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When CBR News last spoke with new “Moon Knight” writer Charlie Huston, he was preparing to bring the Fist of Khonsu back to the Marvel Universe in a six-issue mini-series. Then a funny thing happened on the way to the Moon Copter and “Moon Knight” graduated from a six issue mini-series to an ongoing series before the first issue hit stands. CBR News spoke with Huston for some new info on the monthly continuing exploits of Marc Spector, the first issue of which hits stores in April.
Huston feels that his artistic collaborator, David Finch, is the major reason that “Moon Knight” got the monthly nod. “I’m not sure about all the details on this, but from what I gather the change was brought about by a few factors,” Huston told CBR News. “First, David Finch came on. Before that this was a book about a cult character being written by a comic book nobody. Dave raised the profile and legitimacy of the book enormously. Second, retailer and fan reaction to the press on the book has been strong. Third, Finch’s pencils. I’m told that when his work on this book hit Marvel there was a collective, massive holy shit! Somewhere in all that someone saw dollar signs and they decided to go for it. I’ll be on for the first 12 issues. After that it will depend on whether Marvel is happy with my work and whether my schedule allows me to continue.”
The move from limited series to ongoing has not changed Huston’s dark toned opening story arc “The Bottom.” “I may alter the last page of issue six to use it as a tease for the next arc, but that’s it,” he said.
Another thing that hasn’t changed is new readers don’t have to be familiar with Marc Spector’s checkered past to enjoy “Moon Knight” #1. “This point is supposed to be that readers can come in to ‘Moon Knight’ freely and leave with a clear idea of who this guy is and where he needs to go,” Huston explained. “The origin and all that gets worked into the first arc.”
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One of the challenges for Huston in crafting the opening arc of “Moon Knight” was looking at Spector’s origin and evaluating the different and often conflicting takes on Moon Knight that the have been done over the years. “We’re trying to get him to a place where there’s a unified vision of who the guy is,” Huston stated. “For some time now he’s been almost a blank slate that writers can fill up with whatever vision they have of him. That doesn’t happen with Spider Man, you know. So, while he’s not going to be jumping onto the A-list, we do want him to have that kind of clarity in the MU. Job one on that is establishing a clear background and personality. That’s the first arc.”
As part of clearly establishing the character’s personality, Huston plans to show that Moon Knight may be heroic, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a nice guy. “Moon Knight’s not going to be carrying around a rocket launcher,” Huston said. “But he doesn’t mind leaving a scar or two. Or three. Or…”
Moon Knight wasn’t the only alter ego that Marc Spector created for himself. He further strained his already damaged psyche by assuming a number of different identities. “Mental health is a term that doesn’t apply. He has none,” Huston said. “The other alter egos must be dealt with in some fashion. You can’t pretend Spector never used to put on a fake moustache and drive a cab. However, they will not get much play at the outset.’
In addition to multiple alter egos, Spector has often employed a number of gadgets when battling crime. “There have been a few times in Moony’s past that he’s been toting a load of gadgets around,” Huston said. “I’ll be making a nod toward some of that stuff, but I don’t think it’s really his deal.”
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One piece of technology readers can definitely expect though is Moon Knight’s customized mode of transportation, the Moon Coptor. “THE Moon Copter? Last time I checked there were about fifty of those things,” Huston explained. “Could be you might see more than one.”
The Moon Coptor will aid Spector as he pursues his criminal prey through the narrow concrete canyons of New York City. “The first arc is pretty localized, for reasons that will become obvious in issue #1,” Huston stated. “But I imagine we’ll open up and have him all over the city. I love New York, and Finch is giving it this great claustrophobic feel. Like the city is a big trap, a maze you can’t escape. We’ll look to play with that.”
Moon Knight’s trek through the labyrinthine streets of New York will bring him into conflict with a variety of criminal threats. “One of the things I like about the character is his versatility,” Huston explained. “He’s an unpowered costumed hero with a supernatural origin. That gives him room to work in all areas. At various times I’d like to be able to tell stories that put him in with street crime, tights villains, and spooks. I don’t think MK blends well with A-class villains. Doctor Doom is a bad fit. But he’s faced werewolves and gangsters and The Killer Shrike! I don’t see why he can’t keep it up. Truth is, he’ll be spending a lot of time fighting himself. Gonna be that kind of book. With plenty of asskicking.”
With Moon Knight battling a variety of villains and his own tortured psyche, readers can expect the series to have a tone that mixes super heroics and pulp style story telling. “I write crime and horror novels for a living, that sensibility is part of what got me this gig and it is bound to flavor what I write,” Huston said. “I’d say there will be more than a fair amount of pulp, but I really want to try and embrace the cape stuff. I want to look for the opportunities to tell stories that I can’t tell in my novels.”
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Huston’s first Moon Knight story maintains a tight focus on the character. After that, readers can expect to see Marc Spector interact with the Marvel Universe a little more. “I’ll be looking to put him in play a bit in the general MU, getting him next to some other characters so we can hear what they think about him,” Huston said.
In future issues, Huston will also addresses the impact of some of the Marvel Universe’s big events on Moon Knight. “I’ve been briefed on ‘Civil War,'” Huston stated. “I’m faaaaaar from the epicenter on stuff like that, but it’s going to be sweeping and I’d be remiss if I didn’t give it some play in the book. You’ll know where MK stands on ‘Civil War’ stuff after I’m done with issue #12.”
Huston has enjoyed returning the Fist of Khonsu to the Marvel Universe and feels Marvel made a great choice when they offered him the chance to chronicle the adventures of Marc Spector. “Moon Knight was kind of perfect for me,” he said. “A dark noirish character I loved as a kid and who hadn’t been overused the last 20 years. It’s hard to find those.”
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