‘Moon Knight’ From Page to Screen: Episode 1

We take a closer look at the first episode of Moon Knight, comparing it to the comics.

Unlike the last Marvel Studios series, Hawkeye, Moon Knight has made it pretty clear so far that the series does not draw its inspiration from any particular comic book run. While that makes it more difficult to pull any particular page or panel from the comics and compare it to the live-action series, it does give us an excuse to explore much more of Moon Knight’s comics history. The premiere episode of Moon Knight had a heavy focus on Steven Grant’s dissociative identity disorder (DID) and his discovery of Marc Spector, his alter. Here, we give a rundown of Marc Spector’s DID throughout the character’s history.

The origin of Spector’s DID was not explored until much more recently. But the first appearance of Moon Knight’s personalities came with Moon Knight #1 (1980). After Spector died under the statute of the Egyptian moon god Khonshu, he was seemingly revived. He vowed to act as the human fist of Khonshu as Moon Knight. Causally, though, it was mentioned that Marc Spector had two other personalities as well: millionaire Steven Grant and taxi driver Jake Lockley. In that first story, the caped Moon Knight persona was referred to as a combination of Spector, Grant, and Lockley, though later stories have considered Moon Knight his own personality. In Episode 1 of Moon Knight, Jake Lockley has yet to appear or be referenced. Spector has also had other identities including Mr. Knight, Captain America, Spider-Man, and Wolverine.

‘Moon Knight’ #1 (1980)

Some Moon Knight stories had a tendency to downplay the fact that Spector had multiple identities, not mention it at all, or inaccurately reference it as schizophrenia. In 2016, the Jeff Lemire and Greg Smallwood run first acknowledged that Spector’s DID manifested as a child:

‘Moon Knight’ #10 (2016)

Not too long after that, Max Bemis and Paul Davidson exposed that Spector’s DID may have been triggered by a traumatic event. Specifically, a family friend, whose real name was Ernst, was actually a Nazi and a serial killer, who brutally tortured and killed members of Spector’s Jewish community. Spector escaped, though his DID was apparently a coping mechanism to handle the trauma.

‘Moon Knight’ #194

Generally speaking, Spector, Grant, and Lockley are aware of one another. Often, particularly in Moon Knight’s early days, they worked together as a unit in order to make the whole caped vigilante deal work.

Episode 1 of Moon Knight, however, depicts a Steven Grant that has no idea Spector or Khonshu exists. A similar moment in the comics also comes from the Lemire-Smallwood run where Spector confronts his alters (or at least versions of them) in order to gain control.

Marvel Studios ‘Moon Knight’ Episode 1

The episode also depicts Steven blacking out when Marc takes control of his body. That also is not something that the comics Moon Knight seems to have much issue with, although there are times when certain personalities–often Marc–are intentionally suppressed for long periods. But in the Bemis-Davidson run, it’s revealed that Jake Lockley had a relationship with Marlene and fathered a child with her, and Marc was completely unaware of it. 

‘Moon Knight’ #190
Marvel Studios’ ‘Moon Knight’ Episode 1

How Moon Knight will continue to explore the titular character’s DID will be interesting, to say the least. It could take on the primary focus of the series like it did for the Lemire-Smallwood run, or it could remain somewhat on the sidelines as it has for most of Moon Knight’s comic book history. For now, enjoy one of the most iconic Moon Knight pages out there:

‘Moon Knight’ #14 (2016)

Moon Knight is now streaming on Disney+.

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