Following their eerie adventures in the Black's Myth comic book miniseries that debuted in 2021, werewolf private investigator Janie Jones “Strummer” Mercado and her djinn roommate Ben Si’lat are back for more supernatural sleuthing in Los Angeles in Black's Myth: The Key to His Heart. Collecting all five issues of Strummer and Ben's latest paranormal investigation, the trade paperback of Black's Myth: The Key to His Heart will be released by AHOY Comics on February 14th (making it the perfect Valentine's Day gift for the horror lover in your life), and we caught up with writer Eric Palicki to reflect on Strummer's journey thus far, what goodies readers can look forward to in the new trade paperback, and his hopes to continue teaming up with artists Wendell Cavalcanti and Liana Kangas to complete the Black's Myth trilogy in future issues.

You can read our full Q&A with Eric Palicki below, and visit AHOY Comics' website to keep up to date on all of their exciting releases!

Thank you for taking the time to answer questions for us, Eric, and congratulations on the February 14th trade paperback publication of Black’s Myth: The Key to His Heart, which collects all five issues of the latest adventure featuring werewolf PI Janie Jones “Strummer” Mercado and her djinn roommate Ben Si’lat! What does it feel like to have another trade paperback volume of Black’s Myth hitting shelves after the first trade paperback release back in 2022?

Eric Palicki: Black’s Myth occupies such a unique space in the comics landscape: a black-and-white supernatural noir mystery with a sense of humor. The positive response to both volumes has been overwhelming, and I confess I didn’t see it coming. I wrote the first volume with a fairly definitive ending, never expecting the opportunity to revisit these characters in this market. I’m so happy Strummer and company have found an audience.

Readers are in for a treat with The Key to His Heart, as you really build upon the world you established in the first volume by further fleshing out these beloved characters all while introducing new faces and cranking up the tension tenfold. How important was it for you to raise the stakes even higher this time around for Strummer, Ben, and friends?

Eric Palicki: The first volume ended on a high note for Strummer, leaving her with a burgeoning romance, renewed interest in her detective agency, and finally having grown comfortable with herself and her place in LA’s supernatural landscape.

But, this is noir detective fiction, a genre not particularly known for its happy endings. Of course we were bound to upset the apple cart, and we did so by revealing to Strummer, and the audience, just how fragile a balance she’d found. And we see just how far Strummer has come by seeing how she reacts when everything starts to fall apart around her.

Having spent more time in the world of Black’s Myth during this story arc, are there any new discoveries that you’ve made about these characters and this story that have surprised you as you’ve been writing?

Eric Palicki: Great question! There’s a bit of deception on the part of Ben to close out the first chapter of our new volume, and it surprised me somewhat. He’s always viewed himself as the angel on Strummer’s shoulder, her Jiminy Cricket, but I didn’t know he could lie to protect her.

Are there any special features that readers can look forward to finding within the pages of the trade paperback release of Black’s Myth: The Key to His Heart?

Eric Palicki: The backmatter for the book includes a look inside interior artist Wendell Cavalcanti’s sketchbook—everything from page layouts to character studies and cheeky art he made "just for fun"—as well as some previously unseen original art by cover artist Liana Kangas and my good friend Sean Von Gorman. On top of all that, legendary writer and Black Lightning creator Tony Isabella wrote a hell of an introduction to this volume.

Ultimately, what do you hope readers take away from Black’s Myth: The Key to His Heart?

Eric Palicki: The first volume is about finding your place in this world. This one is about finding the strength to hold onto it.

The Key to His Heart certainly ends on quite the cliffhanger, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. Do you have plans to reteam with artist Wendell Cavalcanti and cover artist Liana Kangas to continue the Black’s Myth story in a third arc?

Eric Palicki: This volume is very much Strummer’s Empire Strikes Back, and it would be a shame if we couldn’t bring the trilogy to a close. Ultimately, though, that’s up to the readers. If enough of you pick up the trade and let AHOY know you’d like to see more, they won’t have a choice but to green-light another volume. Wendell and Liana and I are ready to go!

What has it been like to continue working with AHOY Comics as you prepare to release the trade paperback of Black’s Myth: The Key to His Heart into the world?

Eric Palicki: I can’t say enough good things about the AHOY experience. The past year has seen the #ComicsBrokeMe hashtag and other stories about bad experiences in this industry, so it’s nice to know there’s a publisher out there that responds to emails, pays creators on time, prioritizes making good comics over cynical IP farming, and just generally operates with integrity. Am I laying it on too thick? Maybe, but I mean every word of it. Thanks to Hart, Sarah, Tom, Stuart, and the rest of the AHOY staff for making this the best experience I’ve had in comics, and it’s not even close.

With the trade paperback of Black’s Myth: The Key to His Heart coming out on February 14th (Valentine’s Day, which seems rather fitting considering the title), do you have any other upcoming projects that you can tease?

Eric Palicki: As a writer, not much I’m ready to talk about yet, alas, but as an editor, I’m pleased to be working with Evan Carothers at Wolven Press on the latest volume of horror comics in his Mixology Noir series. The second volume is funding on Kickstarter now.

Thank you for your time, Eric! 

Eric Palicki: Thank you!



(W) Eric Palicki
(A) Wendell Cavalcanti
COVER: Liana Kangas

A stylish noir tale featuring Janie “Strummer” Mercado, L.A.’s ONLY werewolf private investigator! Strummer tries to prevent a young girl from becoming a monster with the aid of her suave djinn assistant Ben Si’lat. But will Strummer gain an intern instead? And why is an old enemy sending mysterious packages to her house? “Werewolves and detective stories—two great tastes that go great together.” -IGN. Collects issues 1-5 of Black's Myth: The Key to His Heart.

February 14, 2024

Cover Art by Liana Kangas:

  • Derek Anderson
    About the Author - Derek Anderson

    Raised on a steady diet of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books and Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Derek has been fascinated with fear since he first saw ForeverWare being used on an episode of Eerie, Indiana.

    When he’s not writing about horror as the Senior News Reporter for Daily Dead, Derek can be found daydreaming about the Santa Carla Boardwalk from The Lost Boys or reading Stephen King and Brian Keene novels.