In an exclusive interview with Villain Media, writer Eric Palicki talks about Black’s Myth: The Key To His Heart #1 (AHOY Comics). Werewolf PI Janie Jones “Strummer” Mercado and her charming djinn assistant Ben Si’lat return to solve crimes in Los Angeles.

The Plot: “In her latest case, werewolf private eye Janie Jones “Strummer” Mercado 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?” 

Before the first issue hits stores on June 21, 2022, Palicki opens up about the continuation of Black’s Myth, working with artist Wendell Cavalcanti, and what readers should expect. Join us as we head off to the writer’s studio to discuss the craft of storytelling.

Villain Media: Tell me how Black’s Myth came about.

Eric Palicki: The idea gestated for a long time and came from several separate ideas that were not quite stories on their own: A werewolf private detective using her enhanced senses to give her an advantage, a big game hunter who hunts mythical creatures and happens to stop apocalypses as a result, thirty silver bullets made from Judas’ biblical reward. I had all of these concepts in my back pocket, just waiting for the right story to use them.

Then, I watched The Maltese Falcon and thought adding monsters would make the movie even better, at which point everything clicked, and Black’s Myth came to be.

VM: Tell me about the relationship between werewolf PI Janie Jones “Strummer” Mercado and her djinn assistant Ben Si’lat.

EP: Ben will be quick to tell you he’s only half djinn, and like Strummer, he feels conflicted between the two worlds he inhabits. They share that in common, and it’s a joy to write about a platonic male/female friendship at a time when everyone expects “will they or won’t they?” romantic tension.

VM: Tell me about the challenges of combining two very different genres: horror and noir.

EP: The secret is, these are not altogether so different. There’s an essential darkness in either case. Whether it’s internal to the human psyche or from external supernatural source, I think we’re exploring the human–or “human” in the case of our werewolves and djinn and et cetera–reactions to it; where it’s coming from is just window dressing.

VM: Tell me about working with artist Wendell Cavalcanti.

EP: It’s a dream. I’ve had the privilege of working with Wendell for over a decade by now, both on Black’s Myth and Atlantis Built for Tourists, as well as on countless pitches and short stories folks have never seen. Our process is totally organic by now, and I hope we can keep making comics–specifically Black’s Myth, if fate allows–forever.

VM: How did Black’s Myth change you as a storyteller?

EP: Well, I have a few more gray hairs, but I don’t think that’s what you meant. I think I’ve learned to focus more on character over spectacle, and I hope that translates to better stories.

VM: What are you working on now?

EP: I’m wrapping up Black’s Myth and Toxx (from Blood Moon) and a few pitches and projects I can’t talk about. More to come, I hope! Readers can follow me @ericpalicki on social media for announcements as they come!

Black’s Myth: The Key To His Heart #1 arrives in stores on June 21, 2023.