A few months ago, Moon Knight mysteriously disappeared off of the solicitations lists. There was no sign of Marvel’s White Knight anywhere. Being a huge Moon Knight fan and sincerely thinking that Moon Knight was one of Marvel’s top and most underrated books on the market, especially under Mike Benson, I was really perplexed as to what was happening. But I was assured MK would return, and I started to brainstorm what was going to happen. “Moon Knight’s going to go after Norman Osborn” was my thought and about a month ago, it was confirmed. Moon Knight is being relaunched under the title Vengeance of the Moon Knight. His target? Norman Osborn. His method? New gadgets, new armor, new vehicles and pure, merciless bad-assery that would make Batman think twice about crossing paths with Moon Knight.
So the question is, “who is writing the book?” The answer is spectacular. Best-selling author Gregg Hurwitz, the man who took on the harrowing task of following Garth Ennis’ legendary Punisher run and succeeded in keeping the title alive and relevant. Hurwitz also penned the brutal and unforgiving Foolkiller mini-series, as well as wrote Wolverine.
Hurwitz is no stranger to Marvel’s dark side, and he’s bringing Moon Knight back into the mainstream universe with style, brutal style, and certainly with a Vengeance.
Certainly, I could not let this title launch without picking Mr. Hurwitz’s brain about it and getting an idea of what we can expect from Vengeance of the Moon Knight.
Kevin Powers: What enticed you into getting into the funny book business? Is it a medium that you have history with?
Gregg Hurwitz: I LOVED comics as a kid. I was a hardcore Punisher fan — I’ve got ‘em all in long boxes up in the attic. Which are now in my office.
KP: You are a best-selling author and have a number of novels in your arsenal. What are some of the differences you have noticed between writing prose fiction and writing comic books? Do you have a preference, or do you not care what the medium is so long as you can convey a great story that you want to tell?
GH: For me, it’s all about story. Novels take a lot longer to create, obviously, and I hope I can bring the depth of character and intensity of plotting to my comics. That said, comics are their own form and require their own pacing and energy. Just because someone writes novels DOES NOT mean that they’ll be able to handle the medium. And a lot of the best writers in comics write exclusively for that format. For me, I try to always bring my A-game to whatever plot I’m working on, in whichever format. In some ways, comics are the most fun — I have a blast writing them.
KP: Let’s talk about Moon Knight. How is it writing Moon Knight? Is he a character that appeals to you? Is there anything you find challenging about the character?
GH: Fun. Unlimited budget, protagonist on the edge — what’s not to love? I think the challenge in Moon Knight is to get at all those parts of him that he’s juggling on a daily basis — to depict that meaningfully.
KP: Are you a fan of the character? If so, for how long?
KP: How were you approached for taking the character in a new, more extremist sort of direction? Was it something that was in the cards, how did you develop the direction for the series?
GH: Axel and I were talking about what to do next, and I’d just read The Ultimates (which I flipped for). And though I generally take things in a gritty, street-geared direction, I thought Huston and Benson had already done that really well. So for me to do something new and to bring enthusiasm to the project, I told Axel I’d want to go big with it. And he responded right away, then we were off to the races. A bigger, badder Moon Knight flying into the heart of the Marvel U — what could be more fun than that?
KP: Charlie Huston and Mike Benson both re-established Moon Knight supporting cast and took time to focus on Frenchie and Marlene. Will we see these characters return?
GH: Yep. And some other old favorites. Though I ain’t saying nothing else.
KP: How do you view the dynamic of the character? In other words, I have always viewed Marc Spector as a man who creates Jake Lockley and Steven Grant as crime-fighting devices, but finds himself much more satisfied in those distinct personalities where there is no remorse and guilt for the deeds done in Spector’s past. Not so much crazy as he is an escapist.
GH: Funny you should mention that — I’m very much going to focus on how this new Moon Knight is trying to escape from his past. So your words have a lot of meaning for my first arc. Here’s this guy who’s split into different personalities, many of whom/which have committed horrific deeds. And now he’s come back as a new kind of hero, and how will he reconcile that with his past?
KP: The preview of the first issue recently debuted in the back of select titles, as a big Moon Knight enthusiast, I am really excited. We know what’s driving him, that’s clear in the title of the book. But he’s got an upgraded costume and what looks to be a new arsenal. I assume much of this comes from the money he earned in Mexico. We already see a new motorcycle, moon dart shooters and a “landing pod.” Are we going to see a bevy of new gadgets, vehicles and a new hideout?
GH: Yes, we are. Brilliantly rendered by Jerome Opena.
GH: Wanting to do something fresh and new — something that got me excited to sit down and take on the character in a whole new way.
KP: In the preview, you reference the first issue of Charlie Huston’s run in Moon Knight’s explanation as to why he wears white. Simply brilliant and badass. I assume he’s going to make his presence known in a big way as he does in the preview. Without spoiling anything, is the intention essentially to put Moon Knight in a place where he should be — the anti-hero that will stop at nothing to ensure justice?
GH: Yes — and fighting a tension between hero and anti-hero. Which I believe has always been the battle going on in our boy’s mind.
KP: The general sense is that Moon Knight’s personality struggles have certainly taken a toll on the way he operates. Marc Spector was a man seeking redemption and looking to become a true superhero while attempting to keep a psychotic god at bay, Jake Lockley appears to tap into the mercenary and special forces past of Marc Spector who is all about getting the job done and making a statement. Is this something that is playing into the execution of the series?
GH: Lockley is a bit more brass tacks. And yes, my Lockley is grappling with his past in a different way than we’ve seen. On the one hand, I’ve taken Moon Knight bigger and more over-the-top, but in another fas
hion, Lockley is a lot more of a street guy, naturally, than Spector. So the dichotomy there is interesting.
KP: It would appear as though “Vengeance of Moon Knight” will bring our hero right to the door of Norman Osborn. The final page of the preview shows him on the big screen in Times Square, I can imagine the next page in the issue being Norman Osborn’s jaw dropping through his desk. I’ve always thought that Moon Knight needs to play a much larger role in the Marvel Universe. For example, I can imagine him as kind of the wild dog that is unleashed by the Avengers when some dirty work has to be done. Will this series begin to establish a much bigger role for Moon Knight in the Universe?
GH: Keep an eye peeled for old favorites. Moon Knight’s gonna ride right through the middle of things.
KP: I’m really digging Jerome Opena’s artwork. What’s it like working with him? Based on the preview, it really seems as though you both have hit it off.
GH: He’s great. As I’ve said before, he takes what I’m thinking and makes it better. He’s got a brilliant eye for perspective and detail. I await those pages with delight.
KP: Give us a little tease, is Khonshu going to be watching Moon Knight’s new attitude and laughing all the way?
GH: Hmmm. Khonshu. I wonder if he’ll be around?
According to the bio on your website: “In the course of researching his thrillers, he has sneaked onto demolition ranges with Navy SEALs, swam with sharks in the Galápagos, and gone undercover into mind-control cults.” Explain!
GH: I’ve used my research as an excuse for continuing education. So all the fun, *&^%ed up stuff I always wondered about and wanted to do — I get to! I like to take my characters to extreme places, and to do that effectively, I need to visit them myself to know what they feel like. Lately I’ve been piloting a chopper in a hood and vestments. It’s freaking out my kids.
KP: It also says you have written screenplays. You are clearly no stranger to the storytelling medium. Anything in particular you have worked on or would like to work on?
GH: Well, my last job was rewriting the heist scenes for The Thomas Crown Affair: II (which, I believe, is shooting soon). That was a blast. I’ve also adapted some of my books, and always enjoy that process.
KP: Harvard, Trinity College, Shakespearean tragedy, pole-vaulting and soccer. Quite the repertoire you’ve got. What else occupies the time you aren’t writing?
GH: Playing soccer and injuring myself. Eating. Tons of movies. Reading. Eating. Hiking. Did I mention eating?
KP: You’ve written Wolverine, Punisher, Moon Knight and Foolkiller. While I’m sure you can’t reveal anything, will we be seeing more Hurwitz penned comics at Marvel? Any particular characters you are hoping to write?
GH: Something big to come! Look for the announcement from Marvel and at www.gregghurwitz.net. I’m on Facebook/Twitter and all that stuff, too, and that’s where to look for covers when we announce What’s Next!
KP: And two questions I love to ask, favorite movie? And what comics, if any, are you reading right now?
GH: The Insider. And The Goon. Man, I love The Goon.