating but definitely like, I certainly am not walking into this thinking I’m the greatest MOON KNIGHT writer of all time and I’m going to come in and revive a character who’s been hopelessly hackneyed for his entire existence.
This is a character who’s had some of the best writers ever working on his adventures since he was born. If anything, that’s why I’m a fan of the character, because some of my favorite creators have worked on him. That’s what drew me into the previous books. There’s a mythology there, almost a tone that I’m certainly challenging and playing with, but it’s easy to pick up the baton from someone like Jeff Lemire or Warren Ellis. It gives you an easy place to start from given that those are brilliant writers creating cool stuff.
Marvel.com: On a scale of 1-10, how creeped out should readers expect to be by these new baddies?
Max Bemis: I think if I get to keep writing this book for a long time, I’m just going to keep outdoing myself, so I don’t want to put them too high on the scale otherwise I won’t be able to get to an 11, Spinal Tap speak. I would put them pretty high up there. I think I would give them both 8’s. I think they’re both creepy but they’re also powerful and scary, not just sniveling creepoids. Certain comic characters are more of a 10 in creepiness, like there’s something inherently gross about them but they’re not necessarily scary.
These new guys are more the actual scary vibe, but I can’t wait to bring in more creepiness as we go along.
Marvel.com: Anything particularly striking moments coming up you’d like to tease?
Max Bemis: Every issue has something big introduced permanently into the Moon Knight mythology in this first run. At least every other issue has something that’s going to change Moon Knight forever. I think it’s a really cool arc to start out with if you’re a fan of the character and if you’re a fan of the arc, then I just hope we’ll be bringing readers with us on a longer journey.
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