Interview With Dan Slott, Comic Book Writer
Many readers of this page may have no clue who Dan Slott is, but
after reading my interview with him, you will, as I do, appreciate his work. Dan
has written stories for the Looney Tunes series for DC comics off and on
since its conception, collaborating mostly with David Alvarez, the wonderful
cartoonist who currently draws the stories. Two of his stories, "Snow Way Out"
and "Fwanken-Tweety", have been published in a collection of the best Looney
Tunes comics adaptations from 1941-1998, Bugs Bunny and Friends: A Comic Celebration.
A list of Mr. Slott's writing credits for Looney Tunes:
LT #13: Foghorn in "Mr. Marm" (miscredited)
LT #20: Bugs in "Bohemian
LT #25: Speedy & Daffy in "Raiders of the Lost Art" (co-written w/
LT #25: Sylvester & Tweety in "Sense and Insensitivity"
(co-written w/ Dana Kurtin)
LT #26: Sylvester & Tweety in "Psylvester"
(co-written w/ Dana Kurtin)
LT #44: Slyvester & Tweety in
LT #47: Wile E. Coyote in "Snow Way Out"
LT #49: Foghorn
in "Tree for All"
LT #50: Speedy & Sylvester in "Mystery Bait"
Road Runner in "Coyote Commando" (miscredited)
LT #52: Sam & Ralph in
"Shake Well Before Ewes"
LT #57: Road Runner in "Claws & Effect!"
#59: Road Runner in "Tanks But No Tanks"
LT #62: Foghorn in "My Little
LT #65: Road Runner in "Bird's Eye View"
LT #70: Elmer in
"Reach Out and Bugs Someone"
LT #75: Daffy Duck and EVERYBODY in "A Hare Gone
Conclusion" (special feature length 75th issue blowout!)
LT #89: Bugs in "You
Can Count on Me"
and a special Chuck Jones tribute story, "One for the
Road" which will appear in LT #93.
Special thanks to Dan Slott for taking the time to talk
about his experience in doing stories the great Looney Tunes series. The
Looney Tunes characters are in great creative hands! Below is a list of
questions I asked him, and his very interesting answers.
1. How and when did you become involved in the comics business, and the Looney Tunes series particularly?
Dan: Katie Main (a Looney Tunes Editor from a long time ago) approached me about
writing some stuff at the San Diego Comic Con back in '93. Back then I was the
writer for Marvel's Ren & Stimpy comic, and was enjoying a nice wave of hype
and buzz-- when it came to humor writing. (Boy, it sure is nice when THEY come
to you... Sigh...)
2. What other series of comics have you written/drawn for?
Dan: Well, like I said before, I was the writer
for the first two years of the Ren & Stimpy comic. I've also worked
on Scooby Doo, Pinky & The Brain, Animaniacs, Teenage Mutant Ninja
Turtles, Disney's Aladdin, Earthworm Jim, Superman Adventures, and a slew of
superhero books. Right now, I'm one of the writers for DC's Justice League
Adventures comic (Issue #6 is still on sale! Plug, pluggitty, plug, plug,
3. What is your favorite Looney Tunes work? I can tell you my
favorite that you've done: "Snow Way Out" with the Roadrunner and Wile E.
Dan: Thanks. That one was a hoot, wasn't it? David Alvarez
totally sold every gag in that story! He is a cartooning GOD! All must bow down
before him! (And he's a really nice guy to boot!) My favorite, just because of
the sheer effort it took from everyone involved and how well it all came
together-- is LOONEY TUNES #75! It was a big, blow-the-doors-off story that
involved PRACTICALLY EVERY LOONEY TUNES CHARACTER that EVER locked horns with
Bugs Bunny! By the time that issue was finished, everyone involved knew EVERY
bit of Bugs Bunny continuity backwards and forwards. It was like we had all come
down with "Rabbit-itus"!
The hardest part about that issue, for me, was
coming up with NEW spins on ALL of the old Bugs Bunny gags. Phew! But, for the
final product, it was sooooo worth it!
Above: how many Bugs Bunny villains can YOU identify? from
LOONEY TUNES, issue #75 "Who Killed Bugs?!"
4. Who is your favorite character to write about?
Dan: My favorite Looney Tune character, without a doubt, is Foghorn Leghorn. Especially when he's
paired off against Egghead.
Above:from Looney Tunes issue #62: "My Little Chick-a-dope".
Foghorn sends Henery Hawk on a wild goosechase to find out what a chicken
is...this scene with the Wackyland Dodo is only one of the bizarre happenings.
for example, Henery also brings Foggy a stealth bomber plane!)
5. Do you write a script for the artists to draw from, or do you create a rough
storyboard of drawings, or even draw some of the panels? I've heard of it being
done either way, curious to read how you and your colleagues do it.
I just write it out. And then David Alvarez works his magic! I swear to God, he
makes my job SO easy! I could just write down the most tired gag in the world,
like: "And then he gets hit by a pie." And David would not only sell it-- but
make ME look a comic genius for writing it! That man is brilliant! All hail
David Alvarez! (Did I mention yet how much I enjoy working with David? Just
6. How do you come up with funny gags and ideas for your
stories? So much of today's comic book output is serious, and there are not near
as many cartoon-related comics as there were in, say, the 1940's, 50's, and
60's, when 'funnybooks' were most popular...it's good to know that there are
some folks still keeping the art of funny comic books alive. Do you have to
think more like a comic-strip artist or a cartoon director?
Dan: I can't really say if there's a definite process. I just try to keep the
characters in character, put them in a situation I can mine for gags, and make
sure I've got a good end joke to go out on. Something I learned from my pal (and
comic genius) Mike Kazaleh, is that you HAVE to give the characters room for
reaction shots-- have to treat them like comic actors and give them their
"takes", "double takes", and moments to "mug" to the audience.
A lot of
writers forget to do that in humor comics. And its a shame, because it really
gives guys like Mike and David a chance to shine. It's not going over the cliff
that makes Wile E. Coyote funny. And it's not when he hits the ground. And it's
not even that MOMENT when he realizes-- OH NO, I'M GONNA FALL! It's THAT MOMENT
RIGHT AFTER when he looks right at US, as if to say "Pity me." or "Here we go
again." or "I'm never going to GET that bird, am I?" or even "You know... I'm
doing this all for your amusement, you sick bastard." THAT'S WHEN HE'S
Oh, and before I forget, the MOST important step in all of my stuff is
running it past my "Think Tank" and hearing their opinions. I've got these poor,
noble, magnanimous friends who put up with listening to ALL of my ideas! I can't
come up with a stray thought without calling somebody up and asking, "Is this
funny?" or "Does this work?" or "What if I did THIS instead?". Their feedback is
invaluable! So a massive tip of the hat to Tom Brevoort, Manny Galán, Ty
Templeton, James Fry, Mike Siglain, Harvey Richards, and Toby
7. Does DC or Warner Bros. tell its comics staff on Looney
Tunes what characters to write about, like "Hey, we need a Bugs story this month
and a Sylvester the next", or do you guys have free reign of the series? That is
what made the original films so great, the fact that the creators were left
alone to be creative.
One of my old Looney Tunes editors, Dana
Kurtin, would call me up and say, "We need a Sylvester and Tweety story." But,
for the most part, I'd have to say I've got a lot of free reign. It all depends
upon the individual editor. For example, Katie Main WOULDN'T let me do the "Snow
Way Out" story because she didn't think Wile E. Coyote should MEET Playboy
had to save that one until the editorial office changed over to Dana's hands.
And Heidi MacDonald let me do the freakishly bizarre "My Little Chick-A-Dope"
story... which, I don't think ANYBODY else would've let me do. And the current
editor, Joan Hilty is SO fantastic... she let me do a VERY non-PC gag that...
well... it would sound almost perverse if I wrote it out here... just check out
LOONEY TUNES #75, PAGE 7, PANEL SIX to see what I mean. HOO BOY!
above: a rather off-color gag from issue#75: page
7, panels 3-6
8. Do the LT comics sell well, to your knowledge? To be honest, I think they are
much better than any of the old classic era comics by Dell/Goldkey, and they're
much more entertaining than some of the modern animation projects at Warner
Bros. The reason I ask about their popularity is because I have a hard time
finding them here in Texas at all. Whenever I'm in any other state, (New York
and Pennsylvania both seem to have them at every news stand) they're all over
the place, but not even the comic stores have them here in Fort
The little known fact about Looney Tunes comics is that they
do GREAT abroad. There are tons of foreign countries that don't care one bit
about Batman, Spawn, or X-Men... but they LOVE Looney Tunes! DC comics will be
publishing LOONEY TUNES till the end of time! Because no matter HOW they sell
here, there are a ga-zillion foreigners who can't get enough of
9. Any plans for the future, like how long this wonderful series
will continue, or anything of note in future issues? You mentioned a chuck Jones
tribute...what's that like?
The Chuck Jones tribute story will run in
Looney Tunes #93. Looney Tunes is scheduled so far in advance that that was the
earliest possible issue it could be slated into. I wrote it just a few days
after Chuck Jones passed away. It's a six page love letter to Chuck's legacy.
Chuck Jones was a legend that will never be matched.
A much larger tribute
will probably appear in Looney Tunes #100. But I felt it was important to do
something immediately. And I am SO appreciative to editor Joan Hilty for
rescheduling #93 so David and I could have a forum for our overly-sentimental
10. Of the classic Warner Bros. cartoons, which particular
short or series of shorts is your favorite, and why? I can tell that Chuck
Jones' work is an influence. Which of his works is your
It's a toss up between "Duck, Rabbit, Duck" and "Duck
Amuck." In one, the comic timing is spot-on-perfect! You just won't see any
better! And in the other, imagination is allowed to run wild in the most amazing
ways! I know you're supposed to say your favorite Chuck Jones' cartoons are "One
Froggy Evening" or "The Dot and the Line"... and I'm not knocking those--
they're both amazing! But the patter in "Duck, Rabbit, Duck" and the free-form
lunacy of "Duck Amuck" just floor me EVERY SINGLE TIME! Thank god we live in a
world that had Chuck Jones in it!
11. Any other comments? Say anything you think needs to be that I haven't
You know... If you look at my rambling answers... I've
probably said too much as it is! Anyone who's made it through this non-stop
babble-fest... Give yourself a gold star. You've earned
Article © Dan Slott and Matthew Hunter. Looney Tunes:© Aol/Time Warner
Inc., (comic book images © DC Comics)