Hired assassin, multiple secret identity vigilante, warrior of an Egyptian god, Avenger, mercenary, and dissociative identity disorder hero are all monikers to describe Moon Knight. The dust has settled from the Oscar Isaac Disney Plus series, and the character of Marc Spector/Steven Grant is firmly in the public zeitgeist. How did this throw away character, from 1975, who went through numerous interpretations to be arguably as interesting (though not a direct copy) as Batman, take over 20 years to get his first action figure made?
Originally appearing in August 1975s Werewolf by Night #32, Moon Knight was hired by the ‘Committee’ to kill Jack Russell, the Werewolf. In the issue, Moon Knight is even quoted as saying that the name came with the costume. He’s rather easily dispatched and probably would have been forgotten as a one-off adversary if creators Doug Moench and Don Perlin hadn’t decided they liked their new character so much that they pitched and reimagined him as an ongoing series lead.
Moon Knight’s Comic Book Appearances
Multiple appearances in a variety of comic books from Marvel Spotlight to Spectacular Spider-Man, culminated in his own 1980 solo series. Now a mercenary with multiple secret identities to keep tabs on the criminal underworld, Moon Knight became a vigilante with an Egyptian theme. As the years went by, he would be revamped, relaunched, and re-envisioned even more in the pages of The West Coast Avengers and no less than nine different solo series. His many secret identities would be rewritten as multiple personalities and then again into dissociative identity disorder (DID). The level of Egyptian magic he wielded would wax and wane depending on the iteration and the current writer’s preference.
Most Marvel characters can track their popularity in merchandise sales, with the Avengers and Spider-Man at the forefront. The Fist of Khonshu, as Moon Knight is known, took much longer to see his likeness recreated in action figure form, a disheartening realization, as his look, with silver cape, golden moon-themed weapons, and dark, cowel-ed visage, seems perfect for physical play. He would have fit in well with Mattel’s Secret Wars line back in the ’80s.
Moon Knight’s First Action Figures
But Moon Knight did not appear in the plastic format until 1997 from ToyBiz as part of their Marvel Gold line, known for featuring lesser-recognized characters. The figure was unmemorable with an awkward design that featured a strange cloth belt and cloak which hung very poorly over the figure’s head. ToyBiz followed this with a slightly more detailed 10” figure for their Marvel Universe line which, while it had better articulation, still suffered from an oddly-shaped cloth cloak, an issue that can be applied to several action figures of the time.
Almost 10 years after that both Diamond’s Marvel Select lines and the Marvel Legends series released incredibly well-detailed figures that were relegated to collector shops and comic retailers. It could have ended there if the MCU hadn’t steamrolled though so many A-List characters that they needed to dig deeper for content. Thanks to the television series, it was time to finally get some Moon Knight merchandise out on the shelves.
Possibly because of the criticism of the lack of a fully costumed Moon Knight in the television series, Sideshow Collectible’s statues and maquettes have become the best way for fans to see the hero in action. Several new Marvel Legends figures feature both the Mr. Knight version, and the television super-hero style of the character. Licensor SalesOne has some released very detailed prop replicas of several of Moon Knight’s weapons, too.
Moon Knight’s Funko Pop! Figure
Almost every version of the character has received Funko’s Pop! Figure treatment, including the skull-bird-faced Khonshu. And the Marvel Retro Collection has released a nostalgia heavy version of the Moon Knight that’s styled directly the comics page out of the late 1980s in a kid and collector friendly 3.75” scale.
While nowhere near as prevalent as Batman merchandise, Moon Knight’s time in the spotlight has been a long time coming. It’s been nice to see him finally step out of the shadows, hopefully draw in a few new fans, and allow collectors to finally see realized action figure versions of this unique and constantly changing character.