Marvel Series Teases Moon Knight vs. Dracula

These days, Moon Knight is busy fighting vampires and werewolves...and Marvel's Dracula might be next on his hit list!

Werewolf by Night on the cover of Moon Knight Annual #1
Photo: Marvel

This article contains mild Moon Knight spoilers.

You wouldn’t know it if you watched the Disney+ TV series, but Moon Knight is a superhero with at least one foot planted firmly in the spookier corners of the Marvel Universe. The character first appeared as an antagonist in an issue of Werewolf by Night, for one thing, and because of his ties to an Egyptian moon god of vengeance has always flirted with the supernatural. Never has that been more true than in the current Moon Knight comic series, where the hero has opened the Midnight Mission, protecting “those who travel by night” from threats both earthly and unearthly, and populating its supporting cast and antagonists with vampires.

“The touchstone we had when we started the series was, I wanted Moon Knight back where I thought he worked best, which is on the street,” Moon Knight writer Jed MacKay tells our Marvel Standom podcast. “But we also didn’t want him bumping up into Daredevil territory or Spider-Man territory, or heaven forbid, Punisher territory. So the idea was street level, but weird. You go to Spider-Man if someone’s shaking you down, but you’ve got Moon Knight if someone’s shaking you down and they also turn into a werewolf when the moon comes up. That’s kind of the niche I think he fits in because Moon Knight is an impossibly weird character. He’s a very strange man, just in the things that he does and the people he surrounds himself with, and the kind of attitude he takes to things. He’s a bit of a misfit among the superhero community.”

Part of putting Moon Knight back “on the street” involved looking to more grounded stories for inspiration. But they aren’t necessarily the ones you might expect.

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“One of the big things that appealed to me when we first kind of came up with this Midnight Mission idea is that it very much puts Moon Knight in a detective place, even though he’s not really a detective and wouldn’t describe himself as a detective,” he says. “I really love those ‘70s procedural detective shows like The Rockford Files, Columbo, Simon & Simon, Magnum PI, and stuff like thati. I love that episodic format. What we really leaned into when the series began was a one and done story, while there’s still things building up for the arc as it continues. My inspiration was in ‘70s, genre detective kind of stuff [using an] episodic structure for building that framework, that we can tell single stories, and that acts as a generative engine for creating new stories. There’s always an excuse for someone to walk in those doors, sit down and have Mr. Knight tell them, “Welcome to the Midnight Mission, how can I help?” So, failing any other inspiration, I can always just go to that.”

And the help folks need is usually now of a distinctly supernatural nature. From the very first issue, there’s been a strong thread of vampirism running through the series, from the introduction of an important new Moon Knight supporting character in Reese, to the rise of the Tutor, a vampire leader with a twist.

“The vampiric pyramid, cult sort of system…that’s a very American form of vampirism [and] vampire hierarchy, as opposed to your old world monarchies and whatnot,” MacKay says. “So we have that whole situation rapidly reaching a boiling point, and we’re going to see a little more history behind that and a little more understanding of why things are happening the way they are and what is going to need to be done in order to deal with it.”

The Tutor’s ambitions will inevitably lead to run-ins with the biggest vampiric villain in the Marvel Universe: Dracula. For folks who may not know, yes, there is indeed a Marvel Dracula who routinely fights superheroes, and he has a long history and continuity of his own that rivals any of the great Marvel villains. While Dracula has been making waves in the pages of Avengers recently (where he has established the vampire nation of Chernobyl…because comics are awesome, folks), it looks like he’ll be coming to Moon Knight soon enough.

“As far as movers and shakers in the vampire world go, if you’re trying to make big moves politically in the vampire world, Dracula is a guy you’re gonna have to deal with,” MacKay says. “The Tutor is making a move to get in with Dracula. He wants to take his operation internationally and wants to become a rising force in the vampire world. He’s already well established in New York but wants to take it further. We’re gonna see how that shakes out because he’s invited a lot of friends over and there might be some party crashers.” 

And as if all this vampiric action wasn’t enough, there’s also a werewolf to contend with. In the newly released Moon Knight Annual #1, there’s a long awaited rematch with Werewolf by Night, the same character who first introduced Moon Knight to the world back in 1975, and who. While the pair have had several rematches since then, things have changed considerably for the character since those days (not to mention how different he may appear to folks only familiar with Jack Russell from the Werewolf by Night MCU TV special).

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“Jack Russell is the king of all wolves,” he says. “He fought his way to ascendancy when all the werewolves in North America came together, he proved himself in the Winter Wars in Quebec against the Wendigo, and now he is the leader of all werewolves, or at least in title. Jack Russell, from his very first appearance, has a long history with the Darkhold. His family is tied up with it for many generations. He has read the Darkhold himself, and he has found something he wants. He wants to free his people, the werewolves, from bondage to the moon, and the moon is represented by everyone’s favorite, Khonshu.”

Needless to say, carnage ensues. If you’re looking for something seasonally appropriate this Halloween to go with your superheroics, then Moon Knight is very much the book for you.