Comics Tuesday: Moon Knight #31

Moon Knight Vol 1, Number 31, May 1983: A Box of Music for Savage Studs

 In my last post, I asked the question “What is obscure?” and I think that Moon Knight qualifies as obscure. He’s known, but in my opinion, he’s not as well known as, say, Luke Cage. Yeah Moon Knight. I just said you aren’t as popular as Luke Cage. What are you going to do about it?

In this issue of Moon Knight, our hero faces off with a gang of street thugs known as The Studs. You see, The Studs are the laughing stock of the world of gangs. But, they’re going to show everyone: they’re gonna get enough money to throw a dance with a live band, and then no one will laugh as The Studs walk by. Of course, they are going to extort money from the business owners on Dough Row.

However, Dough Row, situated in what i assumed to be the Bronx, isn’t filled with as much dough as it used to be. The businesses are on the verge of Bankruptcy and the pickings are slim. The business that is thriving: A pawn shop owned by a man of Jewish descent. At this time all we learn about the Pawnbroker is that he is Jewish, and he recognizes Lenny, a high ranking member of the gang. 

The Studs’ attempt at getting money from the Pawnbroker when Moon Knight shows up. Seems like he was tipped off by some kids that there was going to be trouble. He comes in and kicks ass. The whole gang runs, leaving Lenny at Moon Knight’s mercy. Moon Knight tries to convince Lenny not to stay on with the gang, but Lenny refuses, as its the only way he can get money. Moon Knight lets Lenny go, but not before Lenny drops the Pawnbroker’s name: Lewis.

Moon Knight returns to the neighborhood and finds the merchants arming themselves with axe handles from the hardware store. He discourages the merchants’ course of action, but Lewis defies Moon Knight, pointing out the flaw in Moon Knight’s plan.

Moon Knight: Police take a dim view of vigilantes…

Lewis: Do you not take the law into your own hands… telling us to sit still and be polite little victims.

Moon Knight: “That’s different – I…uh…I know what I’m DOING.”

With Moon Knight’s debating skills questionable at best, he resorts to saying that they’ll all have to go through him first. For a moment, I imagined all these middle-aged and older men beating the holy Hell out of Moon Knight, but they eventually stood down.

We follow Lenny home where his mom is playing a music box that she bought when Lenny was a child. We see where this is going and he snatches the thing while she sleeps. You see, The Studs were planning to go back to the Pawn Shop and break in, but Lenny wants to do things the right way: he tries to pawn the music box.

Lewis refuses to take it, telling Lenny that he doesn’t want to buy people’s dreams with just a few cheap dollars anymore. He’s tired of being responsible for changing dreams into trash for money. This is when Lenny reveals that Lewis might have been his father.

What? The sentance reads in a funny way. Was Lewis Lenny’s father, or was he just old enough to be Lenny’s father? These are the questions of our time.

Lewis eventually relents, allowing Lenny to pawn the music box. When Lenny returns home, his mother is in tears. Someone stole the music box and she’s very upset. Lenny says he knows who did it, and that he’s going to get it back. The story ends with Lenny walking to the pawn shop, the scene dran with a view of Lenny’s leather jacket that has a skull on it and the words Savage Studs.

Overall, this was a much better comic than I imagined it would be. 80’s silliness aside (A gang that wants to throw a dance? Is this Breakin’?), it created several compelling little scenes. Inner city turmoil, what makes a super-hero vigilante better than some Joe on the street vigilante, and a swerve ending all work together to make something that was actually a pleasure to read.

 Oh yes. And Moon Knight never fights with a spirit that was locked inside of a music box.

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About harrylthompsonjr

I'm a writer, a photographer, and a lover of role playing games. I've moved my blog to wordpress in hopes of actually getting some feedback. We'll see :)
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6 Responses to Comics Tuesday: Moon Knight #31

  1. Robyn says:

    They want to throw a dance. With a live band.

    Ah, 80s gangs. Those crazy, mixed up kids of the street…

  2. ~m says:

    lol, epic cover appropriateness fail!
    They tried to sum it all up in a poetic way,
    and instead created unfair expectations in poor Harry’s fevered imagination 😦
    Thanks a lot, editors!

    but ahh, wonderful, weird, unstable Moon Knight! ^^
    –where mystique meets “no, wait…what??”
    Obscure indeed, with a capital O, lol!

    I think, maybe, it’s partly because he’s somewhat hard to get a handle on.
    Like, regardless of complex storylines and changing writers,
    it’s not at all that hard to sum up, say, Superman or Wolverine, right?
    It’s not that hard to explain what they ARE.
    You can give your Grandma a decent grasp of the basic character in five minutes.
    Batman can be lighter or darker, but he’s still more or less the same character.

    But, depending on what or when you’re reading, Moon Knight is all over the freaking place, sometimes even switching between different personalities and maybe unable to tell you what’s real.
    It’s a spin-art painting of Khonsu and elder-god descended werewolves and PTSD:
    Just avenger, agent of a God,
    crazy guy riddled with guilt,
    superpowers, no superpowers, totally different personalities switching around under the white hood.
    He’s kinda Batman, or kinda Ironman,
    kinda Spiderman,
    or kinda Deadpool,
    or kinda-sorta Spawn,
    …and, like the cherry on the Sundae,
    he sometimes has a kinda-sorta-side-kick named, of all things, “Frenchie”.

    No wonder he doesn’t have a big following. It can be impressive in its complexity, but it’s hard to just jump in and learn anything that’s going to remain applicable throughout his run!

  3. ~m says:

    btw, just to clarify–
    I did NOT mean they succeeded in making a cover that summed it all up poetically, lol.
    That is crap.
    The music box is not even a symbol of anything Moon Knight struggles with in the story! 😡
    What, Moon Knight is choked by the fragile dreams of the inner city poor?

    That’s just 100% “oh, but you know what would sell issues! we’ll BS it as poetic license” suck.

  4. ~m says:

    haha, I keep remembering things I meant to say and stepping back to the comp from making dinner. I’m so sorry, Harry!
    Last P.S., I promise:

    You make the serious parts of the story sound quite good, but
    even the cheesy 80’s bits and pieces are fabulous in a camp way.
    the “Savage Studs” want to prove their street cred –by throwing a dance with a real live band.

    8)
    I relish every part of that statement.

  5. ~m says:

    Damnit. Moon Knight IS fighting problems caused by the fragile dreams of the inner city poor, isn’t he?
    I so do not want to admit that that cover could be in any way justifiable! 😡

    uhm, also, I lied about not posting again.
    I’m really going now!
    *hurries off to finish dicing up an avocado*

    • harrylthompsonjr says:

      I totally agree with you about the confusing nature of Moon Knight. Depending on what issue you read, he might be Batman or he might be Spawn, but he definately doesn’t know who he is. What Moon Knight needs is focus. One should be able to sum up a superhero in a sentance, and you need pages upon pages to descibe Moon Knight.

      The Cover: I never really considered the possibility that it was a poetic way of looking at the story. For the last 27 years or so, I’ve just been so disappointed that there was no malevolent ghost trapped inside the music box.

      I remember the first time I thumbed through the comic. I tossed it aside; moon Knight just fights dudes in it. Not only does he just fight dudes, he talks an awful lot. Ah, to be 6 or 7 again 🙂

      Well, since then, the comic has haunted my boxes unread. I figured it was time to change that. I also thought that writing reviews/summaries for all these old books would be a fine way to start enjoying what I all ready have for comics rather than going out to buy new ones.

      ~H

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