Tito W. James: What are your thoughts on FanExpo Boston?
Declan Shalvey: It’s great! I haven’t been to a FanExpo show before. I was at a convention in Boston six or seven years ago when I was just starting out. My career has changed a lot since that time. Everyone seems to have liked Moon Knight and thanked me for doing the book.
TWJ: I also really liked your work on Moon Knight.
DS: Oh God, enough already!
TWJ: What do you think would be essential for a live-action adaption of Moon Knight?
DS: I think something like Moon Knight would work better in episodic format. Especially the run we did. To me, they were six stand-alone stories. Every single issue was something different. That’s why I think an episodic format would work well.
And I mean it’s just a guy in a white suit for most of it so it would be pretty cheap to film. But it also has to be weird, so that’s where things would probably get more expensive. I’m a fan of Marvel’s Netflix shows like Daredevil, Punisher, and Jessica Jones. I’d love to see Moon Knight in that world.
TWJ: The chapter titled “Scarlet” is essentially one long fight scene where Moon Knight ascends to the top of a building. Well-choreographed fight scenes are hard to come by in comics. Can you tell me what that process was like in terms of planning and scripting?
DS: It’s funny, when we were working on Moon Knight, at one stage I was thinking “I’d love to do an issue that’s just one long fight sequence.” And that very day, Warren emailed me and asked, “How do you feel about doing an issue that’s just one long fight sequence?”
I think what makes a good fight scene is clarity and geography. We see in film that there are a lot of jump-cuts and you can’t see what’s happening. I don’t find that it grabs you in the same way that The Raid did– where it’s just two guys fighting and you can see everything. It’s more enthralling because it puts you right there into the story.
With comics, fight scenes are different because you don’t have “time,” you have real estate. You have panels and pages and you have to work out what can fit within this very limited space. Warren scripted how everything was going to fit in panel-wise and the sequence worked visually. Not every writer is good at that.
I’m working on something at the moment where the writer is letting me do what I want in terms of the fight scenes. I chose not to go nuts. I just kept it clear and figured out the sequence. I didn’t go wild with breaking panel-borders or use extreme foreshortening. That stuff doesn’t really grab me even if it does look cool on a page sometimes.
TWJ: It’s interesting that you say that, because another thing that was cool about the long fight sequence in Moon Knight was how casual he was when throwing his moon crescents. It’s just a two fingered flick as opposed to a full-arm boomerang toss.
DS: Moon Knight starts as just this guy in a suit strutting around the place, so the smaller the action the better. That why when things get more brawly he takes off the jacket. As I remember, Warren scripted that Moon Knight took off his tie to deflect a dude and I asked if he could take off his jacket because I liked the visual of his skin against the gloves and this nice waistcoat. I just wanted him to look classy.
Drawing a splash page of Moon Knight in a cool pose punching someone wouldn’t work for me. Whereas this [points to a print of the image below] is more about the damage he does than a cool-looking pose. Moon Knight is different than Wolverine.
I hope I’m not just blabbing at this point…
TWJ: No, this is good stuff.
DS: Oh, good. I don’t just want to be talking out of my arse.
A lot of people tell me that “Scarlet” is their favorite Moon Knight story; it’s definitely my favorite. There’s other stories in that run that are more illustratively impressive, like the dream sequence.
TWJ: I think that’s my favorite.
DS: Yeah, that was a lot more work from a technical and design standpoint. But with the fight, the hardest thing wasn’t drawing it, it was trying to find the best way to make that story work visually. Comedy and fight scenes are difficult in comics, because it’s all about timing. Nailing down the pacing of that sequence was tough. But once I did, it just flowed.
I’d like to thank Declan Shalvey for taking the time for this lengthy interview. His work on Moon Knight, Injection, and his creator-owned Savage Town are available now.
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