MOON KNIGHT Wears White: The Evolution of MOON KNIGHT’s Costumes - Nerdist
NEW

MOON KNIGHT Wears White: The Evolution of MOON KNIGHT’s Costumes

Moon Knight is finally joining the MCU in a new Disney+ series, with Oscar Isaac taking on the mantle of the fan-favorite Marvel hero. For those of you unaware, Moon Knight, whose real name is Marc Spector, is an ex-mercenary-turned-superhero whom the ancient Egyptian god Khonshu revives after death to be his champion. Spector has dissociative identity disorder and his other non-costumed personalities include a playboy and a taxi driver. Imagine Batman, only if he wasn’t just pretending to be multiple people, but actually was multiple people. And like Batman, Moon Knight is a nighttime hero. But unlike the Dark Knight, Moon Knight loves to wear the color white, raising many brows. So why does Moon Knight wear white at night? And what white does he wear? Let’s dive deeper into the history of Moon Knight’s many costumes, from comics to MCU.

Artist David Finch's rendition of Moon Knight, getting ready for battle. How have Moon Knight's costume evolved from the comics to the MCU?
Marvel Comics
Why Does Moon Knight Wear White? 

In the comics, Moon Knight has had a lot of iconic costumes. And some that were less so. But almost all of Moon Knight’s costumes were primarily white. So why go totally pale, as opposed to draped in darkness like Batman? Moon Knight actually gave a reason once. He wants criminals to see him coming. And wearing white in darkness is a good way to make sure Moon Knight isn’t missed.

He once told Daredevil “I don’t wear white to hide myself. I wear it so they’ll see me coming. So they’ll know who it is. ‘Cause when they see the white, it doesn’t matter how good a target I am. Their hands shake so bad, they couldn’t hit the moon.” Well, when you say it like that, it does kind of make sense. Batman uses his dark outfit to blend into the night, but Moon Knight uses his white costume to stand out, a trend that will continue as Moon Knight transitions to the MCU. Not every nighttime hero wants darkness to swallow them up. Moon Knight’s stance is a bold one. But it tells us a lot about the hero.

Here, we break down the nearly five decades of Moon Knight’s costume history and evolution to see what else we can learn.

Moon Knight’s Costumes in the Early Years
The earliest Marvel Comics appearances of Moon Knight from the 1970s.
Marvel Comics

When Moon Knight originally appeared, he was actually an antagonist for the lead lupine character of Werewolf by Night. A mysterious committee hired him to neutralize Jack Russell, the werewolf in question. Of course, Moon Knight eventually surpassed the hairy hero in terms of popularity. But we can see his original costume now as a sort of rough draft. All the right elements are there. But they haven’t quite gelled yet.

This early costume has more black than white in it, and Moon Knight’s face isn’t intimidating at all. It looks more goofy than scary, with an ill-fitting mask. And this is comics, where everything fits everyone! Moon Knight also wore silver gauntlets in these early days. His cape attached to his gauntlets as well, which was probably bad during a fight. And he had what looked like a polo shirt collar around his neck. Not a great choice, but hey, it’s the first Moon Knight costume in history. For most of the rest of the ’70s, this is the outfit readers saw Moon Knight wear. It would receive improvements as the years rolled on.

Moon Knight’s First Solo Series Costume
Covers from the 1980 Bill Sienkiewicz series.
Marvel Comics

In 1980, Moon Knight received his own ongoing series, by writer Doug Moench and artist Bill Sienkiewicz. This came after years of guest-starring parts in other comics. In it, Moon Knight also received a new origin story and a new costume design. In Sienkiewicz’s redesign, the critical original elements are still there. But Marc Spector’s mask is now black instead of white, covered by the white hood. This is a much more striking effect on the page than the original, revealing how the hero too finally came into his own. His costume was now decidedly one tone, so any black was clearly a way of making the suit appear more silver than white. Most fans think of this as the definitive Moon Knight costume, even to this very day.

Moon Knight’s Fist of Khonshu Costume
The 1985 Egyptian-inspired costume of Moon Knight.
Marvel Comics

Although his series ran for a respectable 38 issues, they canceled it four years in. But in 1985, Marvel revived the character for a six-part limited series. In Moon Knight: Fist of Khonshu, the costume remained largely the same. With one big exception: all the gold accessories. Possibly these were added to break up all that solid white/silver on Moon Knight’s outfit. Additionally, they incorporated some Egyptian symbolism to denote Marc Spector’s connection to the god Khonshu.

It’s not a terrible outfit, but it’s just not as memorable as Moon Knight’s solid white look. He also wore this costume while a member of the West Coast Avengers.

Moon Knight Goes Back to Basics
The cover for 1989's Marc Spector: Moon Knight ongoing series.
Marvel Comics

In 1989, Marvel gave Moon Knight another shot at a solo series, called Marc Spector: Moon Knight. And series artist Sal Velluto went back to basics in terms of costuming. He ditched the enchanted gold gauntlets, and it was back to an-all white look again (with black highlights). The only real change from the early ’80s look is the new belt, with a crescent moon buckle. But this was when Marvel decided if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

The Extreme ’90s Moon Knight Costumes
Moon Knight's 1990s era silver armor.
Marvel Comics

Now, we arrive at the 1990s. And if you were reading comics back then, you know this was the “big guns, big armor” era. Captain America, Spider-Man, Batman, everyone got in on the fad. And Moon Knight was no exception. In 1992’s Marc Spector: Moon Knight #39, the titular hero armored up big time. But the bulky shoulders, the giant gauntlets, and the metal boots all took away from the sleekness of the classic look.

Moon Knight, as drawn in typical '90s fasion by Stephen Platt. This Moon Knight costume is all white with black shading.
Marvel Comics

But, he is a knight, after all. So you’ve gotta wear armor sometimes. Luckily, like most of these ’90s armored looks, Moon Knight’s didn’t last long either. The old costume came back, only now with a HUGE belt that looks very uncomfortable. This is thanks to artist Stephen Platt, who came on the title towards the end. But it too did not last long. This was a rough fashion period for every superhero. So let’s not pile on too hard on old Moon Knight.

The 2000s: Moon Knight Comes Back in Black
Moon Knight's Marvel Team-Up costume from 2005.
Marvel Comics

The next big change in Moon Knight’s wardrobe came in 2005, in the pages of Marvel Team-Up. In this new costume, designed by artist Scott Kolins, the bodysuit was entirely black. Only the gauntlets, boots, belt, and cape stayed white/silver. This is very reminiscent of his original look. It’s not an ugly design at all, but it loses the ghostly feeling of the white costume. If it had just a touch more white, it would look a lot cooler. Luckily, someone does that very thing a few years later.

The Ultimate Comics Universe version of Moon Knight, circa 2005.
Marvel Comics

During this same time, in the Ultimate Marvel Universe, Moon Knight got yet another radical redesign. This one is decidedly less successful. Designed by Mark Bagley for Ultimate Spider-Man, it’s not a bad outfit per se, as far as Moon Knight’s costume history is concerned. But the lack of a hood, the raised collar, and the wide Spider-Man eyes make him look like another character entirely. Which technically, he was (alternate universe and all). But it just stops feeling like Moon Knight anymore.

The 2010s: The Ripped Wrestler, the New Armor, and the Snazzy Suit
David Finch's 2006 spooky redesign of Moon Knight. This Moon Knight costume is all white and silver.
Marvel Comics

Back in the main 616 Marvel universe, artist David Finch not only bulked Moon Knight up, but he made a few eye-catching alterations. For his 2006 solo series, Moon Knight’s hood now came down very low, obscuring half his face. This gives a more Hobgoblin-like appearance. Finch also brought gold back into the costume, with small golden details in the belt. Moon Knight wore a version of this costume throughout much of the 2000s, long after Finch had left Moon Knight as its main artist. This version almost looked like a wrestler.

The new 2014 armor design for Moon Knight, designed by Declan Shalvey.
Marvel Comics

The final major costume evolutions take place in the 2010s. This was in Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey’s 2014 revival series. First, we get another armored look. But this one is sleek, and not bulky like the ’90s one was. This is a black bodysuit with white highlights, which we wouldn’t normally prefer for this character. But in this version, it really works. Finally, this creative team introduced the “Mr. Knight” costume. This Moon Knight costume was just an all-white, three-piece suit, with a white mask. It’s a bit more DC’s The Question or even Rorschach, but it makes for an amazing visual. And Mr. Knight is very easy to cosplay too.

Moon Knight's Mr. Knight look, which is a striking three-piece suit.
Marvel Comics
What Will Oscar Isaac’s MCU Moon Knight Costume Look Like?

All of this brings us to Oscar Isaac’s Moon Knight on Disney+. What we’ve seen of Moon Knight’s MCU costume so far looks extremely faithful to the comics. From his original classic costume, all the way to his dapper “Mr. Knight” suit. One change we do see is that the mask is pure white and not black, harkening back to his original look. There are also flecks of gold and silver, something his comics counterpart hasn’t seen in some time.

Oscar Isaac's on-screen Moon Knight costume in action. Oscar Isaac's Moon Knight MCU costume follows the tradition of an all-white look.
Marvel Studios

Most importantly, from the trailers for Moon Knight, it appears the costume wraps around him like an Egyptian mummy. Definitely, a new wrinkle added to the lore (pardon the pun). Another new addition to Moon Knight’s costume history is the crescent moon shape on the hood. All to establish him more thoroughly as a mythological warrior who comes out at night.

His Mr. Knight look is ripped straight from the pages of the comics, and we are definitely here for this level of fidelity to the source material. Looking at how intently the MCU’s costume designers focused on the comic details of Moon Knight’s costumes leaves us feeling confident about the show. Fingers crossed this kind of meticulous melding of Moon Knight’s history applies to his story as well.

Oscar Isaac in the dapper Mr. Knight Moon Knight costume.
Marvel Studios
A Look at Moon Knight‘s MCU Costumes

Happily for Moon Knight, fans, we’ve also gotten some full-length looks at a variety of Marc Spector’s outfits from the MCU show. Here are three different costumes we can look forward to when Moon Knight airs. They include Marc Spector, presumably as himself, Moon Knight’s full costume, and a better look at Mr. Knight.

Marc Spector's Moon Knight Costume
Marvel Studios
Moon Knight's full hero costume from the MCU show
Marvel Studios
Moon Knight Mr. Knight costume from the MCU
Marvel Studios
Moon Knight’s Costume History and Future

With his arrival on Disney+, we expect Moon Knight’s live-action MCU costume will influence how the comics artists interpret the character going forward. We have a strong feeling that Marc Spector/Moon Knight’s costume evolution is far from over. Cheers to another fifty years of Moon Knight costumes in both the comic and MCU world. Maybe one day, he’ll break from black, white, and silver and try out a color. Then again, if it ain’t broke…

Trending Topics