Publication Date: 30th Apr 2020
Written By: Monolith.
Image Work: Douglas Mangum.

BIOGRAPHY - page 1

Marc Spector grew up in Chicago, Illinois, his family having fled Czechoslovakia for America during the rise of Nazi Germany. Marc's mother died when he was young, and he was raised alongside his little brother Randall by their father, the rabbi Elias Spector. Elias was immensely dedicated to his faith, perhaps more so than to his family. He was a renowned scholar of Kabbalah and the Torah, and encouraged his sons to follow him into rabbinical school. Marc, however, could not understand his father's stern but pacifistic ways. One day, his father came home from temple beaten and with a swastika carved into his forehead, yet he said he had done nothing to defend himself, for only God would judge the men who wronged him. [Moon Knight (1st series) #37]

Marc rejected his father's path and swore he would be able to defend himself when need be. As children, Marc often pushed Randall into playing war with him, or cowboys and Indians. Marc was naturally more violent than Rand and almost always won their encounters. Marc frequently got into fights to prove himself, and was often detained at school after fighting with other students, much to his father's chagrin. [Shadowland: Moon Knight #1]

Marc had trouble getting along with his distant father, but he enjoyed hanging around with the other rabbis, especially one Yitz Perlman. Rabbi Perlman was funny and gregarious and self-deprecating about Judaism in ways Rabbi Spector was not. An old friend of Marc's grandfather, he had escaped from Nazi Germany with the Spectors on their way to America. Marc liked Perlman and wanted to impress him, so he made time to spend with the elderly rabbi. When Perlman agreed to meet with Marc at the temple one day, Marc arrived significantly earlier than planned, eager to make a good impression.

Exploring the empty building, Marc found a secret room in the basement. He was shocked to find Rabbi Perlman with a horribly mutilated man tied to a rack and being tortured. Perlman was, in fact, not Jewish at all. He had been a Nazi scientist named Ernst who foresaw the fall of Hitler and helped Marc's grandfather escape Germany with his family provided they took him with them. Ernst then arranged the death of Marc's grandfather, the only one in their refugee group who knew his true identity. Ernst was a sadist and a practicing serial killer who still hated Jews despite his assumed identity, and indulged in his various vices from time to time. Marc was terrified, but he struck out and hurt Ernst long enough to run to safety. The Nazi called after him, saying Marc would never be safe again. Marc never told anyone what happened in that basement, especially since "Rabbi Perlman" transferred to another synagogue the next day. But he never forgot what he saw. [Moon Knight (1st series) #194]

The encounter with Perlman was traumatizing to Marc's young mind, and he would attribute what happened next to being a stress-induced reaction to what he had experienced. At twelve years old, Marc started seeing an imaginary friend, a boy who looked and acted much like Marc but called himself Steven Grant. His parents took note of Marc's strange behavior, observing that Marc sometimes conversed with someone who wasn't there, while other times he actually claimed to be Steven Grant, not Marc. A third personality named Jake surfaced sometime later as well. Rabbi Spector took Marc to a psychiatrist, but Marc's illness was progressing too fast for out-patient treatment to prove effective. Marc was institutionalized at Putnam Psychiatric Hospital for some time in order to find stability and learn to cope with his mental illness. [Moon Knight (8th series) #10]

By his teens, Marc had trained to become an Olympic class athlete and prizefighter. When he was eighteen, he began fighting matches at the local gym as a boxer, and won them all. Once, however, Rabbi Elias entered the ring and shamed his son for turning away from their family's ways. The crowd jeered them on until Marc lost his cool and struck his father. Elias cast Marc out of their family, and the two men would be estranged for another eighteen years. Marc left Chicago soon after when he signed up for the Marines. [Moon Knight (1st series) #37]

[Note: In Shadowland: Moon Knight #3, the boxing ring encounter with Elias only took place after Marc joined the Marines. Elias was upset that Randall had followed in Marc's footsteps and enlisted as well. In Moon Knight (8th series) #12, Elias Spector reportedly died while Marc was still a teenager and institutionalized, long before he joined the Marines. This contradictory account was provided by the Othervoid or Marc's mindscape, and does not match any other contemporary account of Rabbi Spector's passing.]

Marc lied about his mental health history in order to get admitted into the Marines. He spent several years in the service, becoming a commando. He maintained focus and self-control for most of this time period, but eventually he began having episodes again. One night on base overseas, Marc was found naked wandering into a mine field in the middle of the night. His commanding officer uncovered that Marc had lied about his commitment history and prepared to discharge him back to the States. Marc ditched his escorts, however, and avoided his flight home. [Moon Knight (8th series) #11] The official record stated that Marc received a dishonorable discharge for an incident where he beat his lieutenant. The discrepancy in the official report is unexplained. [Werewolf by Night (1st series) #32]

For a time, Marc was an operative for the Central Intelligence Agency. It's unknown if he managed to conceal his mental health history again, or if the CIA simply didn't care. He turned his talent for killing towards black ops work. Marc often worked with William Cross, a CIA counter-intelligence strategist who specialized in behavioral programming and false flag operations. [Marvel Two-In-One #52, Moon Knight (5th series) #8] Marc worked with his brother Randall for the CIA on a job in Italy, running guns for an anti-Communist organization. Rand was unstable, however, and planned to betray Marc by selling him to the other side for money. When Marc's lover Lisa overheard his plans, Rand killed her and fled. Marc chased Rand for three days until he finally caught up with him. Rand took cover behind a large tree and was able to pin Marc down with fire. Marc tossed a grenade at Randall instead, causing the tree to explode and batter Rand with severe injuries. Rand was taken to a nearby hospital but, after he healed, he escaped while strangling a nurse and Marc lost track of him. [Rampaging Hulk magazine #17]

One of Marc's closest confederates in the CIA was Amos Lardner, and the two men frequently caught up over assignments. Despite the "top secret" status of many missions, each trusted the other enough to be open about what they did, even the more disreputable work like the mind control experiments of Operation: Cobra. On one assignment, however, Marc was commissioned to smuggle Amos across the border to Ravencrag Institution in Montreal. This time, Amos was tight-lipped about his orders and wouldn't speak about the reasons for his trek. Marc never saw Amos again after delivering him, and his distaste for Cobra and other projects led him to leave the CIA following Amos' disappearance. [Marvel Preview #21]

After the CIA, Marc drifted overseas for some time. Marc became a mercenary, selling the skills he learned with the Marines and CIA to the highest bidder. On one assignment, he and a private army aided a revolutionary named Emmanuel Raposa against the dictatorship of Ricardo Dominguez in the Central American republic of Bosqueverde. In the final days of the civil war, Spector's mercenaries were storming the palace to smoke out Dominguez. He and Bo Ollsen took the lead clearing rooms when they came across Dominguez and his wife, Carmilla. The dictator reached into a desk drawer and Bo shouted he saw a gun, causing Marc to reflexively fire, killing the county's current ruler. In the months that followed, the rigid tyranny of Dominguez became a fond memory for Bosqueverde compared to the oppressive cruelty of the new Raposa regime. Marc would come to deeply regret the part he played in the revolution and the tiny spark of a conscience began to grow within him after that, affecting his mercenary work. [Marc Spector: Moon Knight #16]

In between mercenary jobs, Marc fought in underground boxing rings. In one such establishment, he met a man named Jean-Paul DuChamp, or Frenchie. Marc and Frenchie became close friends and business partners. Spector's military experience and fighting skills made him exceptional in the field, while Frenchie acted as a pilot to facilitate their escapes and scouted new jobs suited for their talents. After one such recovery mission, the friends came to the attention of a new partner, the soldier-of-fortune named Raoul Bushman. [Moon Knight (8th series) #11-12]

Marc and Frenchie served with Raoul for several years, becoming part of his larger band of mercenaries. There was always work in Africa and the Middle East, crushing local revolutionaries for profit. As time when on, though, Bushman continued to showcase his flair for the dramatic. Believing terror to be a powerful weapon in battle, Bushman tattooed his face with a death-mask and sharpened his teeth into points. Spector was growing weary of Bushman's theatricality and the killing. He had his doubts when Bushman suggested a new venture to attack a nearby archeological team in Northern Sudan and relieve them of the gold they found in a newly uncovered Tomb of Seti. Spector and Frenchie began questioning whether it was time to cut their losses and leave Bushman behind.

When they arrived at the village close to the tomb, Bushman began rounding up the locals. The archeologist in charge, Peter Alraune, attempted to strike Bushman from behind with a golden dagger from the excavation. Reacting on instinct, Spector warned his commander of the attack. Bushman caught Alraune and tore out his throat with his teeth. Spector was sickened by Bushman and, when he overheard Alraune's last words about his daughter hidden in the village, Spector sought her out. Marlene Alraune accused Spector of killing her father, and he couldn't deny his guilt. Nevertheless, he got her to a jeep and bade her to flee before Bushman caught her.

Bushman saw Marc let the girl go, but he forgave the insubordination since Spector had just saved his life. When Bushman had the rest of the village's men shot in cold blood, however, Spector snapped and punched his leader in the face. Bushman easily beat Spector after this, and had him taken out into the desert to die. For a full day and night, Marc Spector wandered the Sudanese desert until he was nearly dead from exposure and dehydration. Fatefully, his last steps wandered into the Alraune dig site for the tomb, which Marlene had retreated to after she fled. Marlene initially despised Spector as one of the mercenaries responsible for killing her father, but she recognized that he helped her escape and may have suffered his fate because of that. Still, Spector was beyond help and died shortly after arriving at the tomb.

Marc Spector's body lay at the feet of the statue of Khonshu, the Egyptian God of the Moon known as a taker of vengeance. As the light of the moon reflected off the statue onto the man before it, Spector returned to life with a start. Filled with knowledge and purpose, Spector suddenly knew the god Khonshu for what he was, and took up Khonshu's cloak to serve as the moon's knight of vengeance. Spector returned to the village and confronted Bushman, using his newfound drive and fearlessness to bring terror to the terrorist. The remaining villagers were saved, but Bushman fled before Spector could take his vengeance. Marc reunited with Frenchie and Marlene, and they made plans to return to America. [Moon Knight (1st series) #1]