Son to a former, washed up mayor of Manhattan, Carson Knowles was a Vietnam war veteran that had just returned to his home. Upon return he found out no one wanted him back, the job he used to work at had replaced him because of his tenure with the military and any job he applied for turned him down. Eventually, his wife left him and his son died in a gang war. Without a job and no support for his desires to become mayor, Carson was pushed over the edge becaming inspired by the vigilante actions of Moon Knight. Calling himself the Black Spectre, however, Carson did not have heroic ambitions, but rather decided to become a criminal himself, black-mailing political officials to strengthen his candidacy for mayor of New York City. Black Spectre's plans were eventually foiled by Moon Knight and Carson ended up in jail.
Black Spectre would return again under the service of the Dark Lord of Chaos, Set, in hopes he would make him mayor of New York City, an achievement he had yet to accomplish. Along with Set he partnered with Bushman and Morpheus to take down a reborn Moon Knight, the avatar of Set's nemesis Khonshu and start an all out war and bring chaos upon the world. To accomplish this they attack an assembly of U.N. officials, with the help of Scarlet Fasinera, Moon Knight was able to defeat Carson yet again and bring him to justice, along with Morpheus and Bushman.
Upon his release, Carson was able to get a job working as a subway maintenance worker. His life was anything but pleasant. His co-workers egged him on for being a costumed criminal. His parole officer was shady himself and extorted money from him with the threat of having him sent back to prison. Carson Knowles was a powder keg waiting to explode. Feeling that Marc Spector had stolen his life away from him, Spectre framed Moon Knight for various murders by carving crescent moons into his murder victims. This brings Moon Knight into conflict with Tony Stark and the Super Human Registration Act. While under suspicion Tony forbade Moon Knight from engaging in his vigilantism. However, when Black Spectre comes into possession of weaponised StarkTech nanites capable of controlling people and turning them into mindless drones, Moon Knight pushed the insane Spectre off of a roof on national television killing him.