Moon Knight: Changing Tides
Writer Max Bemis previews Marvel Legacy Marc Spector!
Moon Knight moves in the shadows, where his many methods and alter-egos can operate to greatest effect. But the arrival of Marvel Legacy promises a new enemy for Marc Spector—one that overwhelms the cover of darkness with blinding light and fire.
On November 8, an unexpected dawn arrives with MOON KNIGHT #188, by writer Max Bemis and artist Jacen Burrows! The first issue, entitled “Crazy Runs in the Family, Part 1,” kicks off a new story and a new Moon Knight.
We spoke with Max to find out some of the secrets behind the book.
Marvel.com: Over the years, Moon Knight has been a straight-ahead super hero, a costumed adventurer, a religious zealot…from your perspective, what are Marc Spector’s essential qualities as a character? Who is Moon Knight to you?
Max Bemis: In relation to his mental health, he’s about a 50/50 mix between complete anarchy and morality. In certain ways, Marc Spector can be a really great guy—until he starts dealing with his mental issues.
So there are these two separate sides to him, but at the same time, he can be a mix of those two sides. He’s a normal guy—well not a normal guy, he’s seen a lot of trauma…he tries to do what’s right, but he’s also very violent and angry.
I find that duality interesting. Moon Knight acts methodically with his violence. No one else creates weapons that are made to hurt someone the same way that Moon Knight does. He fights really dirty.
I feel like he stands for a really intense creativity and raw emotion—but also solid standards. He tries to keep it all together, tries to keep being a good person.
Marvel.com: Over the past few volumes of the title we’ve seen different writers highlight different alternate identities for Marc. Now that you’re at the helm, do you have a particular identity you’re focusing on?
Max Bemis: I focus on all of them, for sure. Knoshu plays a big—and completely unique—role. And I’m taking some risks with Steven Grant and Jake Lockley; they are amazing, and obviously very different, people. Steven Grant represents the buttoned-up public millionaire type—and Jake Lockley represents the streetwise guy.
Those archetypes are cool, but they aren’t that interesting on their own—considering that Moon Knight’s split personalities are his main characteristic—so I’m inclined to examine what emotional aspects they each carry. For me, Steven Grant is a really good person. He’s a force of stability.
Jake Lockley, because he functions as a down-on-the-streets dude, is more the id. That’s how I’m portraying him. Jake is this complete bad-ass—a borderline-bad person. Well, not bad, because Marc isn’t evil, but he’s a close to bad as Marc can get.
Marvel.com: You refer to Marc’s different identities as personalities. In your opinion, are Jake, Marc, and Steven just identities? Or does Moon Knight truly have Dissociative Identity Disorder—multiple personalities?
Max Bemis: They are multiple personalities, full on—but they know of each other’s existence, and because of what happened in Jeff Lemire’s run, I think we find a coherence in the passing of the baton that happens amongst them, at least when we first start out. That’s the standard, but it does deviate into some complex stuff about how they all relate to each other. Who’s in control and who’s not? That’s a subplot of the whole thing.
Marvel.com: Themes of mental illness and health were a big theme in your FOOLKILLER series as well. Is that subject particularly important to you in comics?
Max Bemis: You know, it is, but not quite as literally as it’s turned out in my career. It feels like one of those things that I didn’t really believe in being pigeonholed into, but now I’ve noticed that I have written three books that completely revolve around mentally ill characters.
That being said, I wouldn’t say that mental illness exists as prevalently in MOON KNIGHT as it did in FOOLKILLER. In FOOLKILLER, the character’s job was the whole hook of the book—a vigilante therapist. In MOON KNIGHT, Marc just happens to be mentally ill.
I think the major theme of the book is “craziness” or being “unhinged.” Can that be a force for good in the word? Is that diluted or suppressed by systemic evil? It’s about chaos being connected to creativity and love—and also seeing the opposite of that.
Marvel.com: In terms of the tone and atmosphere of the book, what you are going for? How does artist Jacen Burrows help you realize that?
Max Bemis: The biggest cliché in the world is to say that it’s dark, but…it’s dark. The first two issues feel somewhat seedy. It’s weird and sometimes funny, but it is super dark. Like, if you want to read a comic where things are happening at night, this book’s for you.
And I don’t have much of a memory of Jacen Burrows’ art where people are just running around smiling on a sunny day. He’s great at this stuff. I wanted to give Jacen a chance to stretch—but I also wanted to play to his strengths.
Marvel.com: Moon Knight will be getting a “chief adversary” in this story. Can you tease a little bit about who that character might be?
Max Bemis: The villain exists in terms of the archetypes of chaos versus order. We link it to the Egyptian mythology that has come to mean so much to Marc.
Knoshu has been his god for a long time. But what is Knoshu? He’s the shepherd to the lost. He’s a moon god. So I wanted to draw on that mythology and find the opposing force…
It wasn’t about just giving him an archnemesis—but deciding who’s going to come up as a foil against this protagonist. What Marc represents—and what represents the opposite of that. Once you read the first issue, the connections become very clear.
Marvel.com: What can you tell readers about the coming plot lines in this story?
Max Bemis: Moon Knight gets put through an emotional endurance test; there are so many things that are happening to him aside from bad guys attacking him. But his enemies are going to start to become organized over the course of the arc—showing that there may be someone specifically out to destroy him.
I think the first arc could be a Moon Knight movie, essentially. Or even a movie sequel, because you already know Moon Knight’s character. It has the structure of a Marvel movie. A super weird Marvel movie.
Marvel.com: Looking beyond that first arc, are there any other characters you think might work particularly well alongside Moon Knight?
Max Bemis: Moon Knight has been exposed to the pantheon of Marvel street-level heroes before—but not as deeply as he could be. When you think of Daredevil, Punisher, and a few other people, they are so interwoven that they have their own little world. I think Moon Knight could be an amazing part of that.
Marvel.com: Any last thoughts ahead of MOON KNIGHT #188’s launch?
Max Bemis: I would tell new readers to definitely try the first arc. If anything, just see how wild things get.
I’m very proud of the first arc—and if you’re a MOON KNIGHT fan, a lot is going to change from there.
Uncover the mysteries of MOON KNIGHT #188, by Max Bemis and artist Jacen Burrows, on November 8!
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