Ed. Note: The pages seen throughout this story are an exclusive first look at new pages from the upcoming Moon Knight #5.
When Moon Knight artist Declan Shalvey leaves the title with Warren Ellis after six issues later this summer, he'll not only be hanging up Marc Spector's hooded cape -- he'll be stepping away from monthly comics altogether for a while.
Asked why he was leaving so early into an acclaimed run that was selling very well (particularly for Moon Knight), Shalvey acknowledged that it wasn't his idea, but that of superstar writer Warren Ellis, to break up the band -- but that when he (Shalvey) was offered an opportunity to stay on with the new writer, he opted instead to take some downtime to finish some smaller, long-delayed projects and rest up a bit for what's next.
"Warren had decided that six issues was all he wanted to do," Shalvey wrote to his blog. "...So my choices were to continue on the book with another writer, or step aside and let a new team try their hand."
Shalvey said that he will remain on board as cover artist, and Jordie Bellaire will remain with the title as colorist, helping to keep a consistent tone throughout even as the new team put their own touches on the title.
He added, "Personally, I like seeing a new creative team take over. There's something more pure about it. No matter who took over as the writer, if I stayed on the collaboration just wouldn't be the same, and there would be a change in the work as a result, which would probably be unfairly blamed on the writer. I felt it would be better to step aside with Warren, leaving on a high note, making our run Moon Knight Season One and let a new team do their own thing right from the first issue of the new arc."
Shalvey admitted that when he later found out that the writer would be Brian Wood, he second-guessed himself a bit since it would be a thrill to work with the DMZ writer. Still, he wrote, incoming artist Greg Smallwood will do great and it seemed better to take the opportunity to see what Wood and Smallwood do with the title as (relatively speaking) a member of the audience.
"As for me? I'm taking a break," Shalvey concluded. "I'm taking a holiday, doing some short stories (including a Murder Book story with Ed Brisson) I've long promised to folk, some cover work and after that, we'll see. I had something planned, but it looks like that won't happen for a while. In any case, I'm just gonna take a little break from monthly mainstream comics and work on something of my own."
Check out more exclusive art from Moon Knight #5 below.