Artist Dan Panosian knows superheroes, from his recent covers for Daredevil to his work on The Amazing Spider-Man: The Spider-Man Secret!, which all amount to proving he can visualize a story. There’s something exciting about artists taking on writing and Panosian takes on those duties with Slots, a new series from Image Comics. He’s also the creator, setting the story in Las Vegas and focusing on an ex-boxer who’s run out of luck. AiPT! spoke to Panosian about the upcoming series out October 4, and the conversation ranged from the story to boxing and more!
AiPT!: There’s a lot going on with the protagonist in Slots. What inspired the character and premise of your story?
Dan Panosian: Everyone has been faced with doing the right thing and perhaps the more wrong – but fun – thing. In life, we’re always wondering, “what if I rolled the dice differently…” Stanley always listened to the devil on his shoulder and not the angel. Now he’s older and he’s left with nothing. What happens then? Is there any coming back at that point? He’s a true underdog.
AiPT!: I’m a sucker for artists who utilize Ben-Day Dots to add texture. How do you approach this aspect of the art?
Panosian: I used to lay down Ben-Day or Zip-A-Tone by hand. I loved it. All those old black-and-white comic book magazine-formatted stories had a real affect on me. The comic books I grew up on really utilized Zip. I just love that feel. I think it’s making a comeback – but I never stopped using it throughout my art career. I ink my work traditionally but apply the Zip digitally. And believe me, if they still made it- I would forgo the digital process altogether.
AiPT!: Having inked and drawn comics from scripts by other creators, how has approaching Slots been different, as you’re creating, writing and drawing the series?
Panosian: I’ll sometimes write a 16-panel page… If I saw a page like that in a script from another writer I would be cursing. With Slots, there isn’t a single page that I haven’t truly enjoyed drawing. It’s heaven.
AiPT!: Are you looking to make an ongoing series out of Slots or will it be a limited run?
Panosian: That really depends on the fan response. I have two more story arcs lined up and ready to go. I love these characters and love this world. As it is, the series stands alone nicely.
AiPT!: If a dream director was chosen to film a Slots movie (or maybe it’d be a TV show?) who would it be and why?
Panosian: Andrew Dominik directed Killing Them Softly and I love that film. It’s gritty, feels real but still, manages to have a distinct sense of humor. After seeing that movie I stopped working for about a week. I’ve always wanted to direct – but after seeing that film I needed to regroup. He made the movie I always wanted to make. All too often crime in movies and TV is glamourized. Comic books kinda saved me from going down a bad path in life and there’s nothing glamorous about it. But there is something that pulls you in. Capturing that is no easy feat. Dominik pulled it off beautifully.
AiPT!: What’s your favorite method of procrastination? Temptation? Vice?
Panosian: It’s so hard in general, with life going and working out of a studio in your home, to get a good pace going. But as far as vices and temptations go, I’d say I’m a sucker for MMA and boxing on Reddit. Watching fight clips and interviews.
AiPT!: MMA and boxing, well then, who were you rooting for in the Mayweather-McGregor fight and were you surprised by the result?
Panosian: I was surprised a bit. I thought Mayweather would TKO McGregor in the sixth round. I honestly wasn’t rooting for either of them, which is rare. I was just hoping it would be somewhat competitive. Early on, McGregor gave him a bit of trouble – nothing too crazy – but it was enough to keep the fight going and he was winning on points. Later on, Mayweather had him figured out and he was gassed. So it was easy pickings. But it was very entertaining. Both can walk out very proud.
AiPT!: Have you ever boxed or done any mixed martial arts before? The sports seem similar to comics when you’re writing, creating and drawing your own book since it’s you against the world!
Panosian: My father was an ex-Pro boxer and I’ve been boxing since I was six years old. I did a little bit of amateur stuff and even one of those Tough Man matches. I also did some Martial Arts and competed a little in high school. It’s extremely fun but let’s just say I’m a bit better suited for comic books!
AiPT!: The first issue has a few famous Las Vegas locales show up and I’m curious if readers from the area should be on the lookout for specific locations they’d be familiar with?
Panosian: If anyone has visited Downtown Las Vegas and Fremont Street you will feel very comfortable reading Slots. Most of the action takes place there. Downtown Las Vegas is constantly changing. It’s amazing to see it grow while maintaining its urban feel. There’s nothing like Las Vegas.