Prepare to visit the dark side of the All-New, All-Different Marvel Universe. This spring, Jeff Lemire, Greg Smallwood & Jordie Bellaire will launch a new Moon Knight series, continuing the tortured and tragic tale of Marc Spector.
As the series, Marc wakes to find himself in a mental institution. What events led him to be institutionalized…or has he been here all along? Could Moon Knight’s adventures all be the delusions of a troubled man?
ComicBook.com caught up with Lemire, who shed some light on the direction of the new series. And don’t forget to check out Smallwood’s striking cover and interior pencil art for Moon Knight #1 in the gallery below.
When we join Marc Spector, of how many minds is the character? Does he believe he’s of sound mind when he realizes where he is?
That’s a really tricky question to answer without spoiling the story. Marc is in a place I don’t think we’ve seen him before. He is being told one thing, but is starting to believe another. That’s all I want to say about that yet.
I wish I could say more. I immersed myself in every era of Moon Knight and have a deep appreciation and love for the character. This new series will explore identity, mental health and mysticism, but at its heart is a story about friendship. I’m incredibly excited about my ideas for this Moon Knight series. I think, with the work Greg Smallwood and Jordie Bellaire are also doing on the book, we have something really different and really special here.
What inspired you to institutionalize Marc? Is there something in particular about the character that you’re hoping will be discovered or revealed by putting him in this situation?
As I mentioned above, the opportunity to write Moon Knight offered me the chance to explore themes of identity and mental illness. That’s something that hasn’t been done a lot in super hero comics. At least not in a significant way. I’ve dealt with mental illness in my own life, certainly not to the extreme that Marc Spector has, but still, it’s something I know intimately.
So by starting the story in a mental health institution, it allows me to play with different perceptions of what it means to be mentally ill, both through Marc and also through the supporting cast we will meet in there with him. The hospital Marc is in is very much a throwback to an era gone by. The methods that the doctors use to treat mental illness in the comic are barbaric and outdated, but they reflect the reality of how we as a society saw the mentally ill not that long ago, and in some cases still do.
Now, having said that, I don’t want people to think this comic book is just going to be a preachy polemic about the issue of mental health. It is very much filled with big, crazy, bombastic super hero stories and concepts. It’s got humor and heart and horror. But I think I can use these things as metaphor to address bigger issues as well.
Is the asylum just a starting point, or can we expect this to be the setting for at least the first arc?
It’s a starting point, but will remain a factor in the entire story. Again a tricky one to answer without spoiling too much. After reading issue #1 (which is extra-sized, by the way) readers will have a much better sense of where Marc and Moon Knight are and what his mission statement will be.
If you think the hospital is bad, wait until you see what’s waiting for him outside!
What’s the mission statement for your Moon Knight run?
I want to write one of the very best Moon Knight stories ever. One that touches on every aspect of the character’s history and also breaks new ground and shows readers a Moon Knight they’ve never seen before. It’s a very ambitious story that should please long time Moon Knight fans, but also be totally fresh and welcoming to new readers. As lofty as my ambitions are, I’m lucky that I have Greg Smallwood and Jordie Bellaire on my side.
Can we expect it to be as episodic as Warren Ellis run, or do you have something more long form in mind?
It will be a longer story. Moon Knight has now been doing the episodic approach for 18 issues under Warren Ellis, Cullen Bunn and Brian Wood. I wanted to shake it up a bit, so I’m going back to a longer story. But this story will be broken into smaller 3-5 issue arcs and each will have its own personality and feel all adding up to tell a complete story.
Greg Smallwood has already worked on Moon Knight. As an artist yourself, can you speak to what Smallwood brings to the table, and what makes him such a good fit for the character?
Readers may have seen Greg Smallwood draw Moon Knight before, they have never seen anything like what he’s doing in this new series. It is simply mind-boggling. He was already a very talented artist, but he has taken his work to a whole new level.
I’m not sure if any preview art will be released with this announcement, but it is astounding work. His approach to storytelling and page layout has become incredibly inventive and dynamic. He is also employing different drawing styles in the book and the versatility is jaw-dropping.
I know this sounds like hype, but I can honestly say this will be one of the best looking comics I have ever been a part of. Mark my words, people will be talking about Greg’s work on this series for years to come.