Alan Zelenetz, the writer who originally introduced Moon Knight’s Jewish heritage into Marvel canon, has revealed that he doesn’t particularly care if the character’s upcoming Disney Plus series remains faithful to this aspect of the Fist of Konshu’s identity.
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A school-teacher-turned-comic-book-writer, Zelenetz was a brief member of the Marvel bullpen during the 1980s, creating Alien Legion for the publisher’s Epic Comics imprint and authoring notable runs on such core series as The Mighty Thor, Kull the Conqueror, and, of course, Moon Knight.
Zelenetz established Moon Knight’s Jewish background in Moon Knight #37 (1984).
Therein, Marc Spector – the white-clad vigilante’s alter ego – recalls that his parents “came to America just after Hitler’s goosesteppers turned Czechoslovakia into a German puppet” during World War II, and that his father was an “ordained rabbi” who “went on to become a brilliant scholar in the Kabalah, Jewish mysticism”.
“In America, he was lucky just to be alive,” Spector adds.
The issue also sees Spector save a Rabbi and a Torah scroll from a burning synagogue, which he discovers was set alight by a group of anti-Semitic thugs
Further, between issue #37 and its follow-up – which also serves as the end of Moon Knight’s first volume – Zelenetz introduced the villainous Zohar, a man who studied the Jewish mystic teachings of the Kabbalah under Spector’s father before becoming obsessed with keeping the information to himself.
Zelenetz made public his indifference to the Disney Plus Moon Knight series respecting his source material during an interview with Forward culture reporter PJ Grisar given in reflection of the live-action adaptations upcoming premiere.
As Grisar turned to discuss the pre-emptive outrage from fans who accused Isaac’s casting as the Crescent Crusader as an erasure of his Jewish identity, Zelenetz asserted that Marvel is “certainly not bound by any origins.”
“All of a sudden the Jews need to be represented, Moon Knight has to be Jewish,” said Zelenetz, going on to mockingly mimic some of the rhetoric he had seen surrounding the series’ casting decision. “‘Oh, we’re watching Marvel! The boycott is around the corner.’ I can smell blood in the water already! ‘How could they not make him Jewish? Oscar Isaac is not Jewish, even though he has the name ‘Isaac.’ And they’ve got an Egyptian director — what’s going on here?’”
He then declared, “So he’s not Jewish and he won’t be Jewish, and Arthur Harrow [an original Zelenetz character who will be portrayed by Ethan Hawke on the small screen] won’t be the character I created. So what?”
“If he’s not Jewish because there’s a good artistic reason he’s not Jewish, that’s perfectly OK,” he added. “I don’t care.”
Zelenetz concluded by proposing that, if Marvel does confirm Spector’s Jewish lineage, “the series would be a great place to explore an ancient Egyptian God and a Jew.”
“Maybe the ancient Egyptian God wants to make up for all those ancient Egyptians who couldn’t keep up with Moses!” he playfully opined. “That would be a good storyline.”
What do you make of Zelenetz’s indifference to Disney potentially shifting away from Spector’s Jewish identity? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!
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