How an Iconic Moon Knight Story Came About by Accident

In the latest Comic Book Legends Revealed, learn how an iconic Moon Knight comic book story came about basically by accident.

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the eight hundred and thirty-fourth installment where we examine three comic book legends and determine whether they are true or false. As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the three legends. Click here for the first part of this installment's legends.

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The iconic Moon Knight story, "Hit It," was specifically written so that it would NOT be drawn by Bill Sienkiewicz, the artist who made the story so iconic.



The story of Bill Sienkiewicz's debut as a professional comic book artist is almost worth a comic book legend itself. At Dan Greenfield's awesome site, 13th Dimension, he interviewed Bill about how he got started (Dan actually has a whole collection of Bill Sienkiewicz interviews that you should read) and Bill explained how it came down to him trying to get work at DC Comics because he felt that he wasn't good enough to work at Marvel just yet and how that approach ended up with him getting a regular Marvel!

Bill explained, "I just didn’t think I was good enough for Marvel. When I went in to DC, Vinnie Colletta, who was the art director at the time, looked at my work and said, “I think you could be working, but in a couple of weeks you’ll be on the curb.” Because everybody was getting kicked out at that point, through the DC Implosion. So, he called up Neal, and then somebody from Neal’s office happened to be there at DC and they walked with me over to Continuity (Neal’s Manhattan studio). So I’m walking in to meet my hero. He pulled all the artists out at Continuity and they were just talking about my work. Again, I was a country kid, I had — everything I was wearing was petroleum based. There was no cotton. I had like, nylon, seersucker pants that were so largely checked you could play checkers on them. And chess at the same time, and not crowd out one box. An Eiffel Tower tie. I still remember it. And Neal said he called up (Marvel editor Jim) Shooter, and said “There’s a guy here, he draws like me, make of that what you will.” So, I ended up going to meet with Jim Shooter, and I got hired at Marvel with nothing but a portfolio of DC characters. (Bill laughs.) Shooter was like, “Look, costumes don’t matter. It’s the storytelling. And then when they offered me Moon Knight, I had no idea who that was."

As you can see from that story, it is very true that when Sienkiewicz first started working at Marvel, his work had an unmistakable Neal Adams quality to it. He was given the Moon Knight back-up story in the Hulk! color magazine and let me tell you, Adams-influenced or not, Sienkiewicz was an undeniably excellent comic book artist right from the start.

The combination of Doug Moench's great stories and Sienkiewciz's outstanding art soon made Moon Knight one of Marvel's hottest characters and the character soon graduated from back-up stories in another comic book characters magazine (not even a regular comic book!) to his own ongoing comic book series in 1980...

Sienkiewicz continued to be excellent on the series, but as time went by, it was clear that there was a whole new level for Sienkiewicz to go, art style wise, and soon, he received the mistake!

In an interview by Christopher Larochelle in TwoMorrows' Back Issue #95, Doug Moench explained how he came up with the story, "Hit It"..."Denny O'Neil called me and mentioned that Bill might not be able to make the next deadline, so he asked for a short, eight-page story so that Bill wouldn't have to draw as much for an upcoming issue. So I decided to do this little experimental thing called "Hit it." As it turned out, I think it was given to Bill by mistake, and he read it, and fell in love with it, and wanted to expand it. It was okay with me, but I wasn't the editor! So Bill worked on it and I had to adjust the writing for it becsause the story had expanded so much. It really worked out... it gave both of us this unexpected freedom to just breathe and it turned into a really special thing, I thought."

Bill was interviewe for the same piece and he explained, as well, "That's when things really blew up for me. 'Hit It' was a story that wasn't about the 'villain of the month.' It was much more of a story abotu humanity that just so happeend to have Moon Knight in it. It was also the first story that I felt I had the visuals that had a genuine emotional quality. Up until that point, I felt that I had only really been approaching that and never really grasping it. With the musical aspects, and the rhythm of the whole piece (no pun intended), I started getting phine calls from a lot of different industry professionals, and it made me feel like I might have stumbled onto something. It seemed to be a big deal to a lot of people. "

The concept of the story (which was published in Moon Knight #26) is that a man discovers that his abusive father has died and he snaps, as he was never able to hit his father back, so instead, he just starts hitting strangers. Sienkiewicz merges it with the visuals of a child's drawings of abuse mixed with the rhythm of drums hitting ("Hit it!") and it's a stunning approach...


The mixture of the two art styles was incredibly unusual for the era...


And Moench, for his part, also matches the idea that Moon Knight doesn't WANT to get caught up in this cycle of violence...


But in the end, what else can he do?


A new style discovered, Sienkiewicz would leave the series three issues later and go on to become an even more experimental and beloved comic book artist.

Thanks to Bill Sienkiewicz, Doug Moench, Dan Greenfield and Christopher Larochelle for the quotes!

CHECK OUT A TV LEGENDS REVEALED! In the latest Movie Legends Revealed - Discover the fascinating and bold request that Vin Diesel made from Universal Pictures in exchange for making his franchise-saving cameo in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.


Check back soon for part 3 of this installment's legends!

Feel free to send suggestions for future comic legends to me at either [email protected] or [email protected]

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