Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey might be ending their run on Moon Knight with August’s #6, but this new era for Marc Spector is just beginning.
This September, writer Brian Wood and artist Greg Smallwood will pick up where Ellis and Shalvey left off, to Moon Knight #7 and beyond. For those considered with someone picking up on the story of this atypical superhero, Wood’s previous superhero work is atypical as well – from Demo to DV8 and on through to his current X-Men run. And as far as filling the shoes of the departing Shalvey, Smallwood comes on the heels of some critically-acclaimed work on his creator-owned series The Dream Thief and is looking to make a name for himself in the superhero genre. This new duo will continue what Ellis and Shalvey started in Moon Knight, and series colorist Jordie Bellaire is remaining with the series providing a key consistency in the series as a whole.
Newsarama talked with both Wood and Smallwood about their upcoming run on Moon Knight, as well as taking the reins from those who come before, and their own plans for Marc, Moon Knight, and all his other personalities.
Newsarama: Brian, I wanted to first touch upon the transition from Warren and Declan’s run to yours’ and Greg’s. You’ve worked extensively with Warren in the past - even co-writing a Marvel comic with him once upon a time. Have you had any conversations about Moon Knight, or is there anything you’re taking away from his run on this series that someone who doesn’t have a connection like you have to him would be able to do?
Brian Wood: Warren's my first professional friend in comics, having met him back in 1997 or 1998 when I was launching Channel Zero, and we worked together on Generation X and Global Frequency. He's a great guy, one of the nicest people in comics. But we didn't talk about Moon Knight, no. I was contacted directly for the job by the editor, Nick Lowe. But I think that knowing Warren, getting a look at his scripts over the years, and just being a fan of his writing, I was pretty sensitive when I was coming up with ideas for Nick. There's no one who can write Warren like Warren can, and it’s stupid to even try, so I worked hard to find the right balance - stories that continue what Warren started, that continued the vibe, but were also mine, not his.
Nrama: That being said, what can readers expect in your first issue?
Wood: We're keeping the one-shot structure, and I'm also trying to keep the not-quite-the-real-world thing Warren does so well, as well as his talent for pacing and minimalism of story but still delivering a solid read. The first story takes place in New York City during a blackout. Moon Knight's been described as a protector of night travelers, and in this case, in a blackout, everyone's a night traveler.
Nrama: Greg, let’s bring you in here – on the art side, what are you coming out of the gate with in Moon Knight #7?
Greg Smallwood: Declan and Jordie established a strong visual vocabulary for the book and that's really given me something to latch on to. I'm big on incorporating design into my storytelling and Declan has already set up a lot of design motifs that I absolutely love. I plan on taking what he did and running with it. Jordie will continue working her magic on the book so it should be a pretty smooth transition.
Nrama: From your vantage point, who is Marc Spector/Moon Knight and what makes him intriguing to you?
Wood: He's great fun to write - he's all business, owns and uses cool tech, has something like multiple personalities, and can really fight. I feel like it’s the best of Batman without all the baggage of Batman. Plus I can write NYC as NYC, not as some analogue. People know I love writing NYC.
Smallwood: My approach to the character is strictly a visual one. He's the light in a dark world. Unlike a certain pointy-eared vigilante, he doesn't hide in the shadows; he stands out from them. He's confident and aggressive so his posture and fighting style reflects that. He's constantly charging ahead and making mistakes along the way. I like that about him. I like heroes with flaws.
Nrama: In the last issue of Moon Knight it began to dig deeper into Marc’s multiple personalities. Is this something your run will continue?
Wood: Yeah, we'll pick it up, as well as give his doctor, as seen in the first issue, some more panel time. The focus of the stories will always be about delivering a high action done-in-one, but we'll sneak things in along the edges.
Nrama: Although the numbering of Moon Knight is a continuation of the series from before, Marvel is dubbing this “Season 2.” How are you looking at the series as you approach it?
Wood: There's literally nothing wrong with this book. No one, myself included, sees any sense in tinkering with the formula. I think my stories are less supernatural than Warren's - to whatever extent his are supernatural... he has his moments - and more political, more military, but I'm just really trying hard to maintain the feel and the reading experience everyone's been enjoying.
Nrama: You’ve done super hero comics before, but primarily with outsider heroes like the X-Men or DV8. Moon Knight has a cape, but he’s no Superman. That being said, what’s it like for you delving more into the super hero genre – and with a hero the previous creators have pushes outside of the typical super hero?
Wood: I'm not a normal super hero writer... Demo, Mara, DV8; it’s not the typical way writers approach this stuff. Even with the X-Men, I'm doing it differently than most. The good thing about Moon Knight is he's not a traditional super hero either, so I'm a good fit. When thinking about Moon Knight, I'm thinking action films more than anything else. Johnnie To's stuff, The Raid, Oldboy, that sort of thing.
Smallwood: I might have been a little out of my element on a traditional super hero book but Moon Knight's blend of crime and the supernatural makes it a perfect fit for me. I got the call from Nick Lowe and I immediately said yes. There was no way I could turn down an opportunity to work with Brian Wood and Jordie Bellaire on a comic this good.
Nrama: Greg, you’ve worked with Marvel before on some anthologies but this is your first big ongoing assignment. Have you talked with Brian about a game plan for series? What are you seeing from Brian here?
Smallwood: I have read Brian’s first script and it's fantastic. Definitely keeping in tone with the first arc. Brian's storytelling is really tight and terse and I think that style blends really well with my mine.
Nrama: Brian, one last question and its yours -- you frequently work with familiar faces on your books, but this team-up is new. What kind of acclimation process do you try to go through when working with a new artist – and maybe use Greg as an example?
Wood: I just like to know who the artist is going in, and I spend some time looking at their work and seeing what they like, maybe what they don't, what they excel at, and so on, so I can keep that in mind when writing. But that's really more of a creator-owned project thing, it’s not always possible to know who the artist is working on company books or work for hire books. But I've looked at Greg's work, I know his work, and when I saw his name on the list of possibles, I was really happy about that. This is going to be a lot of fun.