Eric Palicki Returns to Black’s Myth with The Key to His Heart

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Black’s Myth: The Key to His Heart, a new punk rock horror comic from writer Eric Palicki and artist Wendell Cavalcanti, is debuting this month from AHOY Comics. It stars a werewolf PI and a djinn assistant working in Los Angeles’ supernatural underground, and Palicki spoke to Cemetery Dance about its connection with Black’s Myth, his influences, and where people can find out more about his various comics. 

(Interview conducted by Danica Davidson)

CEMETERY DANCE: How is Black’s Myth: The Key to His Heart related to Black’s Myth? Should people read Black’s Myth first or does it matter?cover of Black's Myth: The Key to His Heart #1

ERIC PALICKI: The two volumes inform each other, and I’d be lying if I said the most enriching way to enjoy both these volumes is together, but I took great pains to make sure The Key to His Heart stands on its own for new readers. The first issue is a mostly stand-alone story that will catch up the uninitiated while also introducing new elements that change the status quo moving forward. I think free-standing first issues are important, and it’s something of a lost art. Whether or not you decide to continue reading past #1, I want to deliver a satisfying unit of entertainment for your comics dollar, something Ahoy does well, filling their books with backmatter. 

What do you enjoy about writing horror and noir comics? Did you grow up reading comics?

I discovered comics around sixth grade, roughly around the time of Lee and Claremont’s X-Men #1, the founding of Image Comics, and the Death of Superman, all of which happened within the first two years-and-change I was paying attention. What a crazy time in the medium!

Around that same time I was immersing myself in Stephen King, so I grew up with a rock solid foundation of both comics and horror, but I didn’t think to put them together until much later. Superheroes dominated the comics of my youth, and I didn’t discover books like Sandman or Swamp Thing or Hellblazer until early in my adulthood. At the same time, I was rediscovering Buffy the Vampire Slayer — a show I’d passively watched in high school — and realizing you can use the tropes of horror to drive characters as much as you can to frighten people. 

For me as a writer, it’s all about character, whatever genre I’m working in, but horror is perfect for comics, where someone like Black’s Myth artist Wendell Cavalcanti can delight in drawing big monsters. It’s a pleasure to give him the basic gist of something and see him work his magic. In addition to Black’s Myth, I recommend readers check out his take on the Lovecraftian Deep Ones in our previous collaboration, Atlantis Wasn’t Built for Tourists.

What would you like readers to take away from Black’s Myth: The Key to His Heart?

The main theme of The Key to His Heart is that even good intentions can spiral out of control if you’re not paying attention. We’re introducing quite a lot of chaos into poor Strummer Mercado’s life in this second volume. It’s going to be fun for the readers, not so much for Strummer.

AHOY Comics mixes horror and humor. How do you approach writing in this style?

It’s a tightrope. I know Black’s Myth has the dubious distinction of being AHOY’s least funny book, but I think the book still has a distinct sense of humor. Buffy was a formative influence, as I’ve said, but the characters could cut the tension with a quippy one-liner. I think we manage that here, largely thanks to Ben Si’Lat, Strummer’s partner.

What are the influences for your work?

These days, I’m re-reading Harlan Ellison’s entire library, as well as the comics of Kyle Baker, who weaves comedy into character-driven stories better than just about anyone in the medium. Stephen King. H.P. Lovecraft, although I don’t have much time for his racist xenophobia and I think writers like Laird Barron write better Lovecraftian horror than the man himself. 

I won’t deny the influence of Joss Whedon and Warren Ellis, but I’ve been making a conscious effort to find other more diverse voices to fold into my own work.

Where can people find out more about you and your other comics?

I maintain a somewhat ramshackle website at, and I’m active on social media @ericpalicki. 

Thank you so much!

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