How Did Moon Knight Gain His Famous Name?

In every installment of Abandoned Love we will be examining comic book stories, plots and ideas that were abandoned by a later writer without actively retconnng away the previous story. Feel free to e-mail me at brianc@cbr.com if you have any suggestions for future editions of this feature.

Reader Jason M. wrote in with this one.

It all started with Moon Knight's first appearance in Werewolf by Night #32 (by Doug Moench and Don Perlin). Clearly, Moench was just looking for a cool new foe for Jack Russell, the titular Werewolf by Night, to fight against and he came upon the idea of having the new foe be a moon-themed guy, because of the whole, you know, werewolf theme of the book.

Actually, let me pause for a second and backtrack a bit to an earlier time in the series, when Marv Wolfman, Gil Kane and Don Perlin were doing the series. In Werewolf by Night #11, they introduced the corrupt group of Los Angeles businessmen known as The Committee, who wanted to take control of a werewolf for one reason or another...

They were already involved in other illegal stuff, but this whole werewolf thing was a big next step to crazy town, U.S.A., as it is unclear precisely why they were so darned obsessed with having a werewolf under control, to the point where they would torture Jack Russell's stepfather to find out the location of Jack.

Anyhow, they continued to be an occasional pain in the side of Jack Russell, until they stepped their game up a bit and hired Marc Spector, a well-respected soldier of fortune, to hunt down and capture Jack for them. They give him a special moon-themed costume and tell him his new name...Moon Knight!

Notice Marc's reaction to his name. It's pretty funny.

Okay, so Moon Knight actually succeeds in his mission and turns Jack over to the Committee, who imprison him and pay Moon Knight his $10,000 fee, but Moon Knight's conscience gets the better of him and he decides that there is enough humanity left in Jack that Moon Knight doesn't want to be held responsible for any harm that would come to Jack or Jack's sister and his friend, so Moon Knight goes rogue and frees Jack...

You have to love the strange ethics involved in Moon Knight's change of heart. "But I'm still keeping the costume and the name, people!"

The editors of the series liked the new character so much that they gave him his own feature in Marvel Spotlight where he is now more of an outright hero. That eventually led to more guest-star spots in other titles and then a recurring feature in the Hulk magazine that Moench would write with a new artist for the character named Bill Sienkiewicz. Those back-ups were so popular that Marvel decided to let Moench and Sienkieiwcz give Moon Knight his own series.

In the first issue of the series, the whole Moon Knight naming situation was resolved once and for all...

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