Moon Knight (1980) #37 Published: May 01, 1984 Writer: Alan Zelenetz Penciler: Bo Hampton Cover Artist: Michael Kaluta At long last…the secret history of Marc Spector’s father! Plus, a reveal at the end of this issue that will leave you gob smacked!
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Writer Alan Zelenetz, before becoming a film producer, he was a junior high school principal at the Yeshiva of Flatbush, an Orthodox Jewish school in Brooklyn. One of the science teachers under his supervision was the father of Darren Aronofsky, director of Pi (1998).
BB Notes on Moon Knight Episode
History of Moon Knight - Brandon First Appearance: Werewolf by Night #32 (august 1975) Marc Spector - a marine-turned-mercenary left for dead in Egypt. Resurrected by the Egyptian God of the moon, Khonshu. Identities Start off as just guises, retconned into multiple personalities Dissociative Identity Disorder Steven Grant - wealthy Jake Lockley - a cab driver Allies Jean-Paul “Frenchie” DuChamp - pilot Marlene - longtime lover Brandon- Interview from Comic Foundry (Tim Leong), a conversation between Doug Moench and Charlie Huston (Moon Knight Volume 5, 2006-9) https://www.cbr.com/comic-book-legends-revealed-553/3/ Getting back to how much was accidental and incremental, the other thing is, I had a habit of naming characters in stories after friends, and it started spreading. And soon I had people coming to me saying, “When are you going to name a character after me?” So I used to go to Ed Summer’s comic shop, I think it was called Comic Snipe? Something Snipe. It was the best comic shop in Manhattan at the time. And one of the guys that worked there was Marc Spector.
And he was saying, “When are you going to name a character after me?” So then I was trying to figure out this villain for “Werewolf by Night.” What am I going to call him? I’ll name him after Marc Spector. Then it turned out Marc Spector was Jewish. Ah, I guess this is a Jewish name. Well, I guess I just made up the first Jewish costumed hero. So maybe I should research some Judaism and stuff about the Mideast and Mossad and all this other stuff, and that’s where all that stuff came from.
MOENCH: It was all an accident. I didn’t say, “I’m going to sit down and create a Jewish character.” The second series was Marc Spector: Moon Knight, initially written by Chuck Dixon. Dixon blogged in the 2000’s When I wrote Moon Knight over at Marvel I wanted to explore the fact that Marc Spector was Jewish. I was uncomfortable with the fact that a Jew wielded a power born of Egyptian myth. I wanted to deal with this in a storyline. My editor told me to ignore that aspect of his personality. And I was told this by an editor who is a Jew. Is there something in the mind of comics fandom and professionals that finds religion repugnant? Or are they simply avoiding the familiar?
Moon Knight #37, May 1984 “Red Sins” Written by Alan Zelenetz Penciled by Bo Hampton Inked by Armando Gil Colored by Ben Sean Lettered by Joe Rosen Edited by Denny O’Neill RABBI Alan Zelentz Formerly principal of Torah and General Studies of the Yeshivah of Flatbush Middle School and principal of the Solomon Schechter High School of Brooklyn Currently Director of the Idea School Institute Page 1 - Rabbi dying in the hospital Page 3 - Balfus Hospital in Chicago! Made up hospital Page 5 Marc’s parents came to U.S. from Czechoslovakia after Hitler “Knew the Bible and Talmud by heart before he was fifteen, was ordained a rabbi at eighteen, and went on to become a brilliant scholar in the Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism. In America, he was lucky just to be alive.” Grew up on the “poor side” of Chicago Father beaten up by a gang that carve swastika into his forehead Picture of young Marc in kippa “But why? Why were you a coward?” “God will punish them. We’ve enough red sins of our own to atone for. I leave justice to God.” Frequent critique levied against rabbinic Jews. Is Moon Knight a Zionist “New Jew”? Page 6 Appointment to the faculty of the theological seminary, wants Marc to enroll Have they gone to JTS? Or does this mean Chicago? Likely a reference to the Hebrew Theological College, aka “Skokie Yeshiva” (est. 1921) Moved to Skokie in 1958 from North Lawndale Father discovers his son has taken up boxing. Discovers him, tries to talk him out of it Page 7 Marc punches his own father in the ring “You want to be an animal, go -- be an animal. But not in my house, not with my blessing, never as my son.” Pirkei Avot 2:5 - Hillel would say וּבְמָקוֹם שֶׁאֵין אֲנָשִׁים, הִשְׁתַּדֵּל לִהְיוֹת אִישׁ: Page 8 Marlene tries to convince Steve to make amends Moon Knight patrols the Lower East Side where his aunt used to live Page 9 A synagogue is burning! Top two panels show a beautifully drawn shul Fairly generic, might be Kehila Kedosha Janina A man in a green kippa ran into building to save a Torah scroll Moon Knight: “The five books of Moses. He put his life on the line for this.” Page 10 Reflects his father would have also risked his life to save a Torah, but wouldn’t put up a fight Painted swastika on the door Moon Knight’s off to hunt some Nazis…. Page 12 “It’s not enough to leave justice to God’s sweet time.” Page 13-14 Moon Knight confronting the hatemongers “This here’s private property--” “So’s the synagogue you turned into a flaming Holocaust, you rotten son of a pig!” “Hey, what’s a Jew church to you?” As Moon Knight holds a guy out the window by his ankles: “I belong with the persecuted.” Page 16 Moon Knight was especially violent. Detective says he woulda charged cops with police brutality I wonder why MK is so upset in this situation… First glimpse into his Jewish identity This gets him to book tickets to Chicago Page 17 Marc gets back in time for his father’s funeral It’s so quick! Kavod hamet Marlene and Marc walking in, no gender separation though the physicality reads Orthodox A man approaches Marc with a kippa in hand “Excuse me, sir, would you mind covering your head?” Rabbi Elias Spector “To pay final tribute to rabbi Elias Spector, of sainted memory, who has been called from among us this day...that his eternal soul might bask in the heavenly glory of God” So Christian sounding in English Likely said zecher tzadik livracha Page 18 Eulogy delivered over image of Rabbi Spector pouring over Hebrew books One has on the cover ליער “In his religious and mystical studies, Elias Spector struggled for the knowledge to see beyond the physical, to know the universe as a reflection of the Divine Image... and to see mankind redeemed as is written in the visions of Isaiah -- Come now and let us reason together saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow, though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18 I learned in school the importance of checking surrounding verses of a prooftext Isaiah 1:15-17 And when you lift up your hands, I will turn My eyes away from you; Though you pray at length, I will not listen. Your hands are stained with crime—Wash yourselves clean; Put your evil doings Away from My sight. Cease to do evil; Learn to do good. Devote yourselves to justice; Aid the wronged. Uphold the rights of the orphan; Defend the cause of the widow.Surrounding verses are pretty awesome Then goes into Psalm 23 Page 19 Meet the Rabbi, Reuben Davis - a student of Rabbi Spector’s Marc has been separated 18 years - significant? Page 20 Marc goes to visit his father’s grave, discovers a vandal spraypainting a swastika Page 22 A thug LIFTS A JEWISH GRAVESTONE FROM THE GROUND Marc and Marlene defeat the punks Discover someone paid them to desecrate the graves… And that father’s grave is empty Page 23 We see a hooded figure in purple robes, who looks like a purple KKK member Over the casket of Rabbi Spector