An artist from Cleveland, Ohio to artistic parents and of Arminian (not American like we said on the episode) Dan Panosian stops by to chat with Jeff about his new series An Unkindness of Ravens and his time at Extreme Studios!
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Dan Panosian Interview – Interview
[00:00:00] Jeff Haas: welcome listeners on spoiler country today on the show we have Dan Penn ocean. How are you Dan?
Dan Panosian: I’m doing great. How are you?
Jeff Haas: I’m doing quite well. I’m getting adjusted to our reality right now and preparing apparently to go back to school in September a teacher.
Dan Panosian: Yeah. Yeah. It’s going to be interesting.
We don’t have, all these zoom school here in California.
Jeff Haas: Oh, they’re. They’re not going to, they’re not going to reopen. No.
Dan Panosian: Great. So I can reopen, but you know, obviously they’re going to do their best with having kids on zoom.
Jeff Haas: Well, it must be, As a parent, it must be nice that you can work from home and you don’t.
And that just shouldn’t I assume, makes the decision much easier for you.
Dan Panosian: Oh, I mean, it’s great working from home. It’s a little, it’s a little tough sometimes having a son, he’s six years old and he, you know, he just wants to play all day and wrestle and, you know, play action figures, which I.
You know, I love doing, but, it’s tough on work because I don’t have an office outside a lot of houses. I don’t know where you guys are located, but in [00:01:00] California, there’s a lot of these houses they’ve converted the garages and there they become studios. So it’d be nice if. If I could physically go to work, that’d be kind of cool.
Jeff Haas: Oh, that wouldn’t be very nice. I, the podcast from, for me anyway, I live in Rhode Island. So it’s for me, it’s in my living room. So you might hear some dogs and cats fighting. You may have my wife come in from work and that might be interrupted, but yeah, no, it’s, I would wish I had my own office.
Dan Panosian: be great. I mean, I have an office, but, it’s just another, it’s like a large bedroom in the house. And, you saw earlier when we were on the video portion of the Skype. Yeah, I got my son’s art desk in here, which, doesn’t use too often, but it’s in here. So he comes in here all the time.
Jeff Haas: So is he a good artist like his father or
Dan Panosian: not yet?
Jeff Haas: No.
Dan Panosian: I’m always surprised. I thought, you know, if be one of those things, like you’ve noticed something right off the bat, but I’m not disappointed with them at all. I think that’s, it’s not a bad thing that he’s not into it. He just doesn’t show a whole lot of interest in it, which is fine. [00:02:00] I was always super interested in drawing.
It’s all I did when I was a little kid. Well, not all I did, but I did certainly do a lot of it and had a great time, but he’s more interested. He’s much more physical a kid than I was.
Jeff Haas: So you may have an athlete on your hands.
Dan Panosian: definitely. I don’t know what kind of athlete, but he’s definitely impervious to pain and he’s got great reflexes.
So. Who knows what he can do.
Jeff Haas: Well, that sounds very promising. So, but do you remember what you were like as an artist and his age, like at your age, did you already know that was a talent of yours or did it take more developing than that?
Dan Panosian: I mean, I got a lot of positive feedback, even as a young kid.
both my parents were artists. My dad liked me. wasn’t too thrilled about me becoming an artist, but he, I think he was. Happy that I w I was pretty decent at it. What was interesting is you’ll see a lot of children now and their art talent versus like, say my talent when I was a kid it’s so much better.
I mean, there’s some amazing [00:03:00] children out there who have great artists. I mean that in general, if you look at comic books today versus comic books, 10, 15 years ago, besides standouts, like say Bernie Wrightson or presenter, or some of these phenol artistically, in the comic book world, I think overall the art scene has dramatically improved as far as draftsmanship.
So I think maybe it’s just like kind of a world consciousness saying, I think children that are artists, is that hive mentality. Like they’re better artists. So I think if I displayed the type of art I displayed. You know, and everybody was that good. I don’t know if it would be as encouraging.
Jeff Haas: Well, what do you think though? That in many ways though, that the artists of the past are why artists will get down. In other words, they feel sort of like movies have special effects that needs to keep topping, who came before. Do you think there’s a little bit of having to feel the need to top the previous
Dan Panosian: artists?
Well, having the need to top it, I just think that, you know, within Instagram and Facebook and Twitter, [00:04:00] and all these, you know, things like deviant art and, websites like that. I think there’s art station is another very popular one. We’re exposed as artists to so many different artists and so many different people do it with different takes on it.
and by virtue of that alone, you kind of exponentially kind of grow. If that makes sense. I mean, I upped my game considerably just by going, wow, this, I have to do this well, because this is out here or I’m influenced by another artist. and also there’s a lot of process videos out there. So it demystifies some of the work you’re like, Oh, there’s they started with some scribbles too.
Well, I can do that. And then, you know, you go on
Jeff Haas: from now. No, I’m a writer. well, such as it is a writer. so as the world of art is definitely out of my bounds, I always wonder from an artist, is it how much of it is pure, like natural gift? How much of it is [00:05:00] hard practice? I mean, I don’t know.
Dan Panosian: I mean, I think it’s when I look at art, I think it. A lot of it is math or geometry, and you’re looking at lines and shadows and relationship to other lines and shadows and those create shapes. And so understanding. That sort of geometry. I think anybody can learn that. I it’s like doing like a basketball free-throw you know, if you keep doing that free throw, I mean, yeah.
You could be athletically gifted or not athletically gifted, but yeah, if you keep doing it by virtue of doing it, you’re going to get better and better. So if you’re super interested in art and you keep doing it, you’re going to improve naturally. Well, obviously there’s people that are just, you know, you look at James Jean and like that guy was born to be an artist.
Jeff Haas: Ken, can you tell when you’re looking at someone’s artwork, whether or not it’s more, if it is, let’s say untrained versus if it’s more, either hard work or natural [00:06:00] practice, when you look someone’s word, there’s something different about it.
Dan Panosian: Yeah, that’s definitely a great question. I mean, there’s guys that you can look at and go, this guy definitely is academically trained as an artist.
I mean, if you look at someone like John Paulino and, that guy, has a great foundation. And I think that’s what art school does. And I mean, obviously you’re going to be influenced by your teachers and your professors. And some of that stuff is their technique is going to naturally be a part of yours, but you know, like a Tommy Lee Edwards or someone, they, you know, they just, from the get go, we’re already, leaps and bounds above a lot of other people.
If I had to do it all over again, I definitely would have gone to art school.
Jeff Haas: Yeah. I mean, I know, I think it’s Rob Liefeld who tends to. Discuss often how he did not go to any kind of school to learn, to draw this, that it was him kind of self teaching himself. They don’t make a big deal on that issue and me
Dan Panosian: a good thing or a bad thing.
Jeff Haas: Honestly, I can’t usually tell once again [00:07:00] is, I think it’s something. That he doesn’t feel very confident about it. And I do think there’s a little bit of, definitely confidence from that. I don’t know if he’s discovering people from going to art world. I just know that he is very proud of his own ability to have
Dan Panosian: not needed.
Well, I mean, he’s a perfect example. He’s very successful. I mean, with Deadpool and cable and all those other successes, I mean, he’s, Rob’s a very interesting guy in that way. I mean, he’s. you know, there’s a lot of critical analysis of Rob in a lot of ways, but his, his wins in life speak for themselves, I suppose, you know, that’s the ultimate, you know, determined or litmus test of what he’s his abilities.
He found a way to connect with audiences during that time. And, you know, there were better artists than him and there were worse artists than him and, He really clicked.
Jeff Haas: Well, I definitely want to, should we have time to go into some about extreme studios? I know you worked for them. And I was a big purchaser [00:08:00] of their comic books in the nineties.
I bought, you know, brigade and Bloodstrike. Young blood prophet. I talked to you. I think I mentioned to you that I had the first issue of profit that you signed on my wall right now. Yeah, I think I sent you a picture of it as well. Cause I’m still very proud of it.
Dan Panosian: Kinda. My Marvel comics had, let me do a little bit of penciling here and there just to, cause that was, I wanted, when I broke into comic books, mainstream comic books might, I really wanted to pencil and ink and I was a better anchor than I was a penciler.
So the editors would occasionally throw me like a backup story or a cover to something and not pro probably not very well deserved, but you know, when you have a working relationship with anyone, you know, you’re going to give them some of the benefit of the doubt or you just, it’s just a way of being kind.
But the first issue of profit is really my first foray into penciling and inking my own work in that way.
Jeff Haas: Yeah, it looks like it’s a breeze. [00:09:00] I do love the idea. I do want to go into that, but the first question I actually had for you, I read that you first got noticed by Neil Adams and wall Simons then.
Dan Panosian: Well, I was working with a friend of mine even before he was a friend. He had hired me to draw his comic book, the dark, his name’s Joseph, Sally, and he had hired, A God who always Mark Bright, who did a lot of work on a green lantern to draw his comic book. And I inked it. And so Mark, Bright’s a very accomplished, artists like he’s professional through and through, and he has a similar style.
Anatomy wise to Neal Adams is probably a big influence. So I had these, Mark Bright pages with me and Joe Neftali is a very kind generous guy. And he said, fly up to, New York and you can stay at my parents’ place. And we’re going to go to this convention. I want to show off this comic book.
It was basically turned into the New York comic con back then it was called the, it was the Greenberg. Convention. It was at Penn [00:10:00] station or it was called the Penn station, Penn con or something like that. And I showed the samples around. I had some samples from Mike Zack that I inked of Punisher number one from the lady of series that John Beatty had done such a great job on, but I showed the mic sec stuff, which is flawless and the Mark Bright stuff.
And in both Walt Simons and Neal Adams both liked it quite a bit. Neil said he’d hire me on his continuity comics, which was a part of his, Advertising studio. And I think you just, I think a lot of his clients were excited to work with them because they loved comics. And so he wanted to keep that alive.
and Neil’s just a very creative guy. He just, I don’t think he could fully go into advertising without still having his hand in comics. So I think some of his comics over there and then Walt Simon’s son was kind enough to call Ralph Macchio, who was his editor on? Fantastic four at a time. I think he was done with Thor.
And Ralph hired me doing a backup banks on dr. Strange and Thor.
[00:11:00] Jeff Haas: Now, when, on the first, when they, when you met them, did you already know who Neil Adams and Walter Armisen?
Dan Panosian: Oh, definitely. That’s a big fans of them. I had subscriptions to a well Simon since Thor comic already. And my dad was a big fan of deal Adams.
both the comic books and a lot of the advertising work. He did. That’s what my dad did. He was an advertising guy.
Jeff Haas: So, I know once you got to work with tomorrow, what you did, you worked at an ad agency and you’re working on Marvel. Is there one either at agency or Marvel that you felt more, connection to?
Like, do you prefer doing, I know you still do ad work and, or did you prefer being at Marvel? Well,
Dan Panosian: I mean, even when I was working at Neal out of the studio office, I was in comic books. So I wasn’t working in doing his advertising artwork. And I was also within a month, I was already working at DC comics too, and Valiant.
So I was kind of, they were, you know, if you’re getting a backup it’s five pages a month, so I was getting five pages for Marvel, you know, [00:12:00] fill an issue at DC and, pages that Neil. One of Neil’s artists were drawing. I think it was maybe wrong Wilson at the time. and Valiant was just throwing me work sporadically here and there.
So it was just that it was enough in my, you know, I grew up, my dad was like, never turned down work. Cause you never know as a freelancer, you know, when it’s going to stop or dry up. So I would take everything that was thrown my way and I’d find one way or another to do it. What was nice about working with Neil?
And I’m sure he did this with a lot of people is I would turn in work and I’d come in early the next morning before anyone else was there, except Neil was there. And he would, he’d have redrawn everything I inked, but he took the time also to show me like, this is what I did. This is what you did wrong.
So it was like a little bit of inking school. and all that, everything he taught me really stayed with me. All of it. You know, I still think about some of the things he mentioned when I’m making or when I’m drawing, because inking and [00:13:00] drawing her, or kind of go hand in hand. you can’t be a good anchor without understanding the fundamentals of penciling.
Jeff Haas: Now, as someone who, I, as a writer, I do find that it’s one of the differences between, I think someone who I think is gonna be successful at actually are the artists I deal with. And the ones who I can tell are not gonna be successful on some level is how they deal with that criticism. And when you said Neil Adams was giving you those criticisms and telling you how to write and rework things, how did you handle it?
Like, what were you able to say either?
Dan Panosian: How can you say anything to Neil Adams is, you know, his resume speaks for itself. I was, you know, I had my ideas. I’m a big fan of John Byrne at the time. Jim Lee hadn’t. A hundred percent come into his own yet, but he was just starting to literally just, I think they recognize how good he was on Punisher war journal.
And they were going to bring him in as an ex men guy. So I was definitely aware of guys like him and Kevin Nolan, [00:14:00] but my foundation was probably John Byrne. And so. Neil’s very realistic way of, you know, or comic book, realistic way of, excuse me, approaching things was different than my own, but I always had an immense respect for everything he told me.
So I listened to everything and I try to be, you know, great about criticism. I sent a lot of my work to Dave Johnson and he occasionally will send me some of his work and we, we both. Like basically critique it. Sometimes we’ll do draw overs on each other’s work and it’s exceptionally helpful because if you’re working on something, I’m sure it goes with your writing too.
You get very close to it. So sometimes you know, something might last, you’re very familiar with your characters, but, the reader might not be, so some of these things aren’t clear and the same goes for the drawing.
Jeff Haas: Yeah. I will say definitely as a writer and I do find. That I hopefully put more, credit to the positive reviews instead of the negative ones, but I do find the difficulty.
And I think the difference for me, if I’m [00:15:00] ever going to become largely successful is the ability to brush oneself off and take information that you get without letting without, while still maintain the confidence that you are good at what you were doing anyway, you know what I’m
Dan Panosian: saying? You gotta take it with a grain of salt, but you know, I’ll take.
I’ll take criticism from someone who’s, you know, I’ve had, I’ve been critiqued before and I, you know, sometimes it’s just, it’s a matter of taste or it’s not felt the FA is based on something, but if someone says you do a nose and that doesn’t look like a nose to them, then maybe, you know, it requires you looking into it in many cases.
So my favorite example of that is, I was doing X-Men stuff at the time. And I think I was thinking a lot, a huge long shot face over Jim Lee. I was probably doing finishes on Jemele. So I was trying to, you know, Jim Lee had thrown down the basic instruction of the faces and probably from X-Men number [00:16:00] five or six, but there’s a huge.
Shot of long shots head. And I still hadn’t didn’t have my head wrapped around exactly what Scott Williams was doing with some of the Z lines. We called them and some of the cross hashing techniques. but my dad saw what I was doing and he goes, what’s all that stitching on this guy’s face.
Like it looks like he’s got stitches all over his face. and I said, look, I go, no, dad, you don’t understand that’s a style. that’s the shadowing and shading. And he goes, well, it looks like stitching. And so I was not happy about that critique, but after I settled down and looked at it, I’m like, wow, there’s something to that.
And you know, basically all the lines, you throw it down, no matter how finessed and stylized they are, have to represent. Shadow and form, and that’s their reason for being there. So, you know, you have highly stylized artists, very graphic, like guys like Christmases, cello, and he has a way [00:17:00] of.
Shadowing things and they’re different from the way my golden does. And that’s different from the way someone like Robert crumb or Barry Windsor Smith might do that. Or, you know, Dave Johnson or John, or like Josh Middleton, something, you know, everybody’s got their own way, but they have to inform the reader of that shape or that form, or that object to a person or a car tire.
And if they don’t, then they’re not doing a good job of it. Yeah.
Jeff Haas: I mean, and I think it’s great. not only that you still are able to maintain your confidence, but I thought I was reading your about your history. You did one of the ballsiest things. I think I can imagine when you. Left Marvel to go to image comic books.
Oh, that must have been some serious balls to do that.
Dan Panosian: I don’t know. I was still pretty young. I was bouncing back from New York to Florida and I had inked an issue over Rob Liefeld. Of X-Force and he was making the . He called me on the phone and told me he was making the transition. He was gonna say, start this company with, you know, McFarlane and everybody.
And he gave you, so [00:18:00] he gave me the sell on the company he was doing, and he was already starting on Youngblood at the time. And that’s why. He wasn’t thinking that issue. and I was, and he was like, man, I’d like you to come out here and take a look at everything. And, by the way, you can expect this much money for your royalty check on this book on this X-Force book.
So it was a huge amount. I remember getting off the phone and I was like, wow, my life just changed. You know, by issue of a comic book, it was the same amount of money that year, you know, inking, you know, 12 issues. So when he told me he had this great idea and he’d make this much, it wasn’t that tough of a decision to go over there.
And I was super fast and that’s, I still exceptionally fast to anchor and I was doing about. Three, sometimes up to four books a month. So I was like, you know, I can ink a book, it image, and I can also still make books at, it’s the X-Men books that I was working on. And I did Rob had no problem with [00:19:00] me, you know, thinking X men at the same time, I was thinking John Romita jr.
Jeff Haas: Now, did he know, that image was going to be successful? Was there something about either the energy involved or the talent bar that you just knew? Image is not going to be something like, cause it’s so many small companies they last for maybe a year to the full I can name. So many of those. Did you know, image was going to survive when you took part in it?
Dan Panosian: Maybe that was just Rob’s way. I mean, he, I was convinced after I, it was one phone call and I was convinced and you know, he’s he just sold me on it, so, well, I was like, Oh, I’ll take a chance. So I flew out there. Rob, let me stay at his house. He had a bunch of people. he had bought a house for people to live in.
And when I say to Rob’s house, he slept on the couch and I slept in his room. I couldn’t talk him out of it. I’d never met the guy before. Yeah. That’s just the type of person he was. It was crazy. I’m very generous in that way. And he was driven. All he did was do comic books. He’d be exercising on the [00:20:00] treadmill and he’d be doing thumbnails.
I don’t know if that’s a great thing, but that’s limited. He had to do what he had and draw young blood.
Jeff Haas: Yeah. I’m gonna say when looking at an extreme, I mean, he has a hell of a track record. I mean, I was buying at the time when extreme CEO’s came out, I was buying mostly Batman. I think I was buying green lantern.
That then when I think when I saw brigade, I think were Gade was the one that bought me, told me into image and I just pretty much bought out the line. And there was something about the image, the extreme studio comic books. That just was so full of energy and it’s so vibrant and everything just felt like it was exploding on your page and you never, I never saw anything like it before.
Dan Panosian: Well, that was probably a lot of Rob light Phillips influence. I know Rob Michaels was penciling that book that was brigade and everybody was just kind of feeding off Rob’s enthusiasm. Rob recently did a interview on cartoon is kayfabe. I don’t know if I’m pronouncing [00:21:00] that right, but it’s ed Pinsker in gym, rugs, a live stream or a YouTube channel.
It’s maybe an hour and a half. And I think those guys got in maybe six questions and Rob just is nonstop throughout that interview and he’s older than I am, and he’s just, he’s never running out of energy guy. He’s pretty impressive in that way.
Jeff Haas: Yeah. And like I said, we were talking about a profit.
That was such an extraordinary character story, a little bit of captain America, a little bit of cable, but it was such a smart character and digitally, very stunning. And it’s not surprising that profit has seemed to be one of the extreme studio characters that does have long life.
Dan Panosian: I think it’s one of Rob’s favorites if I’m not mistaken.
he really loved that character and that character kind of had some religious undertones or maybe even overtones, You know about them and Rob’s father was a pastor or Reverend. so it was interesting. It was an interesting book, but, [00:22:00] on that whole image comics thing, I mean, every single one of those creators from Jim Lee to Sylvestri to Todd McFarlane meeting, each one of those guys was.
They’re all very personable. They’re all extremely excited about what they did and all, very positive forces and talented. So it was easy to get behind that and recognize that these guys were going to make a big splash.
Jeff Haas: So, so what was leaf a life ELDs pitch for you to do profit?
Dan Panosian: Well, I was, By the time I got out to California, which wasn’t too long after I had done, that issue of X-Force, Marsal vestry had contacted me because Scott Williams had kind of.
You know, everybody at WildStorm was using Scott Williams and he was thinking what works overwhelmed photoshoot. He was thinking Jim Lee. And he was thinking of the first couple issues of, Marshall vestry cyber force. And I think he’d just bitten off more than he could chew. And since he started off with, Jim and [00:23:00] wills, he had to kind of Val out.
So, so that’s for you, the replacement. He asked me to do it and I did land up. I’m thinking, I think issue number three of cyber force. Which is a lot of fun. And Mark asked me to stay on and I think those guys were, I mean, they’re all buddies, but they’re very competitive. And Rob was like, well, Hey, I want, what do you want to do?
And I go, okay, I really want a pencil. I really want a pencil. And again, and he said, well, how about profit? Didn’t really know much. I knew about as much of profit as anybody else did. I saw him in maybe the first issue of young blood. And I was like, I don’t care who he is, but he looks kinda like come in a little bit.
He has long hair and swords and no, like I’m down. That’ll be great. And Andy, paid me considerably more than sylvestris already exceptionally generous offer. Like. these were great offers. as great as X-Men royalties were, the, this was even more so
Jeff Haas: well had to be a lot. Appreciate it.
Cause I mean, [00:24:00] I imagine artists know what it’s like to work and be an artist. And so they had to know and probably appreciate my guess more of what you brought to them.
Dan Panosian: Well, I don’t know. I mean, I didn’t have much of a resume display to Rob. I think he must’ve seen something. I had penciled. I think originally I had done Mark back.
Well, he was still doing backups. It was the very end of his backup career at Marvel. And as he was getting more and more worked for Marvel, the backups he was doing, he started letting me do finishes on him. And as he was letting me do finishes on him, I was looking at a lot of Scott Williams. So. There are very few artists in that early stage that were essentially a being Scott Williams.
I was one of them, R T bear was a guy at DC comics over Dan Jurgens, who it was doing kind of a similar thing that Scott wings was doing, but it fell into that same category. And art was very accomplished at it, you know, much more so than I was. But, [00:25:00] so it was really there. The selection you had as a new emerging image comics sky wasn’t very high.
Jeff Haas: fast forward, just a little bit, your current project that you’re working on, it’s called an unkindness of Ravens that, correct?
Dan Panosian: Yes.
Jeff Haas: Now you’re the writer. you’re not, are you doing it? The artwork as well? are you the writer, a creator only.
Dan Panosian: I am on the writer on the book and it was created for boom studios.
I also do some bookends. So every issue has these, kind of, it’s kind of a separate storyline that’s going on that kind of gives you an inside look on that issue. So in some cases it’s four pages and other cases it’s two, but it’s mostly four pieces of the pages of additional artwork that are kind of connected to these storyline.
Jeff Haas: What made you decide to only write it and not do the interior pages?
Dan Panosian: Well, I’m working on right now. It’s kind of a secret project. I can’t talk much about it, but I’m doing an adaptation of a novella. that’s going to be published by a [00:26:00] European publisher. So I’m drawing that and drawing just takes so much more time than the writing.
So I would have loved to have drawn this, but we have a great artist, drawing the Ravens book, brave. We have an amazing, cover artists as well.
Jeff Haas: So how did boom get involved? Did he boom, come to you first? Or did you say, I want to bring this project to boom.
Dan Panosian: Well, I’m friends with Matt Gagnin and I’ve known Ross Richie for a long time.
So when I was shopping this book around, they were super interested. Actually. I had shopped some stuff around to them and then they said, well, we’re really looking for this kind of book. And I said, well, I have an idea. Let me shape this one idea up and I’ll bring it to you.
And they loved it. So it was just, it was a perfect marriage in that sense.
Jeff Haas: Now all the artists on this book is my Mariana Ignasi and I passed it.
Dan Panosian: Yeah, she’s an Italian artist. she has a great Instagram account. She’s very prolific. Like I think I don’t know. My book is the only book she’s working on.
She might be working on another [00:27:00] European or Italian comic book.
Jeff Haas: Now as an artist, is it, do you find it easier to work with another artist? Like, do you write in script form or you just, are you doing it more like the Marvel plots forum
Dan Panosian: it’s fully scripted and, in many cases, these were very full scripts because I don’t, I’ve never met, Marianna, so I don’t.
No, what she likes. So I give a very full script with like very, descriptive panels and, even arrangements, how I see the PA page arrangement. now whether she chooses each issue to draw out the way I kind of implied it, that’s still up to her. But I’m working on another book for a AWA upshot, which I’m also just writing.
And I haven’t, we haven’t nobody’s announced that, but can’t even announce the title. But in that case, this artist likes to, you know, he’s, he just likes to kind of go in his own direction. So I think he would. He would be upset if I gave him too much. [00:28:00]
Jeff Haas: now, Mariana, did you seek her out or did boom make the connection?
Dan Panosian: I found her on Instagram. I was following her work and I liked it very much. So now I suggested her and, a few others and they arrived on her
Jeff Haas: now. What are you looking for in an artist when you are making yourself? Cause like I said, as an artist yourself, do you look with someone like with your style or looking for something
Dan Panosian: it draws, she draws nothing like I do.
She, would I, what I want to see is good storytelling. I mean, I guess that’s kind of cliche for a writer’s standpoint, but I really want to see, an artist hit all those notes and particularly I want them to hit kind of emotional notes.
Jeff Haas: So what inspired the creation of unkindness of Ravens?
Dan Panosian: I love the occult, magic and there’s something really.
I mean, it’s not that far back in our history when like the Salem [00:29:00] witch trials took place, so yeah. Yeah. When you’re the younger, you are like, I grew up thinking like, Oh my God, the sixties that was like forever ago. And then, you know, you realize that, you know, I look back to the nineties is actually a long time ago, but you know, if you’re just getting out of college right now.
So, but it’s, it wasn’t that long ago that, you know, people were hanging people because they were. You know, practicing witchcraft. And what’s nice about doing a story that originates in a distant timeline is, you know, you think of like, even like King Arthur, like, Oh, maybe Merlin, you know, few things, or, you know, it’s easy for that fantasy aspect to take over and you can let your imagination wander in today’s day and age.
You know, everything ideally needs to be explained by science. So, That sort of mysticism and in your, that playful side of you accepting that isn’t there. So [00:30:00] this story is basically we about, You know, there was some people that escaped the Salem witch trials and, or went to jail and actually came out of it or weren’t hung or escaped.
And these are the people that survived and they’ve been plotting their revenge ever since generationally.
Jeff Haas: Now, how much research did you go in? Did you look into the Louis of course.
Dan Panosian: I mean, just tons and tons of research. I have so many books on the occult and, It’s a lot of fun. I mean, I’m sure she ain’t.
I was just doing the researches is half the fun.
Jeff Haas: Yeah. Now, I mean, obviously the same with Charles, once again, it really happened. And a lot of those characters are actually me kind of famous through, the crucible. Now some of the characters you’re going to be referring to or ones that really were alive or you’re using fictional characters only from that time period.
Dan Panosian: Well, there’ll be still these flashbacks and I’m trying not to use really any of those names, but in the actual storyline, there’s variations of [00:31:00] those names. And if you’re familiar with the Salem witch trials, you’ll go, Oh, that’s this character, or that’s a descendant of this character. And so on. I’m sorry.
Jeff Haas: Okay, I’m sorry, go ahead.
Dan Panosian: Oh, no, that was basically it. So
Jeff Haas: so in your story, the witches that were hung are, were truly witches.
Dan Panosian: I don’t want to give anything away, but, the people that were doing the hanging are now the people in power, so to speak like the patriarchs of, this new England.
society, I guess. So you, their motivations might not have been just these people are witches. They might themselves have been dabbling in these things and trying to, you know, maybe through some smoke and mirrors kind of pass the buck.
Jeff Haas: So, and so the story is of where the name comes from the idea of.
The group is called all the girls who I’m in current times called the Ravens. Yeah. And obviously, which is tend to have the stereotypical bad guys in a lot of stories. So the Ravens in your [00:32:00] story, the heroes or the villains,
Dan Panosian: well, they’re the heroes in this and there’s different Ravens. So this, we start off in this first series with the black Ravens and by the time the series is done, you’ll be hearing the stories about the white rate and it’s, and those are kind of the.
Elders, in that group. So you have, you’ll have the black Ravens blue, and then gray or it’ll just keep, it’ll keep going. So there’s different age categories.
Jeff Haas: Okay. So are they, so as they develop a change, the group that they’re in or
Dan Panosian: as each generation comes up, there’s another generation of Ravens.
Jeff Haas: That’s very cool. So are we going to hear more and more about previous generations?
Dan Panosian: You’ll hear it. You’ll hear a little bit about them in the first series. And then the second series you’ll move on because the girls themselves are moving on.
Jeff Haas: So the, I know the first series is five issues long. How many series are planned?
[00:33:00] Dan Panosian: to do a 25 issues total. Oh,
Jeff Haas: very cool. How far are you? Have you plotted out the entire 25 issues yet?
Dan Panosian: they’re plotted out how finished they are as a whole, you know, I know how the story ends and where it goes and who all the key players are, but, you know, for not just the first mini series is finished and I know what happens is obviously series two.
And so on and so forth, but those issues aren’t written yet.
Jeff Haas: Now, as you’re, as you were writing the first five issues, do you find that the stories go into the directions differently than you originally planned? Or is it, are you able, are you keeping pretty tight to the plot? Well,
Dan Panosian: I’ve got a great editor, his name’s Matt Levine and, he’s been really good with working with me and yeah, I mean, it’s very much the same story, but, The motivations and the it’s definitely tightened up considerably.
I like it. I really like words it’s going. And the more mythology behind it has developed as we’ve gone along. So [00:34:00] it’s a nice story. And there’s, it’s definitely one of those books where there’s lots of Easter eggs and some of the what’s interesting is some of the Easter eggs we’re putting in these issues.
These are going to apply to only the second series, but the third series and so forth.
Jeff Haas: Well, that sounds very cool. Now your main character is, is Wilma now. She’s how old is a high school age?
Dan Panosian: She’s high school age. So she’s probably a junior in this.
Jeff Haas: Is it hard to get yourself mentally in a place to write for a junior age girl or mean, I don’t know if that’s like a weird question, but
Dan Panosian: it is weird question, but it’s definitely a question worth asking.
I think luckily a lot of comic book. enthusiasts fans and people that work in the industry. I mean, you’re still kind of, yeah. Full in that sense. And, high school for me, I’m one of those rare people that I loved high school was great. I had a great time. I don’t even know if I had a sick day all four years.
I enjoyed it that much, but, I really [00:35:00] enjoy paying attention to. the social aspects of it and the social groups. I was one of those people in high school that I got along with the jocks I got along with, obviously the more, I guess, what, you know, today we call it nerdy, but you know, it’s nerdy is a good thing.
And to me, when I was in high school, nerdy was a good thing also. it didn’t have the same connotations back then. It was kind of a negative, but. I got along with everyone, so, but it was enjoyable. It was enjoyable for me to see how socially, like those groups, accepted one another or didn’t accept one another.
Jeff Haas: So is Wilma kind of a amalgamation of some girls that you knew in high school?
Dan Panosian: Oh, definitely. I have two sisters, so I grew up, they’re both younger than me and I got to see their perspective on life and what they were going through and, you know, their friends were always at the house constantly.
So I’ve been, you know, I don’t really know from a male perspective. I don’t know if that quality gives you any sort of qualifications, [00:36:00] but it certainly helps.
Jeff Haas: Yeah, man, I know there seems to be some discussion on. I’m writing in different voices, but I think as a writer, you should, I mean, that is what you do as a writer, right.
It’s try to stretch your consciousness and try to stretch your abilities by writing in different perspectives.
Dan Panosian: Exactly. And I mean, yes, there’s major differences between men and women and that’s becoming more and more apparent all the time, but we’re all human beings. We all, you know, we all want basically the same things.
It just, you know, some things we might want more than others, but. I don’t think it’s any more difficult to write, from a female perspective necessarily. And there’s certainly, it’s not a, just a book about females. there’s almost as many male characters in this book
Jeff Haas: now are all witches females or are the male witches?
Dan Panosian: There’s definitely male, which is
Jeff Haas: now the other thing is too. I know one of the main mysteries is of Wilma cause she’s new to the school. And kind of the Mister kind of surround you. So how would [00:37:00] you describe Wilma as a character to the reader, to our listeners?
Dan Panosian: What about Wilma is she’s coming in the same place the readers are coming in?
She doesn’t know anything about the Ravens, anything about this city in new England, called crabs. I. Which is a kind of a made up, I don’t know if you’ve ever while you CA you’re very near there. I guess if you’re in Rhode Island, all those great names in Massachusetts for those towns, they’re just amazing, you know, Mashpee and all these different, great names.
I thought crabs is a perfect name for a, kind of a sleepy little new England down. and so she’s basically us coming into this story and. She’s excited to have this new life in this new school where, you know, every, everything is new so she can become a brand new person is she can kind of write her own history in a sense, but right off the bat, that does not happen for her and her.
Her dreams are kind of [00:38:00] spoiled in that
Jeff Haas: way. Now, have you ever been to Salem, Massachusetts?
Dan Panosian: no, I haven’t. I was about to lie and say, yes, I’m lying by the way. But I think all writers love lying.
Jeff Haas: Well,
Dan Panosian: I’ve been to Massachusetts and I’ve traveled around all over, but I actually have never been to Salem.
Jeff Haas: lie makes you far more interesting than people knew what writer’s lights were really like. Usually I don’t know that interesting at all.
Dan Panosian: I have to point out though that, although this is based on the Salem witch trials, there were witch trials, about a hundred years prior to those, yeah, a little bit North of Salem, and this is kind of an amalgamation of all those, the things that were happening with like burning witches at the stake and what went behind that.
So a lot of, like I said, a lot of the names are the same or similar in this story. But it isn’t exactly. We never come out and say, this is, these are, you know, the Salem witch trial, [00:39:00] descendants.
Jeff Haas: Yeah. And as an English teacher, I teach high school, like I said, and every year I teach the crucible and it’s such a fascinating time period.
One, because it’s on the one hand, it feels so alien to us. But on another hand, you look and you go. Yeah. We’re not that far removed from that either. as far as socially,
Dan Panosian: no, not socially. If you look at what’s happening politically, you know, you have two very diametrically opposed, modalities of thinking, and I think both sides are ready to crucify the other.
So, and both of them feel very self-righteous in it and why they feel that way. So. Okay, let me figure out.
Jeff Haas: Yeah. I mean, I must admit, I mean, I know where I stand on things. I mean, I know on some level, the whole controversy with like Mary masters on something, there’s a certain level too, even though I’m a big believer in wearing a mask.
I do know. anytime anyone does mention a that they’re not gonna use masterworks like that the amount of venom thrown at them is pretty hard to me. I understand. Cause I’m very pro mask, but yeah, there’s still that kind of a definite look, Oh, yeah,
[00:40:00] Dan Panosian: it’s definitely hard. I think I don’t, I can’t speak for how people feel in other countries, but I don’t know, understand how this became a politicized.
No movement at all. it’s a survival movement. but, that’s the way it’s being played. I don’t know.
Jeff Haas: it, I feel part of me does always feel like this is a way of, that we’re not gonna make it back from this. I was having a conversation. last week I was talking to, Timothy Busfield on one of these, on one of these interviews.
And he said that he believed that we would eventually come back from this as a. Country as you know, and everything would become more of a more harmonized, but, I find it that we tend to divide. We’re I don’t know. I think we’re almost too divided now at this point.
Dan Panosian: Yeah. I don’t know. I’ve never seen this country so divided personally, so it’s hard to say, but I will say that it’s only in.
Recent years that it’s become this way. And there’s no reason why that Pendleton couldn’t swing the other way. Yeah. I think that’s that’s socially where things happen. I think [00:41:00] when change happens, it happens kind of in radical opposition to what is being changed. So that pendulum swings pretty hard, far the other way.
And then it eventually settles and a happy medium in between the two. But, yeah, it’s definitely a unique time in our history or at least it seems that way.
Jeff Haas: Yeah. And I know historians look towards the Salem witch trials and they’re still kind of discussing there’s some debate about why it happened.
Like why did it spring up in that, in this, in the societies that it did? Why at that time period, and I mean, I know there’s some argument about those, a fungus, supposedly that was at the root and as when a college paper had written that it was causing, I came here, it was an IGA. We were talking about the name of the fungus.
It was a type of fungus that has made an Apple cider. And apparently it was causing hallucinations. Like I’ll stay when it’s used, which is what they drank a lot during same witch trials. So, yeah. So the reason I’m bringing that up though, is writing your story. Do you come up, do you explain a reason to why it occurred or [00:42:00] did you not, you know, saying to you dive into some of the political policy politics of that time period?
Dan Panosian: Well, there’s definitely like under underlying politics in this storyline. For this particular five issues. we’re kind of in the, getting to know you phase the story. So by the second series, You know, hopefully there is a second series. You never know
Jeff Haas: what’s coming,
Dan Panosian: but let’s pretend there is a that’s wildly successful and there’s a second series.
then we start getting into, Oh, the Y of all of it, like, why did this happen? Why did it go down this way? Who benefited and why did they benefit and who didn’t and why they were chosen, et cetera. So I like all that stuff. I find it very intriguing. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to my face.
Book page, you know, I love to stir it up a little bit.
Jeff Haas: Yeah. But I mean, that’s good though. I mean, I think leaders need to be challenged. I don’t, like, I know sometimes there’s, you know, there’s different base about things, but I think a writer and an artist needs to challenge the readers otherwise. [00:43:00] if you’re not trying to say something, then why say something at all?
Dan Panosian: Yeah. For instance, like the bad guys or whatever, and the, in this Raven storyline, or refer to themselves as the survivors. So from their perspective, You know, they’re doing what they can survive, but, you know, from everyone else’s perspective, you know, these people are no destroying lives and abusing their power.
Jeff Haas: Now is your, would you describe your story as being more horror and oriented and more action oriented? Like what would you kind of, where would you fit? And if it was like, you know, like, Oh yeah, movies have different. When they used to be movies, stores, video stores, they had different sections. Where would your con book fit into those sections?
Dan Panosian: I guess like a horror drama. it’s not a, it’s not a gory horror film. Like something like a saw or a Halloween. I think it’s more horror in the sense of, The omen or a classics, like Rosemary’s baby where there’s definitely, there’s a lot of magic, obviously magic is happening every issue, [00:44:00] but it’s, you know, it’s not people aren’t just floating around and everyone’s like, Oh, well that’s a magician or that’s a witch, you know, it’s very.
Secret. And when magic does happen, it’s in secret typically.
Jeff Haas: Now, are there rules to the magic in your world or is it cause I know, depending on what you read when it comes to with magician, the magic is the idea of either kind of, I would say almost like a doctor, strange where almost anything is there or is it more confined to two rules of what they can and cannot do?
Dan Panosian: kind of taking that as it comes. I mean, want, I want there to be, levels to the magic and to the people that are able to implement that magic. So as we’re starting off in this series, there’s going to be a limited amount of it as it keeps getting further and further along, you’re going to, you’re going to see more examples of the magic, getting more and more powerful.
Jeff Haas: That’s very cool. Have you [00:45:00] shared your M series yet with your pals at the drink and draw social club yet? And what do they think about it?
Dan Panosian: You know, I actually don’t, this is the first interview I’ve had regarding anything about the Ravens and it’s kind of nice to talk about it, but no, typically, If you see in the original drink and draw social club on YouTube it’s Dave and I, and Jeff it’s mostly Dave and I giving poor Jeff Johnson a hard time and then stopping in to kind of put the nails on the coffin.
And, nobody takes it better than Jeff and Jeff can give it to, but he like, you know, we have a nice little routine going there and Jeff has, it’s so talented that I think he just has the confidence to. Just kind of chuckle about it. No, I don’t know what kind of, I’m not the greatest friend in the world to have, I wouldn’t know.
I feel sorry for my wife, but Jeff seems to get a real kick out of it. So that’s. But it was the demons he has.
Jeff Haas: There’s one friend like that though. Who’s a little bit of an ass, right? Yeah.
[00:46:00] Dan Panosian: Unfortunately that one would probably be me.
Jeff Haas: I will say the group of friends that I have to shoot when I was in high school, in college, I was the ass and I totally admit to it and I’m okay with, yeah,
Dan Panosian: well, I mean, I try to be entertaining with it.
I’m not, I’m never like going for the juggler or anything, so it’s all good natured. you know, the few times I hit a raw nerve with Jeff. Yeah. You know, I’ll back off. but that’s, you know, I think I’ve done that. Maybe I’ve known Jeff for Oh God decades now. And I think I’ve managed to really upset them twice.
Jeff Haas: see the rule I always go with is I will, I can joke or kind of make fun of them about anything, unless it’s actually true. And then I don’t know, you can’t,
Dan Panosian: you have to stay away from that stuff.
Jeff Haas: Yeah. Cause that’s it only hurts when it’s true. If you make a joke about something that’s not possible, you can shake that stuff up, but you hit something that is, they do know is really think he’s real about themselves.
Yeah. that’s when his peer.
Dan Panosian: Yeah. So do you put a lot of humor into your work or not?
Jeff Haas: as far as my writing or my
Dan Panosian: interviews. Oh
[00:47:00] Jeff Haas: in the writing, I try sometimes, but I will. I’m honest with myself enough to know that my humor does not. Carrie well to what I’m writing. I have, I think a very dry sense of humor and comic books I think is not a great place for dry humor.
Dan Panosian: Yeah. The tone of slots was a little, there’s a little bit more humor injected into the slots and unkindness of Ravens. There’s a tiny bit of it. I mean, there’s some characters by nature are a little bit, you know, mildly comic relief, I guess you’d call it. But, yeah, it’s nothing like slots. so
Jeff Haas: does your wife read your work and give you feedback or do you keep that up?
He does everything.
Dan Panosian: I run everything by her. she’s great. she went to Vassar, at Vassar, so she’s very helpful.
Jeff Haas: Oh my God, that seems kind of intimidating.
Dan Panosian: Well, at least I have a good sounding board.
Jeff Haas: Oh, I told her that my, I would say my wife doesn’t really read my, my work too much.
I’m not sure if, because she’s [00:48:00] afraid of I’ll get offended by something. My family editors, my father’s the one who will give me the real feedback. And sometimes it’s good. Sometimes it’s bad. I definitely, I’m always running things through him. he’s my family editor.
Dan Panosian: Oh, that’s great to have.
I mean, I’m lucky I live with one of my best senators artistically and in a literal sense and she, And she’ll give me a feedback on the artwork. And she definitely gives me feedback on the writing and having her work with me on these stories, you know, since, you know, a big part of it is very female-driven is helpful.
and I take that. I dunno, I kind of thrive on criticism. I’ve learned over the years. To really use it as a tool to get better, you know, and it’s a work in progress. I’m not always great about it, but, you know, I’ve had some critics of my work before where I early on with kinda got back into comic books.
I took about 10 years off. from the late nineties to the early two thousands. when I got back on the comic book scene, the works still had a long [00:49:00] way to go as it does now. it’s a constant learning experience, but, I remember some run into some predicts and I was just very hypersensitive about it, but I would always contact them and hash it out.
And now I’m friends with a lot of say the same critics,
Jeff Haas: you know, Now does your wife ever say, cause like I said, I’ll see your main character, like I said, is a female. Does she ever say a woman, a girl, wouldn’t say something like this, or this is not this isn’t in character
Dan Panosian: so far not. but she does like strong female on female characters and all the women are strong characters in these stories.
like in slots, like the women, aren’t the predominant characters in slots. It’s a story about mostly this one, Idiot grifter, standing dance and basically his way, a guy going about to find redemption in a little bit of his relationship with his son and his relationship with all his friends, which is terrible because he’s a rotten person, but the females that even in that story, they’re all strong women.
[00:50:00] so it’s 40 cents and in Ravens, all the women are the predominant characters. And I think everybody. You know, I think we’ve had enough of, you know, the damsel in distress. We’ve seen enough of those stories and in truth, it’s, you know, my wife’s a very strong minded person. I’m a little bit terrified ever to be out.
both. My sisters are both. My sisters are very strong minded and coffees and, my mother just was a big, huge influence on my life. She, Very positive gregarious, personally, we always joke that she, like, if she was a mutant, she had more endorphins running around it for them than most people, because she never seemed like she was in a bad mood, but she was also a very strong woman.
She was very positive and she did whatever she wanted. Like she just definitely marched to the beat of her own drum and. And ultimately that’s very inspiring. as much she had a huge impact on how I see [00:51:00] life and what I do and how I do it.
Jeff Haas: Well, it’s fantastic to have that support. And I think it’s also, I think it was great how you said you handle criticism would say, like I just finished a new comp book.
I’m obviously not anywhere near the level that you’re in. It’s a small market called Malik raining devil. And, I will say, you know, I’ve been sending it out to for reviews. And the first two I got actually were negative. And I want to say that sent me back a little bit, that kind of like backed me up, you know, saying, Oh, it closes at six ideally six issue series.
So this was the first issue. It kind of backed me up a little bit. The other. Since then I’ve gotten several, mostly positive review since, but I will say the first two sent me back on my heels just a little bit, I would say. And it was kind of, it was like, it’s a little bit like a head game I would find, probably for me.
But, obviously you figured out a better way of handling it than I did originally.
Dan Panosian: Well, I just think that those, I mean, you don’t have to implement every single criticism, but I think you have to listen to it and hopefully to. Yeah. Hopefully it affects your work, whether it’s artistic or whether it’s your writing and to [00:52:00] be mindful of those things.
Jeff Haas: I think, I remember, like I remember the criticism I actually had couldn’t remember the criticisms better than I remember the compliments, but one of the criticisms. Oh, I did actually, I think I messaged him back the review and I was like, you know, you’re not necessarily wrong in, you know, in these crit, you know, critiques, I think for the, you know, for, you said you’re not necessarily wrong.
And I, something I thought about when I work, when I get ready to work on issue for the, the other two are written, they’re just not completed. And I do think that’s something too. Integrate into the next store and something to think about. And I do think in that way, criticism is helpful, but like I said, I do think it can be kind of, I mean, I remember watching the, was it, scifi channel or documentary on Tom McFaren when he said he got 300 rejections, I think it takes a special kind of guy to take that.
Dan Panosian: Well, he’s a special kind of guy. He’s a unique animal as a bit of a maniac.
Jeff Haas: Yeah, I guess, I guess you have to be successful on some level.
Dan Panosian: Well, I think, you know, I’ve been thinking about that a lot. I, [00:53:00] especially in comic books beings, at least I know some of these people firsthand, not intimately or, but, everyone I know in this business who’s successful is extremely ambitious and extremely driven.
And you there’s something to being ambitious. you see that drive to keep moving forward, despite any setbacks or in this case, any criticisms, I mean, you have to have that self belief in self confidence to keep pushing forward. and not letting the word no stop you. cause it sounds like Todd McFarlane got a lot of no’s I’m.
sure. Rob has had plenty of knows. a guy like Joe Casado, who I’ve known Joe, I think Joe’s first work. when he broke in at DC, actually I knew him briefly at Valiant, but he was just coloring books at that point. But, So Cassandra, I had a game plan since the day I met him and I kind of doubted it.
It doubted him, you know, cause we were both so young, he’s older, he’s a little bit older than me, but not that much. and now he had a [00:54:00] game plan from day one. he followed through with it and it’s very impressive to see something like that
Jeff Haas: is, it’s strange that you’re now on. Like I said, you do the drink and draw social club to be together.
Where you are now versus where you guys might have started with this. And if I remember correctly, so drink and draw, it came off from an Amazon hardcover books. Or am I wrong on that?
Dan Panosian: We, we started in 2005 here in Los Angeles and we’d all been kind of, I’m sure plenty of people artists come up regardless.
We’d go to bars and drink and draw. it’s just a good icebreaker in a lot of ways. I used to do it in a. At this biker bar, it had live music and I would sit there and draw the band and inevitably someone would go, can you draw me or something like that? So, Dave Johnson, like, man, I want to hang out more with Jeff Johnson.
So he goes, why don’t we, you know, Jeff and I were both married. Dave is single. and he was like, well, why don’t we go to the bars? And you can come out, but we can do some [00:55:00] drawing. And that way, when you come home to your wives, at least you have some sketchbooks filled out. It doesn’t look like you’re just, you know, you can’t drink too much if you’re drawing.
And that’s true, obviously. So we started doing it in 2005 and then about a year later, I think we came out with the drink and draw a book that image published. I think it’s available on Amazon. And then we went to ICW for the second book. And I think now with us doing the YouTube show, we might come up with third book was nice to see is that chapters started emerging all around the country and all around the world.
based on that and that we, you know, we trademarked the name trick and draw so force it much, but you know, it’s just a nice little thing.
Jeff Haas: So, so what, why do you think it caught on so, well,
Dan Panosian: I think that even. You know, animation people, just people that enjoy drawing. I just drawing is particularly comic books.
It’s such a solitary act. Even if you’re in a studio, you’re forced [00:56:00] to have your head down and just do the work. And in your end, you don’t have an opportunity to meet with other people or even too many other artists. So it gives you an opportunity to do both. And if you’re not, if you’re still an introvert, you can just.
They had, plenty of people are at these drink and draw events at these bars. I wouldn’t even call them events cause they’re typically weekly. Not even meetings. I don’t know what you’d call them, get togethers. You know, some people are very shy and all they do is draw. They don’t talk much and other people are barely drawing at all and just using it as an opportunity to engage socially.
And it’s, you know, other people at the bar inevitably will be curious and interested in what you’re doing. So it’s a great icebreaker as well.
Jeff Haas: So when we’re watching you guys on YouTube, how close are you and everyone to how you guys are really, when you guys hang out with each other.
Dan Panosian: Pretty identical.
Jeff Haas: Really? It’s not much different.
Dan Panosian: It’s different. I mean, I probably, unfortunately I’m doing a little bit more drinking than I am when I’m on the show. I think I’ve [00:57:00] legitimately been buzzed, maybe two or three episodes on that show, but you know, I didn’t have a son when we started doing drinking draws and luckily I lived downtown and I would just stumble back to my loft.
Jeff Haas: Yeah. I gotta be a little more careful now with the family.
Dan Panosian: Yeah. And thank God for Lyft and Uber, you know? Yeah. No, I moved now and, we, Dave and I still do drink and draws or we did before this COVID business, but you know, I don’t really. I don’t really live it up and tell it the way I think.
Jeff Haas: So is now drinking.
And is your drink draw now from home?
Dan Panosian: Well, I mean, essentially for me, the drink of draw is weekly on Thursdays, on YouTube. You know, I get to hang out with some of my favorite people. It’s pretty awesome. And all those, like I said, all of those guys are so talented. I’m pretty lucky. And we all share our drawings.
We get to see how everyone else is doing. a lot of times we sell the drawings afterwards. [00:58:00] some assembly you’ll see it on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter and be interested in buying it. Although that’s not why we’re just drawing for fun each
Jeff Haas: week. Well, that’s very cool. And like, this sounds very interesting, but I will say, so we’ve been on for a bit, so I am going to, to let you go, okay, I’m sorry.
My, I always have on the most horrible, and he says there always are bras,
Dan Panosian: so,
Jeff Haas: yeah, but like I said, I always do it for some reason. I haven’t quite gotten my, Smooth endings yet, by the way. So I don’t, I want to thank you very much for coming on and I just want to remind all the listeners that, that your book comes out in September, 2020.
it says it’s still on track for that date.
Dan Panosian: Definitely. Yeah. The first issue has been completed for awhile and, yeah, we’re, we’re on schedule. Marina’s excellent. She’s very fast and she’s very good. So,
Jeff Haas: so. So the unkindness of Ravens was not affected at all by, the issues with diamond and the shutdown?
Dan Panosian: No, I mean, [00:59:00] we’ve had to put it out a little bit earlier, but boom is pretty confident in their distribution outside of diamond as well. So whether diamond was in effect or not, they were still gonna publish it.
Jeff Haas: All right.
Dan Panosian: Basically they have some other outlets beyond diamond, getting into ’em.
I guess, so the other, maybe they would’ve used Comixology or something similar. I don’t know.
Jeff Haas: Well, that’s good. Like I said, cause I know, diamond after had a lot of issues in Aussie DC having issues with their distributor. So it’s good that boom, it definitely has things under control, which yeah.
Dan Panosian: boom is an amazing company with amazing people working there.
I mean, I’m really impressed with just their books. I mean, if you look at their catalog books and how cool they look, it’s pretty, pretty phenomenal.
Jeff Haas: I think so. I think I can definitely see why boom is one of the up and comers in the indie comic book world. I mean, I eventually, I think they are going to surpass dark horse and be the number probably four or five.
Dan Panosian: Yeah. In a perfect world. All [01:00:00] the publishers do well, you know, I think they’re all necessary and they all provide different things. You know, I think you get the big two providing that great superhero medium and then. Publishers like boom and dark horse are able to attract different audiences. So it’s awesome.
I love comics. I don’t know if you could tell.
Jeff Haas: no, I can. Definitely. And like I said, I love comics as well. I’ve been buying comic books now for 31 years. It sort of, it is like a drug. Once you start it does feel it’s difficult to just walk away.
Dan Panosian: Yeah, no, I’ve been trying to finish up the towel for a long time by brew Baker.
And Sean Phillips. I mean, I look forward to just having some quiet moments, which are few and far between to read those collected works.
Jeff Haas: Yeah. Right now I’m trying to finish it up. Why the last man? I buy the individual. I don’t not by the train. Somebody like one comic book at a time. So it’s a little, time consuming that way.
Dan Panosian: kind of fun though. I like that.
Jeff Haas: Yeah, it is why last man though is a fantastic series. I’m also trying [01:01:00] to finish up preacher, but that one seems to be buying more sporadically because I’m not finding all the issues in a row. So, you know, it’s a little more loose, but there’s so many good comics out there that I’m.
I bought one, I got one from sent to me from IDW about the, that going to pronounce the name, wrong Tiananmen square, graphic novel. And once again, just fan it’s phenomenal.
Dan Panosian: Yeah. Yeah. There’s so much, there’s something out there for everyone. And, that’s what makes comic books such a wonderful medium.
Jeff Haas: and I think it is important that complex do. I mean, if some people argue about comic books and do like gatekeeping, but I think the more types of comics that are out there, the more audience, different types of audience members come into complex. It really is better for them. All of us,
Dan Panosian: a hundred percent.
I mean, no matter what you’re into, You know, that’s going to like, you know, I started reading com cause I loved Conan and I got from Kona and I saw advertisements for X-Men and I got into X-Men. And from there, you know, it takes you all different places by probably my favorite comic book of all time is a hundred bullets.
[01:02:00] Jeff Haas: Oh, that’s Brian O’Byrne as relevant. He’s another great writer.
Dan Panosian: Yeah. So, and Dave Johnson not doing 100 covers. It’s fantastic.
Jeff Haas: And I think a lot of people, Don’t realize that we are in such a golden age of comic books, because I remember growing up, like in the nineties, you never would have thought that complex would be in the movies on your television.
I just finished watching umbrella Academy, season two. You just never thought about that. But now it seems like every book that comes out that has any success
Dan Panosian: it’s so mainstream. It’s. It’s great. I can tell people I’m a comic book artist, and then they don’t ask me if I’m okay. if mine come out and the Sunday strips next to Garfield,
Jeff Haas: the people used to do that to you.
Dan Panosian: Oh, constantly. Well, they still do. They go like Garfield or like Snoopy. And I have to say no, like, like Batman and they go there, they don’t sometime, you know, I mean, we’re so close to it. We don’t see it, but a lot of people don’t even realize it. They still make comic books or that human beings draw them and write them.
[01:03:00] Jeff Haas: Yeah. And I will say like, in the nineties early two thousands, I probably would never mentioned to anybody, you know, in the real world that I’m a con you know, I buy comic books, but now it’s just, you know, eh, I buy comic books, you know, it’s just like, Oh, okay. That’s just your, Oh, that’s your thing.
Dan Panosian: Yeah, it’s kind like, I remember in the nineties, Finding out about the comic book scene in Japan, where it was just so, you know, like people just read comments on the subways and great selling comic book sells typically 8 million copies, you know, a month. Holy crap. And, it was just amazing and inspiring to hear stuff like that.
A society that really embraced that medium.
Jeff Haas: And yeah, and I mean, and I might be wrong. It doesn’t boom. Have some sort of media deals set up. I can’t remember what network it was, but father size
Dan Panosian: Fox. I think they also, I don’t know if that’s still the deal they have. They might have it with another, they might have, Oh no, they announced Netflix.
They have a deal with now.
Jeff Haas: Yeah. And I think has a deal with them as well, but doesn’t he, because it was
[01:04:00] Dan Panosian: that, I mean, I haven’t, I don’t really stay in touch. It’s friendliness. Kindness. Rob has been to me over the years. we’re not really in touch with each other
Jeff Haas: because I definitely am a hundred percent positive.
I heard something along the lines about profit being brought to Netflix.
Dan Panosian: that’s very possible. I mean, I hear that a lot. A lot of times people will contact me about that and ask me if I know anything, but, you know, I was just the artists on that. for the first four issues, I did a issue. I was going to do profit unleashed that I was going to write and draw, but that never happened.
- it’s not like I have any ownership in profit either. So, so
Jeff Haas: you’re Ravens is that own, do you own the rights to that or does this boom on the rights to that?
Dan Panosian: I answered the rights to that, but so it’s still a boom property.
Jeff Haas: So in immediate that’s something that they go to you about or is that something you’d go to them and say, I’m looking to do this.
Dan Panosian: No, that’s true. Boom takes charge of all that. And they’re in charge of that. Yeah.
Jeff Haas: I mean, [01:05:00] like I said, it’s just, it’s just interesting that, I mean, I don’t.
Dan Panosian: Yeah. It’s interesting. And boom is here in Hollywood. I’m here in LA Los Angeles. It’s all Hollywood adjacent. So.
Jeff Haas: Yeah. I mean, I guess in many ways, for a lot of the small markets, I’m not the boom, but like smaller markets, obviously where the money is if you can sell the property, it seems like,
Dan Panosian: well, I’m sure it’s a huge consideration because you never know where it can go.
But yeah, I mean, I think you have to start with, you know, is it something that the fan, the comic book fans are gonna like? And if they like it, that might translate well on a larger scale.
Jeff Haas: Now one thing, I guess I was thinking about too. The other thing that a lot of people discuss when they’re making their series is, the idea of making, running the series, the issues for an issue or writing it for the trade.
When you’re writing an unkindness of Ravens, are you thinking in terms of the trade, that’s why you’re doing, is she serious or [01:06:00] that was that just, you know what I’m saying? Or is that just how you plot it? Cause you just felt, sort of like saga.
Dan Panosian: Right. You’re a hundred percent, right? Like all these companies want it we’ll do things in five or six, issue, increments, so they can put it into a trade paperback.
and it just so happened. The way I wrote this, without that in mind was five, connecting storylines that stand on top of each other. So it works out well.
Jeff Haas: When the fifth issue ends, is it going to be okay? At a definitive end, like after, if you never made a series after the first five digits of a complete story or it doesn’t necessitate the next,
Dan Panosian: it definitely necessitates the next series.
Yeah. I mean, there’ll be a lot of questions answered, but not nearly all of them.
Jeff Haas: When, so for comic book stores, when did they need to put this into previews?
Dan Panosian: I don’t, you know, that I don’t know what all the artwork has done. All the variant covers are finished and completed. Like I said, it’s all been lettered and colored.
So, [01:07:00] I don’t know, I’m anxious to see it in there, then it becomes real. That’s kind of the exciting part of it for man and also doing more and more writing. these days it’s really kind of reignited that excitement for comic books.
Jeff Haas: Did you still get excited when you hold the print in your hand for the first time?
The printed, the finished copy?
Dan Panosian: Yeah. Yeah. Especially with slots. When that was coming out, it just seemed surreal. Like, wow. I wrote this, I drew it, I colored it. I worked with the letterer, the font, you know, the letter in font is my handwriting. it was really neat to see. I grew up. Reading, John Byrne doing everything and Walt Simons and doing everything and Frank Miller, you know, eventually doing everything.
And I wanted to follow in those footsteps. So it’s fun to watch that happen.
Jeff Haas: Yeah. I mean, for me,
Dan Panosian: at least on my level
Jeff Haas: or
Dan Panosian: level, but. Yeah,
Jeff Haas: but you’re foreclosed to their level than I will ever be. That’s been
Dan Panosian: very impressive that
[01:08:00] Jeff Haas: it’s okay. But yeah, my, and I said, I get so excited when I get a print copy on my wall.
In my living room. I have a Vandy wall where all my comics aren’t top loaders and they’re all put on the walls.
Dan Panosian: That’s cool. That’s awesome.
Jeff Haas: It means my wife is extremely tolerant, but I do have a woman has all my comic books.
Dan Panosian: I have a spinner rack. I have a vintage spinner rack that has.
But my favorite thing about being at conventions is not sitting behind a desk and signing it’s me walking around and looking at all the, you know, going through the quarter bins or going and seeing other artists and how they work or other writers and looking at their. [01:09:00] You know what they’ve brought to the table, it’s always the very best.
So you walk away from a convention feeling inspired, but also a little defeated because you’re, everybody’s showcasing their best work
Jeff Haas: and definitely a broke. I always leave even convention in having spent way more money than I had always. I usually have a backpack with come cause I wasn’t signed, but somehow I always ended up with these extra prints and complex that, you know, the ones that they sell already signed on their tables.
And then, you know, and I always end up spending way more money than ever plan before, but it’s fun. And I
Dan Panosian: go ahead carrying that bag around too. It gets heavier and heavier.
Jeff Haas: Oh, I give that back to my wife. It’s like it’s I can weave through the crowd better. No, it’s fun. And I do miss that. We’re not going to have conventions apparently for at least quite some time.
do you think you’re going to do virtual conventions at all?
Dan Panosian: I don’t see myself doing that now. for me, I mean, that kind of is not what a convention is, but I mean, I have an idea for a virtual convention and maybe the technology [01:10:00] can match it if he, you know, like roadblocks or, or.
Basically roadblocks is kind kinda the ideas. Like if you had a virtual convention where you could kind of walk through the convention floor, it doesn’t have to be graphically like a hundred percent realistic, but you can go by booths and there’d be like little semi, you know, like an advertisement for whoever’s sitting behind or for whatever publisher is there.
And you can click on that and then you’d be basically in a zoom call. With that artist or with that publisher, or obviously the representative for that publisher and looking at the catalog of what they have for sale, but also interacting, say with the artist as a writer, it is zoom scenario.
So it’d be the closest thing technology wise that we have. But I mean, I imagine the bandwidth for something like that would be incredible,
Jeff Haas: but I think it would be fun. I think a lot of combo fans. Are dying for the convention experience again, I mean, it’s one of the few times that [01:11:00] you do hang out with a group that is of your blood.
You know what I’m saying? Like minded people and yeah. and I miss it. I mean, I had a convention, I was gonna go to terrific kind of Connecticut. And that was going to be, I mean, I’ve been there a couple of times in the past I was going to usually. me and my wife do it as like a, anniversary, like vacation.
We did last, last year and it was fun and I’m going to miss the hell out of it. And unfortunately, there’s not going to be any, I don’t me run on canceled in November. So I can’t think of the next convention that’s even proposed, you know, being proposed by anybody.
Dan Panosian: Yeah. Who knows? I mean, it could be in another year.
It could be two years. I really don’t know. It’s ridiculous.
Jeff Haas: Well, hopefully we’ll have a table again. I do like having a table. So I [01:12:00] think I do enjoy the idea of the table more than the table itself with books
Dan Panosian: I’m with, essential sequential, which handles all my art sales. And luckily for me, all my buddies in comics were all represented by the same, same guys, Jason Schachter, and.
And, and it’s kinda, it’s fun. So it’s all that comradery, it’s certainly missed.
Jeff Haas: And when you get as big as you do, I assume you don’t have to pitch anymore because at my level you got to pitch like, as people come to near your table, you gotta call them over and try to sell it to them. I imagine at your level, you don’t have to worry about that anymore.
Dan Panosian: I mean, I don’t necessarily have to, but, you know, there’s usually people working, You know, doing, working the credit cards and helping out with art sales. So yeah, it’s not really my job to get people to come over and give away freebies. Usually I’m drawing commission. So my head’s down the entire time.
Jeff Haas: I would say as an artist,
[01:13:00] Dan Panosian: It’s a quit a mouth on him. Let’s put it that way. So he’s always cursing up a storm. a lot of your mother jokes. He’s kind of, he’s a big sweetheart, but he’s a. No, he’s definitely a, it comes off as a bit of a rough neck at times and it’s, you know, it’s all in fun with him. He’s a very nice guy, but, you know, if he could show up on the, you know, the Soprano’s or something like that, he’d be perfect.
So I have an idea and he’s a writer, so, he’s worked for all the major companies. And I thought since he’s, I [01:14:00] guess I’ll edit this for, you know, for the, He’s very fond of the F word. So I thought he could do it at a thing called an F U haiku. Like, it’d be customized. You’d come to him. He would look, take a look at you and then write a haiku.
and then I was, I wanted to create a stamp for him that he could put the stamp on there. And then it’s an officially be assigned a number of things. So he could actually have something to sell writing wise at these shows. And of course, you know what he said to me,
Jeff Haas: What
Dan Panosian: FIU,
Jeff Haas: I’m glad I think that would worth it. Cause my experience as a writer at a convention, I, and a lot of writers probably had the same experience when the guest comes to your table. And they’re like, did you draw all this? You say, I’m the writer. They go, okay. And they walk away from you. Like,
Dan Panosian: yeah.
So maybe I’ll like, that’ll happen with this book and kind of some Ravens because it is the first one where I’m not really drawing it. I’m doing covers in those [01:15:00] bookends. Like I mentioned, so I’m not, I won’t be getting the glory. Like Marianna would be.
Jeff Haas: Yeah, I would say they’re very, it seems like there’s a little glory in the rabbi.
I want to be like, I always say, well, I created the idea and they go, okay. And they just like leave and it’s like, okay. They go to like, next time, they’re like, Oh, can I see what your artwork looks like? I’m doing it. Cause I’m a bitch. My father advised that I grab a sketch sketchpad. I just started doodling things.
So I’m a horrible artist, but I can still do stick figures just so it looks like I’m busy doing,
Dan Panosian: you know, Donnie Cates does that. He draws a little bit of he’ll draw it like a venom or something like that. and.
Yeah, it’s not bad. I mean, he’s not going to get hired by Marvel to draw any of this, his books, but, you know, it’s fun. I think the novelty of seeing the writer actually do a drawing, you’re like, Oh my goodness. he just drew that. He’s supposed to just be the writer.
Jeff Haas: My level of art is I’m still at like the circle for a head, the little rectangle box.
Dan Panosian: Definitely Ben. when he’s doing it, he, I think maybe [01:16:00] he has it down, you know, he’s worked it out.
Jeff Haas: Experienced to, as what it is to be the writer on the project, instead of just the artist.
Dan Panosian: There’s a few writers that I know, like Brett Lewis is a pretty good artist himself. and he went to art school and, I’ve been, Brandon is a control a little bit, and he’s certainly Ivan has a great artistic eye.
He’s a great designer and understands that he could speak the language, you know? And so it can, Brett, I think that’s very helpful.
Jeff Haas: Yeah, cause I mean, we’ve talked previously on the interview with Jerry Ordway and how he started as an inker, but now he’s pretty much is I think solely does I’m writing now.
And it was interesting, you know, listen to his perspective on that and that change.
Dan Panosian: Well, I didn’t know, Jerry, I know [01:17:00] Jerry wrote a lot of the Superman stuff and he was doing a lot of writing, for a long time now, but he was also drawing quite a bit. So I didn’t know that he had switched over completely to writing Carl Kessel.
Also was like a phenomenal anchor and he became a great writer.
Jeff Haas: I think Jurgen’s at Dan Jurgens did the same thing. Right. He was an artist, but now I don’t think there’s any art anymore.
Dan Panosian: I’m not sure. I’m sure. I can’t imagine Dan not drawing, but he’s he probably does a lot of writing. Yeah.
Jeff Haas: Yeah. I mean, like I said, and I think it’s impressive.
It seems like most writers in the industry have come from arts. I don’t know that there’s been many writers who came in solely as writers.
Dan Panosian: Interesting. It was probably, I’m sure they dabbled in it. They were, you know, now you have writers coming in from all different, you know, careers and facets of like entertainment.
So. Pretty varied.
Jeff Haas: It does save you money on paying for the artists to do your page. If you can do your own, you can.
Dan Panosian: I think a writer is able to, [01:18:00] you know, in some cases, you know, write multiple books per month.
Jeff Haas: Well, I, yeah, I agree with that. The only, I would say the only issue, I think, as a writer that you have is if it’s that you’re, if you’re not, if you’re doing your own book, you’re like your Vandy press is the you’re slow by your finances of paying for the artist.
Cause you can’t. you also have the artists, you have nothing, your script on its own doesn’t really get you anywhere. so you need the artist attached. Well, I think an artist it’s easier for an, I think an artist to write their story and do the art than a writer to pay the artist. You know what I’m saying?
Dan Panosian: Totally.
Jeff Haas: So I th I mean, I do see why that would be, why, like combo people would have started an art for that reason. but like I said, I think the fact that they go into writing those show also. A desire to, like yourself to expand their creativity as well.
Dan Panosian: Oh yeah. No, I have so much fun with the writing part.
I mean, I could see myself, you know, if these things are successful, [01:19:00] transitioning more into writing,
Jeff Haas: I mean, do you, do you think it’s going to be hard? I mean, as a writer you’re obviously having full creative control, do you think it will be harder to go back to being told what to draw as a, as you know, as a higher, anchor.
Dan Panosian: I don’t plan on, I don’t plan on going back to a. too much. I mean, I, to primarily write all, all the work I draw, I have something planned with a very popular, very talented, writer that we’re going to do together. I’ll see, we’ll see how that goes. And I’m sure. Just based on this, guy’s writing resume, it’s going to go phenomenal.
So, and we get along very well. So I hopefully that’ll be great. I’d love to talk about that. when things are a little firmed up.
Jeff Haas: Yeah. can you give a hint at who this person is, or you can’t yet?
Dan Panosian: He’s very popular at DC. but he’s also done quite a bit of, you know, image work as well.
Jeff Haas: Oh God, no, you’re gonna have me playing this game in my head for the next few days that went out.
Dan Panosian: I’ll say he said he’s a top three writer, for sure. So it’s one of those things where. [01:20:00] It’s a great opportunity to write work with a very talented, writer and, you know, the genre that he and I are going to be working on is right up my alley.
So I, there’s no way I can say no to it. Well,
Jeff Haas: like I said, anytime you want to come back on and discuss this book, we will, I would absolutely love to have you. you’ve been an absolute pleasure.
Dan Panosian: Thank you, likewise.
Jeff Haas: Thank you.
Dan Panosian: Oh, certainly. if you’re interested in, keeping up with what I, whatever lunacy I’m up to, I’m at urban barbarian on Twitter, urban barbarian on Instagram.
I have, it’s just damn Pat ocean on Facebook. And I think that’s about all the social media I can handle and probably all of the social media you could probably handle for me.
Jeff Haas: Have a very good night.
Dan Panosian: Okay. You too.
Jeff Haas: Bye.