Writer: Eric Palicki
Illustrator: Wendell Cavalcanti
Publisher: AHOY Comics
WHAT IS IT?
A werewolf P.I. and her djinn assistant drink some liquor after someone tries to murder her. The hunt is on for "Strummer" Jones in this horror crime noir tale set in L.A.
Black's Myth #1 marries the supernatural genre of American Werewolf in London with the hard-boiled crime sensibilities of The Maltese Falcon.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
On an undercover stakeout for a client, private investigator Janie Jones “Strummer” Mercado (named after Clash musician Joe Strummer) ends up bleeding on the ground of an L.A. street. Strummer knows two facts about the attempted assassination: She was specifically targeted in broad daylight and the killer had loaded his gun with silver bullets. Unfortunately for Strummer, she's a werewolf, and silver bullets aren't exactly a werewolf's best friend.
Strummer's right-hand-man Ben Si'Lat, a half-djinn flaunting undeniable charm and deadly tricks up his sleeves, attempts to sniff out the murderous culprit himself while Strummer recovers. The detectives uncover secrets dealing with the supernatural under the urban streets of L.A. Luckily for Hollywood, the city has two supernatural P.I.s on the case.
Can Strummer and Ben find connections to Strummer's hitman? What's the story behind the silver bullets?
Eric Palicki yokes together urban horror, supernatural tropes, and the noir detective genre to tell Strummer's story. The results show Palicki possesses a consummate skill for blending disparate ideas to generate intrigue for a broad reading audience.
Wendell Cavalcanti's inks are thick when characters appear in panels. The broad strokes feel rough, embodying the grit associated with the comics' noir atmosphere.
In contrast, Cavalcanti's stippling techniques create gradients, or sparse lines outline backgrounds to indicate the idea of shapes and the L.A. setting. The characters spearhead the narrative's direction here, and Cavalcanti's illustrations prioritize them.
Rob Steen's lettering is always crystalline and concise. Steen divvies up sentences between connecting speech balloons for added emphasis on dialogue, or frames the italicized words inside Strummer's caption boxes sensibly within panels.
Black's Myth #1 opens on a black-and-white splash page that sets the tone for the narrative's entirety. Readers meet Strummer from an overhead angle, in medias res through internal dialogue, brandishing a knife in a bathtub.
The opening pages are direct, like an introduction to a noir film through voiceover exposition. A reader can immediately latch onto the alluring spirit of the "whodunnit" tale awaiting inside.
Gray tones shadowing the black-and-white color palette lean further into the noir aesthetic. Cavalcanti's imagery produces a roughness black-and-white colors can achieve so intensely.
9-panel or 6-panel grid page layouts consistently repeat in Black's Myth, reminiscing older comic books centered around a detective theme. Repetition increases the drama when sudden splash pages break the pattern.
Palicki nails both Strummer and Ben's characterization. Their brash personalities play off one another through banter, but their deep-rooted care for one another comes across powerfully.
Black's Myth #1 holds a bevy of surprises I can't talk about here within its pages, but be prepared for supernatural antics and illustrations that will leave your jaw hanging!
Both prose stories in the back accentuate Black’s Myth #1’s themes. “The Sil” by Vickie Smalls is a fun exploration of a supernatural relationship, while “Contactless“ by William Brashears hilariously emphasizes the multifaceted nature of human interactions.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
Content Warning: Adult language and dialogue are prevalent in Black's Myth #1. There's a mild sex scene, gore, and murder involved as well, so older teenagers/adults would be the target audience here.
The mystery of the shooting and silver bullets lead Strummer and Ben on individual quests to find clues. These pages can lead to confusion, because readers are only just learning about Strummer and Ben's powers and how they affect their detective work.
At one point, Ben enters a car and clarifies that he is "half-djinn" to the driver. On the previous page, Strummer's internal dialogue explains to readers that Ben is a half-djinn as well. This response appears unprovoked, yet also seems like Ben is replying to Strummer's internal caption. Either Ben is trying to scare the driver or Palicki is emphasizing the point, which feels out of place and/or repetitious.
On the last panel, a huge revelation occurs. This information was offered in certain solicit information/interviews, so it may be in a readers' best interest to go into this comic blind.
I recommend reading Black's Myth #1 twice. There's a lot of information packed into a regular-sized first issue that can be hard to digest as a new reader.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
In an Eric Palicki interview I read, he relays a Joe Strummer quote: "Without people, you're nothing." The relationship between our two main characters, Strummer and Ben, is seminal to the narrative trajectory of this comic. Black's Myth #1 places a female/male friendship between a couple supernatural P.I.s at the focal point. Readers glimpse the extent of Strummer and Ben's powers individually; however, their teamwork dynamic evidences as the onus of their successes in the field.
I can honestly admit I was not expecting such a character-driven story granting equal focus to both the supernatural and human side of Strummer and Ben. And the results are enticing. Black's Myth #1 isn't a perfect first issue, but there's an abundance of mystery and character intrigue that will keep people coming back for more punk rock, werewolf galore!
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Atlantis Wasn't Built For Tourists by Eric Palicki & Wendell Cavalcanti
No Angel by Eric Palicki, Adrianne Palicki, & Ari Syahraza
Ash & Thorn by Mariah McCourt & Soo Lee
If you like the art:
BlackAcre by Duffy Boudreau, Antonio Fabela, & Wendell Cavalcanti
Black Cotton by Patrick Foreman, Brian Hawkins, & Marco Perugini
Batman: Black & White Vol. 1 by Various
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Eric Palicki – Writer (@ericpalicki)
Eric has works as both writer and editor. He has been making comics for more than ten years, writing for publishers like Black Mask Studios, Marvel Comics, Darby Pop Publishing, Ahoy Comics, Dark Horse, A Wave Blue World, and more.
Dream Team: Palicki previously worked with artist Wendell Cavalcanti on Atlantis Wasn't Built for Tourists from Scout Comics.
Award Winner: Eric's work on titles as an editor have been featured in the New York Times and nominated for a Ringo Award.
Wendell Cavalcanti – Illustrator (@wendell_cs47)
Wendell is a comic book illustrator for titles such as Atlantis Wasn't Built For Tourists from Scout Comics and BlackAcre from Image Comics.
Outlander: He currently lives in Natal, Brazil.
Wendell is a fan of music. His favorite genres include Rock, Manguebeat, and Reggae.
Rob Steen – Letterer
Rob is the resident letterer at AHOY Comics. You can’t pick up an AHOY issue without finding his name!
Prolific: He has lettered for all major comic book companies like Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Image, Valiant, to name a few.
Award Winner: Rob illustrated a children’s book series called Flanimals, written by Ricky Gervais. They won the Galaxy British Book Award in 2007 for Children’s Book of the Year.
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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All Black's Myth characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright Eric Palicki & Wendell Cavalcanti or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED