Marvel’s Next Big Thing: Bendis & Maleev Talk MOON KNIGHT

This afternoon I took part in a press call with writer Brian Michael Bendis, artist Alex Maleev, and editor Tom Brevoort to discuss this May's revamped Moon Knight series.  

Bendis opened by stating that the secret to cracking Moon Knight as a successful character is rendering his costume in off-white (perhaps egg-shell) rather than traditional white. He has been working with Maleev on this project and Scarlet for about a year. He emphasizes the amount of work Maleev put into Spider-Woman (especially with regard to the motion comic). 

Bendis revealed that Quesada first pitched the idea of Bendis doing a Moon Knight book during a retreat. Brevoort is quick to quip that Quesada had first asked every other writer present first. Bendis was initially incredulous, but then realized an interest in Moon Knight's personality disorder. "He's a one man Ocean's 11." The character's psyche is "emboldened" by the call to become an Avenger. The criminal element of the Marvel universe will not know how to deal with his insanity. 

The series is set in LA, where Moon Knight produces a successful Xena-like television show based on the Khonshu mythos. Bendis remarks on the mass migration of heroes to the west coast. "The East coast is bad business." Here, Moon Knight will be dealing with a new kingpin of LA, a character whose identity will remain a mystery to readers and the title character for at least a little while. 

Maleev comments on his love for the classic Moon Knight costume and its simplicity, expressing little interest in doing a re-design or giving the character any new gadgets. "I'm not reinventing him, I just want to make him look better." Maleev is not interested in "pimping" your ride. He'd much rather offer an oil change. For cost reasons, Maleev is drawing Vancouver for LA (snicker). 

Brevoort comments rather cryptically on Moon Knight as being the first of three "Big Shots" books with top tier creative teams connected in some way. Each of them focusing on the reintroduction of a character. No word as to who these characters will be, though Bendis speculates Rocket Raccoon will be among them (snicker). 

Maleev promises he will "draw the shit out of this book." He does not intend on using photo-referencing. He wants to make things up. He will not be coloring the book. Full attention on pencils and inks. 

I asked about Moon Knight's various personalities. While he will take on the roles of other heroes like Wolverine and Spider-Man in his one-man Avengers team, we will also see his other pre-existing personalities. We will also see the real heroes react to Moon Knight's aping their style. 

If Daredevil was a10 in darkness, Brevoort says, "Moon Knight is an 8." There will be levity, but the concept of the character and his mental illness does equate to some grit. 

Favorite supporting players like Frenchie will return in time, but Bendis promises new supporting characters as well. 

Not so much on the supernatural and mystical elements. Bendis suspects those aspects might have held the character back. This is more about the personality disorder and the crime-fighting. 

I asked Bendis how autobiographical this series might be and if it serves as a sequel to his Hollywood memoir Fortune & Glory. Bendis concedes that his time working in Hollywood on the Spider-Man cartoon(s) and the ongoing Powers TV project, he's amassed a number of golden anecdotes that will likely make their way into his fiction. And this might be the perfect place for that. 

Bendis is aware that he will likely offend some with his depiction of a mentally ill character, but while he's being careful with the portrayal, he's more concerned with telling a good story. He imagines there will be more uproar over the lack of mystical elements. 

When asked for their first impulse when they learned of the Moon Knight project both writer and artist replied: " Sienkiewicz." 

Maleev lists his Moon Knight influences as such: Mignola, Alex Toth, and others. I type slow. 

Bendis lists Mr. Hyde and Thundra as notable villain cameos. Brevoort hints that the identity of the LA kingpin, while a mystery, is a character Bendis has written before. 

Double-size first issue. No reprints in the back. Very approachable for new readers who've never read an MK book before. 



Here's a spread from Moon Knight #1, courtesy of artist Alex Maleev. 


  1. That looks yummy.

  2. Hopefully Ghost Rider is one of those Big Shots.  Then again I don’t know if anything can top Aaron’s recent run.

  3. Love that this won’t be photo-referenced.  My enthusiasm for Maleev’s art has been slowly dwindling because of it.  I’m more excited to read this book after the handful of details here.

  4. Bendis/Maleev without photo reference? Um, yes please.

  5. Love the concept of Moon Knight believing that he is the entire Avengers team and criminals being absolutley baffled by this enemy–and having Moon Knight’s Avengers “team” actually working.
    Couldnt possibly be more excited for this book.

  6. Love putting the book in LA. For some reason(ok it was probably watching all 5 seasons of Angel in a one year span) Los Angeles is probably my second favorite city to read stories about. It’s got such a rich character if you do it right.

  7. that really does look fantastic

  8. Definitely more interested now than I was before.  That said, I’m more excited about what the other two “Big Shots” are going to be.

  9. I’m wondering if he hopes to do a long-ish run or just a half year or so.

  10. I think this would be awesome left in black & white.

  11. @RolandofGilead  Seconded.

  12. Sienkiewicz!!!!

  13. This was a lot of fun. And the book sounds absolutely fascinating. I’m completely on board. 

  14. If Maleev is actually drawing the book, I’ll definitely check it out.  I love his actual art.

  15. So with no mystical elements, Moon Knight is back to just a crazy white costumed Batman.  I think Bendis was really liked the Zur-En-Arrh elements from Batman RIP.

  16. I second the “this would be awesome in Black and White” opinion.

  17. Just to clarify, the Khonshu mythos does play a small role in the book, as it’s the basis of the show he’s producing. But yes, the mystical elements to his character are mostly downplayed. 

  18. So excited for this book. Surprised to see it being set in LA though, not sure how that will be (or if it will even have any effect on the story). Also glad to see that the multiple personalites will be the main focus.

  19. @ThePunisherMAX  Bendis talked about LA being a “new playground” for the Marvel U. Somewhere to focus outside of New York. 

  20. If this is only half as good as their Daredevil run, I’m in. No photo reference sounds like a step in the right direction.

  21. when I read no supernatural stuff, became instant buy. Always loved Moon Knight, but it seemed people always went back to the things that held it back.  Same old villians ( no Bushman please !!) and supporting characters.

    I am looking forward to a fresh look. 

  22. That… doesn’t sound that good to me. I will still give it a chance But the idea that Moon Knight’s MPD is so malleable doesn’t seem right.

  23. Any completely unsubstantiated rumors about the other 2 big shot books for me to cogitate on?

  24. @kmob181  They’ll be out in June and July. Not obscure characters. We’ll see the connection when they’re announced. That’s all I got!

  25. “he’s more concerned with telling a good story”
    Ha. He’s been phoning it in for almost half a decade now. Civil War:The Confession was the last mainstream Marvel work he did that was memorable  & didn’t have a drawn out middle or limp ending. Bendis keeps hiding behind A-list artists to cover up his deficiencies. Tell the truth: After the unholy mess that was Secret Invasion, How many of y’all would have bought Siege, Old Avengers, New Avengers or Prime if Coipel, JRJR,Immonen or Davis hadn’t drawn them? Would you guys have bought those aforementioned books or be interested in Moon Knight if say Walt “Widening Gyre” Flanagan had done the art chores instead? Keep it real with yourselves,if not me.

  26. @Jig  I would have bought them all.

  27. @conor 
    So, How come when I check the threads for new books every week here (or even listen to you guys on the P-O-T-W podcast) the main thing I read about Bendis-helmed books in the comments is praise for the artwork & rarely more than that? I honestly feel the writing has been lazy & inconsistent since he left Daredevil & Alias.

  28. @Jig  I don’t why because we talk about how great the stories are all the time on the show.

  29. I think it’s intriguing that this pitch was brought to Bendis. It seems that most of his books for the last 5+ years have been his ideas from the get-go.  Not that it’s a knock on the book, because I am pumped for this book, just an observation.


  30. I’m reading a lot of complaints about static talking head syndrome lately,Conor. He’s done it for 2 issues in a row with New Avengers. It’s as if he can’t have his Avengers banter while in transit & keep the storytelling moving forward. I cite Avengers#9 as the most recent example. I truly don’t mind decompression if it’s done with substance & fluidity.

  31. @Jig  That’s fine that you think that way. I’m just giving you my opinion about his wrok and correcting your statement about how we only praise the art in his book. In fact, I recall talking about how much I loved the latest NEW AVENGERS on the live show.

  32. I didn’t say only the art was praised. But a lot of the more positive comments on those books are to do with the art/artist. It seems to be that a lot of the buyers here have stuck with New Avengers purely out of love for Immonen’s work even if they found that first arc meh.  Oh, I dug the latest New Avengers too, but it was mostly to Deodato’s work moreso than anything else.

  33. @Jig  You said “Mainly.”

    Yeah, see I don’t really like Deodato, so in this instance I’m enjoying New Avengers despite the art.

  34. The concept interests me somewhat.  It will probably be worth it for the art alone, depending on the price.

    For proof that Moon Knight can be cool please see him fighting a dinosaur in this week’s Heroes for Hire.  Hopefully this comic won’t prevent DnA from using him there entirely.

  35. I swear….if the LA Kingpin is The Hood I will scream.

  36. I think I will check this out.  Realized I’ve never read Moonknight while reading this article and just to put it out there I am picking this up because Bendis is writing it.  Maleev not photo ref. is just bonus to me.

  37. @Avistann 
    Ditto. He does have a major hard-on for elevating that c-lister to Dr Doom & Magneto levels.

  38. I know nothing about Moon Knight other than what I just read, but why is he surfing on Cap’s shield?

  39. I’m so relieved that Maleev is not going to photo-reference or color this book.  In some cases, that technique works, but, for Moon Knight, I could see it being a detterent, and as Maleev has been using that style for the batch of work he’s done, I’m super glad that he’s going back to really draw this book out.

    I was tepid about the announcement of this book, but, I feel better about the direction they are taking with it.  Wish them the best of luck on it, and I know I’ll be buying the first issue.

  40. The news about Khonshu is a relief. I have given every recent Moon Knight launch a shot, only to quickly find myself awash in a tide of “whaaat the hell is this now, with the spirit-monster? Where’s the part where he’s Batman?”

    Love this team. Can’t wait.

  41. Also, “Big Shots”: Cloak and Dagger. It’s time.

  42. I bet the connection is that each Big Shot book is set in LA

  43. WOOHOO! *Very* happy to see more books set in Los Angeles! Love Moon Knight!

    That said…I never really thought the multiple personality stuff was a particularly interesting part of the character, especially since they’d basically gotten rid of it by the time the character was in West Coast Avengers (just like they wisely cured Hank Pym in that same series).

    Ah well. The book will be awesome anyway.

  44. I’m pretty wary of picking this up. Admittedly I haven’t read Scarlet but the previous two collaborations – Spider-woman and Halo – were absolutley awful. 

  45. This sounds really interesting, and I also like the move to LA and the whole Khonshu series thing. That seems like a fun set-up.

    The only thing that gives me pause here is the nature of MK’s multiple personality disorder. I love the idea of using a hero with a dissociative disorder like this, but I’m unclear as to how Bendis is handling it. The fact that MK would just start mimicking other Avengers doesn’t really track with me. But Bendis is  the kind of guy who would do his research and come up with something with a level of reason behind it, so… I guess I’m just kinda waiting to see exactly how he intends to play this aspect.

    Oh, and that little bit of Maleev art? Sooo excellent. Very Sienkiewicz-y, without actually just aping the style.

  46. @PaulMontgomery  – Thanks Paul.  Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

  47. Ninja, Cowboy, Viking anyone?  Leave it to Bendis to keep it fresh.

  48. Didn’t we just also get spider-man, iron-fist, voodoo, power man, miss marvel wolverine from bendis?

  49. @Jimski  I would LOVE a Cloak and Dagger book.

    I have lost track of how many Moon Knight relaunches I have bought over the years. I have always loved the character, just tired of getting burned. He is often called Marvel’s Batman, which I think is misleading, as the two actually have very little in common. He has gone through so many different versions with so much convoluted and contradictory continuity, if anything, he is Marvel’s Hawkman. But I will absolutely check this book out, if only for the Maleev art. Should be stunning!