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SYFY WIRE Moon Knight

6 Essential Moon Knight comics you need to read before the show premieres

Before Moon Knight hits Disney+, read back through his comic book past.

By Matthew Jackson
Moon Knight PRESS

On March 30, one of Marvel's strangest heroes will get his own Disney+ series when Moon Knight arrives on the streaming service. Starring Oscar Isaac in the title role, the series will give Marvel Cinematic Universe fans a fresh look at the hero, a man with dissociative identity disorder who becomes the avatar for the Egyptian moon god Khonshu, inheriting all the powers that come with that mantle (including a cool costume) along the way. 

In the pages of Marvel Comics, Moon Knight's been around for more than 40 years now, and yet he remains a tricky character to pin down. The very nature of his initial invention, which grew to involve several alternate personalities, meant that there have always been many ways to take the character, and different creative teams have taken full advantage of that. Plus, he's never really been an A-lister before, so his comics come and go, leaving readers with multiple volumes of often disjointed storytelling to choose from. 

Here are six Moon Knight comics you should consider diving into ahead of the series premiere.

1. Moon Knight Vol. 1 (1980)

Moon Knight (1980-1984) #1 Comic Cover AMAZON

Five years after the character debuted in Werewolf by Night, Moon Knight co-creator Doug Moench spearheaded the character's first-ever solo series alongside legendary artist Bill Sienkiewicz. It's a mixed bag, particularly in the earliest issues, but over the course of the run you start to see a character emerge as many of the most identifiable elements of who Moon Knight is fall into place. Plus, Sienkiewicz's art helps to really define the character's overall look, and plays up the horror elements that have become a key part of Moon Knight history. 

2. Moon Knight Vol. 6 (2011)

Moon Knight by Bendis & Maleev: The Complete Collection Comic Cover AMAZON

One of the defining characteristics of Moon Knight is his multiple personalities, which different writers have used in different ways, not all of them too memorable. In an effort to cut through that noise, writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Alex Maleev dreamed up a version of the character in which the main personality, Marc Spector, is a producer living in Los Angeles and making a Moon Knight TV show by day. By night, the vigilante emerges as a member of the Avengers working to hold things down on the West Coast, with an interesting twist: The Avengers he thinks are his teammates are actually his other personalities playing the parts of Wolverine, Captain America, and Spider-Man. It's not the most "classic" version of the character, but it's a ton of fun. 

3. Moon Knight Vol. 7 #1-6 (2014)

Moon Knight (2014-2015) #1 Comic Cover AMAZON

Writer Warren Ellis has retreated from comics work in recent years amid allegations of abuse (which have led to restorative justice efforts still in progress), and we feel it's important to let you know that up front in case you're not comfortable reading his work at the moment. That said, it's also impossible to ignore his contributions to Moon Knight lore alongside artist Declan Shalvey and colorist Jordie Bellaire in a six-issue run that still might be the most popular and most recommended incarnation of the character. In a series of self-contained issues, this run places Moon Knight back in pure vigilante mode while also introducing the suit-wearing Mr. Knight persona who will apparently have a major role to play in the Disney+ series. It's a fast read, it's thrilling stuff, and Shalvey's artwork often takes point in a series of dialogue-free action sequences that showcase what the character can really do. 

4. Moon Knight Vol. 8 (2016)

Moon Knight Vol. 1: Lunatic Comic Cover AMAZON

After a fairly action-oriented volume of stories, writer Jeff Lemire and artist Greg Smallwood stepped in for the eighth volume of Moon Knight adventures, and took a more cerebral approach. The series begins with Marc Spector in a mental institution that itself seems to be somewhat untethered from reality. All of his Moon Knight allies are locked up with him, and his would-be caretakers claim that everything he did as a vigilante happened all in his head. From there, it's a journey inward to unravel what really happened, complete with guest artists stepping in to illustrate Spector's various memories and adventures as his different personas. It's a wild, mindbending ride.

5. The Age of Khonshu (Avengers #31-38, 2020)

Avengers by Jason Aaron Vol. 7: The Age of Khonshu Comic Cover AMAZON

Jason Aaron's lengthy and ambitious run on The Avengers has produced several great stories at this point, including this epic that puts Moon Knight front and center. The story follows the Fist of Khonshu as he acts on behalf of his god patron, essentially taking over the world and robbing many of the Avengers of their greatest powers. It's an epic that shows just how well Moon Knight can fit into a superhero universe on a grand scale, if the right storytellers give him the spotlight.

6. Moon Knight Vol. 9 (2021)

Moon Knight (2021-) #1 Comic Cover AMAZON

It makes sense that Moon Knight would get a new solo series just as Marvel is preparing to introduce him to live-action, and Jed MacKay and Alessandro Cappuccio's run on the character has proven to be much more than just an entry point.

Rooting the character in a new organization he's dubbed "The Midnight Mission," MacKay and Cappuccio's Moon Knight delivers everything from deep dives into Marc Spector's psyche to battles against vampires and even a new Khonshu devotee who comes for Moon Knight's moniker. It's a great, still-ongoing look at the character, and a good starting point even if you've read nothing else.