This week in Comixology (at Amazon) sales, we try to explain Moon Knight comics to the uninitiated – it’s complicated – and then we take a deep dive into that big Dark Horse horror sale that Amazon has no idea how to display with any semblance of organization!
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Where did the New Releases and Sale pages go?
In case you’re having troubles with the new UIX (a LOT of people have been):
By the Light of Moon
Marvel’s Moon Knight sale runs through Sunday, 5/1.
First things first, you need to understand that Moon Knight is sort of Marvel’s version of Hawkman, in terms of there being wildly varying takes on the character. Having seen the first episode of the TV show… that sort of looked like yet another take on the character and we’re not sure if any of the comics will really reflect that version… we’ll know more after a couple episodes.
So, Moon Knight starts out in Werewolf by Night, has some guest appearances, a solo run as backup in Hulk magazine (non-code and its bloody for the time period) and starts his own solo comic. The team most associated with the original Moon Knight is Doug Moench and Bill Sienkiewicz. (Moench and Don Perlin being co-creators back in Werewolf by Night.) In the beginning, Moon Knight was considered Marvel’s Batman. More accurately (that fan-driven tagline lacks nuance), Moon Knight was drawing from Batman’s pulp magazine influences. One of those influences was The Shadow, a proto-superhero of sorts who adopted multiple identities to further his goals… including assuming the identity of a millionaire.
In the beginning, much like the Shadow, ex-mercenary Marc Spector adopted the identity of Steven Grant, millionaire (much like The Shadow’s Lamont Cranston) and Jake Lockley, cab driver. There was no disassociated identity disorder in the beginning. The identities were tools and perhaps there was a bit of drama with method actors having trouble getting out of character. (It’s also worth noting Denny O’Neil was the editor on the Moon Knight solo series and had written The Shadow at DC a few years earlier.) There was occasionally a supernatural element lurking in the background, but there was a certain degree of plausible deniability about what was happening and to what extent spooky things were really magical.
The original run is in the Epic Collections. In typical Amazon fashion, they screwed up the listings, so let’s fix that:
V. 1, “Bad Moon Rising,” is all the original guest appearances, the Hulk Magazine appearances and the first 4 issues of the ongoing series.
V.2 -3 contain the rest of the original run. Now – fair warning. Moench eventually leaves for DC to write Batman after issue #33 and the series ends with 38. It’s not same without him.
And after Marvel must have realized they were having trouble replacing Moench, they decided to tweak the character with the next series, Moon Knight: Fist of Khonshu, which… does not appear to have been reprinted. Possibly because we don’t personally know anyone who liked it. But it played up the mystical elements and Marc Spector’s resurrections.
There were a few attempts to continue the series. Nothing really took and the West Coast Avengers appearances could be the most notable for the middle section of Moon Knight’s history. Much of this solo period isn’t reprinted.
And things got to the point where Brian Bendis and Alex Maleev did a 12 part series where Moon Knight is delusional and so mentally ill as to be barely functional. If you’ve never read the character before, it’s a fairly entertaining comic. We interpreted it as frequently playing for laughs. If you liked the Moench character… oof. And this series pretty much broke the character and Marvel’s been trying to “fix” him ever since.
Seems like every series since has been attempting to establish a new status quo for the character, picking up pieces from the previous incarnation.
If you want something close to the TV show (and again, we’re working with only having seen the first episode here), we think your best bet might be the excellent Jeff Lemire / Greg Smallwood series where Marc Spector is confronting his many identities and his… unusual relationship with the Egyptian deity, Khonshu.
And actually, we’re enjoying the current Moon Knight series by Jed Mackay and Alessandro Cappuccio, which finds Specter alternately billing himself as Mr. Knight and Moon Knight, going to therapy, operating a “Night Mission” to fulfill his obligations as a priest of Khonshu (albeit something of a renegade priest) while mixing it up with vampires, a rival priest and a madman initiating a conspiracy against him. We’re six issues in and it’s one of the better takes on the character in a while.
Horror <> Hodor
The Dark Horse Horror Sale runs though Monday, 4/4.
This is one of those very large sales that the Amazon UIX is ill-equipped to handle, in terms of easy browsing, so we’ll flip through it so you don’t have to.
- The Hellboy Omnibus series at $6.99 a pop is a helluva good deal (pun intended). Mike Mignola’s iconic horror adventure series is a classic and you should already be aware of it.
- The E.C. Archives are also (mostly) $6.99 each. An all-star lineup of talent that inspired the comics code! For the unfamiliar, these were most famous as prestige horror comics in the early 1950s, as well as the beginning of Mad. There’s some well known war material, too. Harvey Kurtzman, Wally Wood, Al Williamson, Jack Davis, Al Feldstein… even a little Ray Bradbury, if memory serves.
- Witchfinder Omnibus (both of them) – another Mignola verse historical horror series, with John Arcudi, Chris Robeson and Ben Stenbeck, among others.
- Falconspeare – A recent (January ’22) Mike Mignola / Warwick Johnson-Caldwell Victorian murder mystery… about the disappearance of a vampire hunter. New enough we haven’t had a chance to read it yet.
- Baltimore Omnibus – In a world where the vampires ran wild at the end of WWI, Lord Baltimore pursues a vendetta against them. We read the set a few months back and enjoyed it. Mignola/Christopher Golden writing, Ben Stenbeck leads the art roster.
- Creepy Archives – The ’60s/’70s horror magazine from Warren.
- Eerie Archives – Also from the old Warren files, Creepy’s companion magazine
- Grendel Omnibus – The collected Grendel, going back to the ’80s by Matt Wagner and friends. Hmmm… is there a TV show coming?
- Grendel: Devil’s Odyssey – Matt Wagner’s latest Grendel series, released in January, ’22.
- B.P.R.D is NOT centrally listed, so we’ll put it all under this heading. These are the adventures of Hellboy’s colleagues at the BPRD and it’s one long saga. It’s also really good. We revisited it a couple years back and it holds up. You _do_ need to read it in this order, though:
- Abe Sapien Omnibuses – They actually have done quite a bit of Abe solo material.
- The Seeds – An excellent science fiction tale by Ann Nocenti and David Aja that mashes up themes of eco-disaster, alien invasions and forbidden love.
- Harrow County Omnibus – The long running Cullen Bunn / Tyler Crook backwoods witchcraft series.
- Beasts of Burden – The neighborhood dogs (and a cat) battle the forces of darkness. Critically acclaimed series by Even Dorkin, Jill Thompson and Benjamin Dewey.
- Lobster Johnson – We do love The Lobster, Mignola’s homage to ’30s pulp heroes with a rotating cast of co-creators. This is an odd series of mini-series, that run from silly to horror to thriller. The omnibus will finally come out… next week in HC, so these are “regular” collections.
- Kabuki Omnibus – A nearly forgotten buzz book of the 90s by David Mack, as an assassin in Japan reassess her lot in life amidst conspiracies. Is the Sony TV adaption still happening? We haven’t heard anything about that lately. An influential comic.
- She Could Fly– Before Marvel snagged him, Christopher Cantwell was working on this super powered series from Dark Horse with Martin Marazzo. We’ve been meaning to give it a look and have heard good things.
If you want to just browse the collected editions, your least bad option (Amazon doesn’t give you a good, sorted option) might be to sort the price from high to low. The 99-cent issues will then start on page 38 (or did for us).
There’s a LOT more in there, but those were the highlights we noticed. In general, the omnibus editions are, by far, your best bang for the buck.