SLOTS is a new series coming out this October by artist/writer Dan Panosian and publisher Skybound Entertainment. It is Panosian’s first attempt at writing a series along with taking over both art and writing responsibilities for a story.

SLOTS follows the story of former boxer Stanley Dance as he returns to Las Vegas, how much it has changed and how superstition can change the course of events. 

ComicsVerse: What can you tell me about SLOTS? Where did it all come from?

Dan: I liked the idea of the way Las Vegas is changing as a city. I was thinking how old-school Vegas would interact with the new Vegas. How people change and so do cities.  But not always at the same pace.

It’s a story about redemption.  About how we try to change but sometimes we can’t.  There are no heroes in this story.  I find that refreshing.

CV: What were some of the influences for writing the book?

Dan: I grew up reading a lot of Miller and Azzarello.  I also love John Steinbeck, he wrote TORTILLA FLATS for example, and that’s one of my favorite books. Interestingly, there are no real heroes in that book either.  Not that I would compare my work to his, but I really enjoy that humanistic approach.

CV: Some of your work does seem very inspired by Sean Murphy as well.

Dan: Maybe because he also likes all the zipatone and the same anchors like Zaffino and Klaus Janson.  Sean is a great guy, very talented.

Dan Panosian
Image courtesy of Skybound Entertainment

CV: Do any of the characters come from anyone you know or admire?

Dan: Oh yeah, almost everyone is loosely based on someone I know. Practically, every page has some sort of Easter Egg or a little thing you can find. The names of the casinos are based on friends of mine I grew up with. My father was a boxer from Cleveland, so I have a connection to the boxing aspect of Stanley Dance.

CV: Was your dad a major influence on the book?

Dan: Yeah, and he was also a big comic book fan as well. When he was younger, he was a boxer, and after that, he worked in advertising. He always wanted to do a comic strip or book, so he was a big reason I started drawing. In a way, everyone really wants to impress their dad. I wanted to make him proud; he loved all that stuff, so I even tried boxing when I was younger.

Slots is great because I get to merge what I love, boxing and the comic book world. In a big way this is for him even though he’s not here, I think it would make him really proud and happy. Maybe not the cursing and ‘not safe for work’ aspects. He was kind of a straight-laced guy from the depression era and he would kick my ass for that. I have a son now myself, and It’s just amazing how much my dad still influences my life.

CV: How long have you been working on the book? You did the writing and art for the whole book correct?

Dan: I’ve been working on it for close to two years now. Doing all writing and art duties for it has been quite an investment of time.

CV: Any plans for a sequel or follow up to the story?

Dan: We already have an idea for the second and third books, or arcs rather. That’s up to Skybound though, this first one is a complete story but the end definitely leads into the next story.

Dan Panosian
Image courtesy of Skybound Entertainment

CV: Any other projects that you’re working on right now? Books or series?

Dan: Just the one, there are always offers from MARVEL and DC. I keep busy working on covers for various publishers.

CV: Can you name any notable reads you’re currently tearing through?

Dan: I like MOONSHINE a lot, Azzarello, and Eduardo Risso. One of my favorites right now that I’m really into.

CV: Do you connect with these creators that you look up to so much?

Dan: We’re all good friends within the business. Jimmy Palmiotti, I’ve known since we were kids and we both got into the business pretty young.  It’s been inspirational to watch him evolve from an inker into a marquee writer.

CV: If you could work on a book now, DC or MARVEL or anything, what would you choose?

Dan: Honestly, doing books like this (SLOTS). There isn’t one page that I don’t enjoy drawing or writing. What’s funny is if I got a script from a writer and there are 16 panels on the page, I would want to blow my brains out haha but on here there are 16 panels on a page, and I’m like whoa this is great what a challenge.

CV: What can you tell me about your writing process?

Dan: I work a lot along the lines of the Marvel Method. Plot first, then the drawing and later the scripting. So, write a couple of paragraphs for one page and then go panel by panel and draw it out. I don’t do any scripting until all the art is finished. I didn’t even script issue one until the art for issue six was finished. There are some lines here and there with a little dialogue to keep it loose and open. I want to look at their faces to see what their emoting. The pacing as well, I want to make sure the narrative matches the pacing.

Dan Panosian
Image Courtesy of Skybound Entertainment

CV: How does this differ working with DC or Marvel?

Dan: This is the first time I’ve written an entire series. Luckily, Sean Mackiewicz from Skybound and Ariel are amazing to work with. Nothing negative about the experience at all. I was originally going to letter the book too.  There’s a font that Richard Starkings created based on my handwriting, and I was going to use that.

They got Pat Brosseau to do the lettering and for that I’m grateful.  The special effect lettering, things like “bam!” and “smash!” I did right on the board.  That was a lot of fun!

Dan Panosian
Image Courtesy of Skybound Entertainment

CV: Were you also part of the LOGAN movie?

Dan: I did all the fake comic books in LOGAN.

CV: How did all that come about and did you do anything else for the movie?

Dan: Gabriel Harden did the storyboards for the movie and they also wanted him to do the artwork, but he had his hands full. They wanted the comics to resemble ones from the 90s really, and late 80’s that Claremont era. I love that retro stuff, and they asked me to jump on. It was a very loose operation there, no one really knew too much about that era of comics.

I was able to work with the prop guy there, and Joe Quesada penciled an interior story which I did finishes on. Joe’s such a brilliant artist who makes it seems so easy.  I got to ink, color, and letter the book. I did another story in it that I wrote and drew so if they thumb through it would be filled up. I also did some phony ads; my wife is in one, Josh Barnett he’s a friend of mine and UFC champion.

Marvel called once the movie was out asking if we got permission to use those issues thinking that they were real books. Even fans online in forms saying, “Oh yeah, I have that issue;” which was insane since they never existed. That was probably the greatest compliment, having Marvel question if they were actual Marvel comics.

CV: Any other projects you want to give fans a head up on?

Dan: No other projects like that, other than my book and covers, but I am designing a video game app that will be launching soon, so keep an eye out for Cape City.

It was an honor interviewing artist/writer Dan Panosian!

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