Marc Spector has had many jobs and many names; he’s been a mercenary, a costumed superhero named Moon Knight, a millionaire with the alias Steven Grant, and a cab driver with the pseudonym Jack Lockley. Spector has been so many different things, and different people, it’s had for him to know who he is anymore. In February 2006, novelist turned comic scribe Charlie Huston and artist Dave Finch decipher the enigma that is Marc Spector in “Moon Knight: The Bottom” a six issue mini-series from Marvel Comics. Huston spoke to CBR News about the series, which will return Moon Knight to a prominent role in the Marvel Universe.
“The Bottom” is Huston’s first comic book work. Ruwan Jayalilleke, Marvel’s Director of Development, Publishing, recruited him. “He found me in a gutter in Peru, cleaned me up, taught me how to kick box, gave me my self-respect back, and told me I could repay him by writing a Moon Knight story. Or it seemed that way,” joked Huston when talking with CBR News. “It was probably more like Ruwan was scouting for new writers outside the comics industry. He solicited my agent for names and we sent him a couple of my books. He liked them and sold me to Marvel editorial. They all asked if I knew anything about Moon Knight and I said, ‘Moon Knight? He was one of my favorite characters back when I was a kid.’ They thought that was cool and I started pitching. But I prefer the Peru story.”
Huston was a huge comic fan during his teenage years and “Moon Knight” was one of his favorite comics. “I followed him all through the Moench/Sienkiewicz run, but bailed when it changed to ‘Fist of Khonshu,'” Huston recounted. “I loved the Morpheus arcs. ‘Hit It’ was one of the best single comics ever, an unacknowledged masterpiece. The Black Specter issue is great. And I loved Moench’s last story from Volume One, ‘Exploding Myths.'”
“The Bottom” describes where Moon Knight is at when the story begins. “He’s way down there and it’s his own fault and it’s going to take a lot of work to get out,” Huston said. “Spector is damaged goods, there are broken pieces in his heart and in his head. His life in and out of the cowl is about trying to get those pieces to work properly.”
Getting those broken pieces to work will force Marc Spector to answer some tough questions. “Who Marc Spector is and why he does what he does are questions that are very much at the heart of the story I’m telling,” Huston stated. “I think part of the fun of the series will be seeing those questions answered.”
In “The Bottom,” Huston will examine an aspect of Moon Knight that many recent writers have shied away from, his possible supernatural origin at the hands of Khonsu, the Egyptian god of Vengeance. “Moench played the Khonshu card with deliberate ambiguity,” Huston explained. “Not only was the reader not supposed to be certain if Spector was really an avatar of the Egyptian god of vengeance, but Spector himself wasn’t supposed to be certain. ‘Fist of Khonshu’ made Khonshu a concrete certainty. And in the ‘Marc Spector’ books it seemed to go back and forth depending on who was writing the story.
“I don’t think there is a right or a wrong answer here as to how you approach Khonshu,” Huston continued. “But you have to approach him. You must deal with Moon Knight’s origin and you must make a decision as to whether the big K is a real influence in his life. How you play it after that is a matter of taste.”
Huston promises that Khonsu does play a role in “The Bottom.” Interested readers will have to pick up the series to see if Huston decides if Khonsu is real or just a delusion of Marc Spector’s. “The Bottom” will also feature appearances by some of Moon Knight’s old supporting cast including his best friend, Jean Paul “Frenchie” DuChamp. “Ain’t Moon Knight without some Frenchie,” Huston stated.
It won’t be just old friends getting reacquainted with Moon Knight in “The Bottom.” “You will see at least one of Moon Knight’s classic villains,” Huston said. “You will see some baddies from way back in his past. You will see at least one classic eighties Marvel baddy who Moon Knight never faced before, and I’ve brewed up a brand new guy to give Moon Knight some flak.”
The tone of “Moon Knight: The Bottom” will reflect the dark tale Huston is telling. “If I was going to pitch it Hollywood style, I’d say it’s kind of, ‘Gigli’ meets ‘Ice Princess,’ but only if both those movies were about deranged former mercenaries who believe they are the earthly instruments of an Egyptian god and who show their devotion by beating people to the edge of death,” Huston said.
Huston said he’s done a lot of research for the story he’s crafted. “That research and the notebook I kept on Moon Knight have left me with a whole pile of Moon Knight story ideas in my head,” Huston explained. “I’d love to tell some of those stories, but I have my own stories that I’m telling in my novels and it’s hard to know if I’ll have the time. For now, I still have some work to do on ‘The Bottom’ and I want to stay focused on that. After I’m done scripting, then I get to dig into the fun stuff when David Finch starts drawing and I get to see his badassness on the page. Six months out from seeing the first issue, it’s hard for me to think about more than that.”
Readers looking for more of Huston’s thoughts and insight on “Moon Knight: The Bottom” should check out his Web site. “I’ve got a comic books page devoted to my Moon Knight experiences and I’ll be periodically updating it,” he said. “I’m a little limited in what I can share right now (The House of Ideas is also The House of Secrets), but as information gets cleared by Marvel I’ll be talking about it.”