It has been almost two years since I spotlighted a Moon Knight comic! This cannot stand! I know my podcasting partner on Into the Weird is a huge fan of this character, and rightly so. For anybody that’s looking for a title to start collecting, if you’re into thrillers, horror, action, etc., this is the title for you.
In this specific issue, we see a serial killer loose in the city, and he’s murdering homeless people. But this is no ordinary case, and Moon Knight quickly gets on the killer’s trail. After using his disguise as a cab driver (Lockley) to get some info, he then proceeds to go home and make a gameplan. Meanwhile, a friend of his (a transient) named Crawley gets attacked but not killed. These killings aren’t random, and Moon Knight and Crawley are about to find out why!
Even in this early stage of the title, you can see the beginnings of brilliance from Doug Moench (writer), and Bill Sienkiewicz (interior pencils and cover). Their collaboration on the title lasted quite a long time, and only gets better as you go! With inks by Frank Springer, Carl Gafford colors, Annette Kawecki on letters, and edited by Denny O’Neil!
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more strange character than Moon Knight. He’s a man who has money, women, good looks, etc. Basically everything most people want, but he also has some serious issues. Initially, he was just a crime fighter with some quirks, but eventually he was shown to have some mental problems, such as schizophrenia. In this early issue though, Marc Spector was more of a Batman knock-off than anything (not to seem disrespectful, but it’s true), and fought the villain of the week for the most part. But you did get a story once in a while, that was off-beat and caught your attention. This is one of them for sure!
The story shows two boys that go check out a “haunted house” in the local neighborhood. Turns out that house is the center of some seedy goings-on, and Moon Knight is there to shut it down. There’s only one problem, it actually might be haunted by a shotgun wielding skeleton!
The story is a good one, and all the credit to Doug Moench (writer) for it. Good action, dialogue, etc. His work on this title and much more from the Bronze Age is great. The art team is Bill Sienkiewicz (pencils and cover art) and Klaus Janson (inks), and both of these gentlemen are very prolific. They have made very good contributions to the medium and should be remembered for them. Bob Sharen (colors), Rick Parker (letters), and Denny O’Neil (editor) round out the creative team!
Every once and a while, you get a comic book that reflects society, sometimes the bad parts of society that previously no one else wanted to show. Sometimes writers and artists have a tendency to ram messages about societal problems down a readers throat, and that of course is not a good thing. I won’t give any examples but in the 1980’s, you have plenty of comics that were critical darlings that weren’t very subtle in delivering a point about social issues. There are however titles like this one, that do an excellent job of showing things as they are for some people, and enlighten the people from the other side of the tracks on just how bad things can be.
When Doug Moench (writer) and Bill Sienkiewicz (artist) took over the reigns of the character Moon Knight, they made comics that were thought-provoking, edgy, and they did it without being overt about their intentions. Too many writers nowadays fall into the trap of beating the readers over the head with their own agendas, without ever considering whether they’re even remotely right or who they may alienate. Can you even imagine what these guys would create together in this day and age? The scary part is that there isn’t anybody in mainstream comics with the cajonies these guys had back in 1980! Pimps, drunks, drug addicts, and thieves, you get them all in this book!
The reason I chose this issue, aside from it being the Fantastic Four, is the story, and the creative team. The latter, I’ll get to in a minute, but first, let’s get acquainted with the story. In it, we see Namor, as his underwater kingdom is attacked by some foreign army of underwater creatures. On the surface, Reed is growing more and more apart from the rest of the team. Snapping at them for something miniscule, he storms off in a huff. Can the team unite and help Namor fight off a multitude of attackers, one of which has attained a relic from Atlantis that can make him unbeatable?
Now, on to the creative team. At this point, the book was in a slight bit of flux, in that the Kirby/Lee legendary run was well over, and a couple of the other, lesser known (but still kicked butt!) runs were also over (Wein/Perez, Conway/Buckler, etc.). The other big run, that of John Byrne had yet to begin, leaving room for a strange but incredible great story like this one to be presented by Doug Moench (writer), Bill Sienkiewicz (pencils), Joe Sinnott (inks), Jim Novak (letters), colors by George Roussos, and edited by Jim Salicrup! Enjoy this great issue by this awesome team of creators!
Pin-up by ‘Joltin’ Joe Sinnott
My love for Robert E. Howard created material is something that if most don’t already know about, you soon will. Of course, Conan is the biggest REH character, but if you look deeper into his world, you’ll see others, like Red Sonja, Solomon Kane, and Kull! Kull is basically a Conan “type” character, but more refined as a ruler. He’s a savage warrior like Conan, but most of the stories are as Kull as a ruler, not a thief, or pirate. His trusted friend, Brule, is a warrior born but also a man of great intellect when it comes to war. Kull is a man born in Atlantis, but rules the kingdom of Valusia.
This story was scripted by perennial Bronze Age writer, Alan Zelenetz. He’s done some other great work in this category (Thor/Warriors Three), and should be applauded for his efforts. Penciling, we have the legend himself, ‘Big’ John Buscema, and we all know of his accolades in the industry. An incredible artist taken to soon from the world. Dan Green and Joe Chiodo add their abilities to the artwork (inks), and throw in letters by John Morelli, and colors by Christie Scheele, and cover by Bill Sienkiewicz (inks on the second story as well) make this issue a winner!
I’ll admit that I’m not the biggest fan of Moon Knight. No vitriol here, but I just never was a huge fan for some unknown reason. That being said, I am picking up a few issues to give the character a shot. One of these issues is Moon Knight #23, and with a cover like this one (by Bill Sienkiewicz), you cannot deny the high “cool” factor it delivers. The issue is basically a part two of an encounter between Moonie and his foe, Morpheus. I’m not too familiar with this adversary, but he looks completely deranged, and a perfect fit for this title. Oh, and if you didn’t know, “Perchance to Scream” is a riff on “Perchance to Dream”, by Shakespeare (Hamlet).
Let’s be honest about this book. Doug Moench (writer) and Bill Sienkiewicz (pencils & inks) made this character what he is to this day. It’s the defining run for Moon Knight, and from what I have read/heard, rightly so. Sienkiewicz is definitely an acquired taste, and one that you definitely have to give a chance with reading a few issues and just not one or two before you make up your mind. Personally, I find his work striking, and just flat-out different from everyone else in the biz. Letters by Joe Rosen, colors by Christie Scheele, and edited by Denny O’Neil!