In the latest Comic Book Legends Revealed, find out if there was a Moon Knight TV series in Japan in the late 1970s.
Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the eight hundred and thirty-fourth episode where we examine three comic book legends and determine if they are true or false. As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the three captions.
There was a Japanese Moon Knight TV show released in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
One of the cool things about captions since I’ve been doing them is that you’ll have a question someone asks, say, 2006, and you won’t have any way to answer it, and so you will kind of push it out of your mind, and then more than a decade will pass, then the same question will come back and you’ll see a lot of new information has come out since then on the subject.
This has certainly been the case when it comes to an old legend regarding whether or not there is a Moon Knight TV series in Japan. With the new Moon Knight TV series now airing on Disney+, I’m now getting a number of requests for answers to this caption after not hearing about it for years (this was a relatively common question when I first started to make Comic Book Legends Revealed, so I won’t even bother to name specific people who made this request, let’s say there were many).
Before Moon Knight received his first ongoing series in 1980, the character first starred in an issue of Marvel’s Black and White Magazine, Preview of Marvel #21…
In this issue, editor Ralph Macchio discussed Moon Knight’s rather meteoric rise as a character and noted that one of the things they were surprised to learn about the character’s popularity is that it was planned to turn the character into a TV series star in Japan!
Now, here’s really the main origin of this legend, and it’s the one I was stuck with, because, boy, does it really sound definitive here, doesn’t it? In Moon Knight #15, Moon Knight writer and co-creator Doug Moench wrote about the character’s backstory and when discussing the same time period Macchio was talking about above, Moench notes, “Ultimately , the increase in mail response and foreign interest in the character (Moon Knight became a TV series in Japan) opened the door for an actual and regular Moon Knight title, a monthly house all its own .”
To see? There is no “PLAN to make Moon Knight into a TV series”, just “Moon Knight has been made into a TV series in Japan”. As noted, many readers over the years have written to me about this and although I have never been able to find a Moon Knight TV series in Japan, at the same time, I haven’t necessarily been able to prove that there has never been a Moon Knight Japanese TV series. In other words, proving a negative has always proven to be a rather daunting task in the land of legends. I wasn’t able to do it in 2006, but in 2022 I think I’m ready to go with a fake here!
In the 1950s, there was a popular superhero in Japan known as Moonlight Mask (the character has had a number of revivals over the years). He was so popular he had all kinds of media appearances, live action, cartoons, he even had albums…
My pal Jerry Whitworth reported back in 2018 that the infamous (infamous?) Marvel/Toei deal (which I wrote about years ago in terms of how a Marvel/Toei animation deal only came to fruition to a single animated TV movie adaptation of Tomb of Dracula and how they had a little more success with a live-action deal for a Spider-Man TV series that inadvertently led to a property much more famous Japanese) was going to include Moon Knight, at least partly because of the slight visual connection between the character and the famous character Moonlight Mask.
They had gone so far as to develop a design for a Moon Knight costume for the cartoon…
Isn’t this design awesome? Boy, the Toei animation division was just outstanding. The above Tomb of Dracula The TV series was incredibly faithful to the artwork and designs of Gene Colan and Tom Palmer from the original comic. Here, however, the design was about as far as the TV series went (although there were supporting elements that I might discuss in a future caption, as they’re interesting on their own).
Unfortunately, it never got any further than PLANS for a Moon Knight TV shows. Fortunately, decades later, there is a big budget Moon Knight TV series on Disney+ that we can all enjoy, so at least some good things have come to us that have been waiting!
Thanks to Jerry Whitworth for the information and to the various Japanese Marvel fans who have collected over the years the great images that Jerry used for his article on the subject. And thanks, of course, to all the MANY people who wrote about this one over the years! It’s definitely up there in terms of “most requested” topics for captions!
SOME MORE LEGENDS OF ENTERTAINMENT!
Check out some entertainment legends from Legends Revealed:
1. Heath Ledger’s tragically destructive plans for the Joker to appear in The Dark Knight Rises?
2. Does Disney offer free tickets for life to any baby born at a Disney theme park?
3. Was Oliver Reed too “raw” to play James Bond?
4. Has Carrie Fisher worked as a screenwriter on more than a dozen Hollywood movies?
PART TWO COMING SOON!
Check back soon for part 2 of the legends of this episode!
Why was the first issue of Moon Knight completely redesigned by Bill Sienkiewicz?
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