Every comic book to read before watching ‘Moon Knight’ on Disney Plus

We’re only a handful of days before Moon Knight waxes on the Disney Plus streaming service. Fans have already had their jaws dropped by the action sequences in the previews and are champing at the bit for “moonrise.” However, some potential viewers might be balking at the obscurity of the character. Unlike some of Marvel’s more popular characters, like Iron Man, Captain America, The Hulk, and, of course, Spider-Man, Moon Knight isn’t coming to market with an easily familiar brand. So what’s the best way for a fan who might want to front-load some facts about Moon Knight to get to know him?

We’ve assembled a list of some comic book essentials you may want to peruse before wading into the streaming series.

Moon Knight: Bad Moon Rising

Bad Moon Rising anthologizes the various Marvel Comics Moon Knight appeared in through the 1970s. Of particular interest to first-time readers are the character’s two separate and vastly different origin stories from Werewolf by Night and Moon Knight Volume 1 respectively:

The Stalker Called Moon Knight” (Werewolf by Night #32-33)

Well, there’s no place to begin like the beginning. Moon Knight first appeared on the comic book page in Werewolf by Night in August of 1975. Werewolf by Night was one of a handful of Marvel horror titles being put out by the publisher at the time, and Moon Knight was initially conceptualized by writer Doug Moench and artist Don Perlin as a mercenary hired by a shadowy cabal known as “The Committee” to defeat and kidnap the titular werewolf of the series, a young adult by the name of Jack Russell (yes, the pun was intended). Moon Knight’s debut, though canonical for the most part. is sometimes referred to as his “false origin,” as the entire episode was later retconned to fit better with the character’s “actual” origin, which would finally be revealed five years later.

Moon Night Volume 1 Number 1

Five years later, what we got was a brand new actual solo title. Moon Knight had a few solo adventures already, in a backup series in The Hulk, a tabloid-sized magazine publication featuring the eponymous gamma-irradiated hero. He also teamed up with Spider-Man and briefly flirted with becoming a member of The Defenders before being developed into the star of his own self-titled solo series. “Moon Knight Issue 1” finally gave the lunar-themed vigilante his actual origin. A few of the character’s traits had already been established, such as his tripartite identity of Steven Grant (although the millionaire playboy version of the comics version appears to be a far cry from the series Steven Grant), cab driver Jake Lockley, and his “original” personality of hardened mercenary Marc Spector. In a flashback, we find Spector witnessing his mercenary compatriots decimate a Sudanese village in search of plunder from a nearby archeology dig. When Spector resists, the mercenaries strand him in the desert. Left for dead, Spector struggles to reach shelter, walking all day and eventually arriving at the archeological dig site where he is spotted silhouetted against the moon. He is brought into a tomb where he apparently dies before a statue of Khonshu, the god of the crescent moon and vengeance. Spector returns to life, seemingly possessed by Khonshu and becomes an avatar of vengeance.

“Deadly Knowledge” Moon Night Volume 2 Number 2

Little is known about Ethan Hawke’s character Arthur Harrow, believed to be the principal antagonist of the series but he does have at least one root in the Marvel Comics timeline. Harrow appeared once and once only in the second volume of Moon Knight aka “Fist of Khonshu “by Alan Zelenetz and Chris Warner. Harrow was a scientist, known for his work concerning the neurological aspects of pain through which he sought to cure his own agonizing chronic pain. When it is found that he had performed human experiments on the inmates of Auschwitz, Moon Knight was directed by Khonshu to bring the scientist to justice.

Moon Knight: The Bottom

Moon Knight went through a lot of ups and downs throughout the late 1980s and 1990s. Although the character actually became an Avenger during this time (well, okay, a WEST COAST Avenger, technically) many writers struggled to find the character’s pulse. This all changed in 2006, when novelist Charlie Huston and artist David Finch rebooted the character with a particular focus on Moon Knights’s gritty and even extremely violent nature. Although series that came before The Bottom had featured the character as basically a run-of-the-mill street vigilante along the lines of Daredevil, The Bottom ramped up the violence to eleven, making Moon Knight a pariah even among his superhero brethren. The series also leaned into the character’s dissociative identity order, which had previously been soft-peddled, if addressed at all. The series sees Marc Spector at his lowest, when, despite having defeated his oldest enemy, he has been deserted by nearly everyone he loves, including his lover, Marlene, his oldest friend, Jean Paul, and even Khonshu.

Moon Knight: From The Dead

Writer Warren Ellis and artist Declan Shalvey were responsible for this character reboot, which features Spector coming to terms with his multiple identities, even seeing a therapist. On The other hand, his heroic alter ego is splitting itself into two separate identities, that of the hard hitting action hero, Moon Knight, and the dandily clad Mr. Night who wears a white three-piece suit and matching mask . This seventh volume of the character’s solo title sees Moon Knight fighting ghosts, visiting a mushroom planet, and investigating a sleep experiment. There’s no guarantee that any of that will make it into the series, but Mr.s Night most definitely will be. The character’s distinctive image has been heavily used in the shows promo materials and has even shown up briefly in the trailers.

Moon Knight by Jeff Lemire & Greg Smallwood: The Complete Collection

Sweet Tooth creator Jeff Lemire has worked with several lower tiered superheroes in the past, and that may have lent him the chops to breakout as one of the most popular Moon Knight writers of the twenty first century. Lemire has set up a lot of the character’s more recent canon, including a pre-resurrection psychic connection to Khonshu that dates back to Spector’s boyhood and may be the root of his DID. The streaming series seems to show a Steven Grant unaware of the actions of his other personalities and this may have its origin in the idea that Spector has suffered from DID from a very young age, even before his first “meeting’ meeting with Khonshu.