After seven albums, a million YouTube subscribers, and several world tours, musical comedy duo Ninja Sex Party have set their sights on another art medium — comics. Dan Avidan (Danny Sexbang) and Brian Wecht (Ninja Brian), in collaboration with Fantoons, have come together to create Ninja Sex Party: The Graphic Novel, Part I: Origins.
The 120-page graphic novel tells the stories of Dan and Brian’s early lives, up to the moment where they meet and form Ninja Sex Party. It’s full of both heart and humor, as well as excellent art and really cool storytelling techniques. (You can check out the full, spoiler-free review.)
The band was kind enough to discuss the project recently, addressing their creative process, their collaborators, and the origins of the project, among other topics. Ninja Sex Party: The Graphic Novel, Part I: Origins is available now.
AIPT: First of all, the book is dope. Please tell me about working with David Calcano, Lindsay Lee, and all of the incredible artists who collaborated on this with you.
Dan Avidan: Thanks, Nicole! David, Lindsay, and the rest of the folks at Fantoons are awesome. They are great artists who are passionate about music, so there was no doubt in my mind the project was going to turn out great.
AIPT: You both have very different story-telling styles. Dan, you have a lot of dialogue in your section. Brian, you focus more on narration. What factored into that for each of you?
DA: I don’t know if it was really a conscious decision. I guess it was mostly because the comics I read growing up were very “show don’t tell” as far as the story goes. It felt like the right way to go about it for me.
Brian Wecht: In my case, this was really driven by David and Fantoons. They were the comic experts and thought this would be the best way of telling the story. Also, it’s fitting given that Ninja Brian doesn’t speak.
AIPT: Your two sections have different art styles, too. The coloring specifically stood out to me. Can you speak to that?
DA: Our characters each have their own basic color schemes when it comes to their costumes. (Blue and red for me, black and yellow for Brian). The folks at Fantoons had the idea to incorporate those specific colors into our individual stories. It looks great in my opinion!
AIPT: Where did this project originate? Why did you guys want to tell your own personal stories?
BW: It came from David Calcano and Fantoons, who pitched us the idea of doing a nonfiction graphic novel. It sounded like a fun idea, as well as a thing we hadn’t tried before, so we were all in! Our fans have always responded well when we tell true personal stories, so we thought this would be something they’d really enjoy, too.
AIPT: Would you want to do another comic about Danny Sexbang and Ninja Brian? I feel like a story like the one depicted in Attitude City would make for a great graphic novel.
DA: I’d certainly be open to anything. This process was really fun for us. The hardest part of any new project is generally finding cool people to work with and we lucked out immediately on that front.
AIPT: I feel like you were on tour for most of 2019. When did you find the time and energy to work on this project?
DA: Touring is intense but there can also be a lot of downtime between shows. The ability to work remotely and send ideas back and forth to David from our laptops gave us something to do on the bus. I’m sure this would have been a lot harder to do in the 80s!
AIPT: How close are we to getting Part II?
BW: We’re working on it right now! It’s currently in the writing phase, but we’ve already done most of the interview process with David Calcano that formed the backbone of Volume One.
AIPT: Brian, I loved Rachel’s section in your half of the book. Can you tell me about creating that part? It’s a really nice moment.
BW: That part is adapted from a really wonderful live piece Rachel used to do at storytelling shows. We sent Fantoons a recording of Rachel telling her story, and they molded it into what you see in the book.
AIPT: Dan, what’s it like having your own graphic novel on the shelves after working in a comic shop?
DA: It’s really gratifying and something I never could have imagined when we started the band. I got fired from that comic store, and from that moment decided to put all my energy into NSP. The idea that this book will be on the exact same shelves I used to stock is certainly a wild feeling of everything coming full circle!
AIPT: One of the things I picked up from reading this book was a feeling of hope — that everything bad that happens may be leading you to something better. With all of the parallels in your stories, do you feel like that’s the case? That maybe NSP was always in the cards for you?
BW: While it’s not true that everything is always leading to something better, I think it is true that taking chances and never giving up hope is the best way to live your life. Things won’t always work out – we’re very lucky that they did in our case – but at least you’ll be able to say that you gave it a go. When I left academics for NSP, it was far from a sure thing. But even if we hadn’t succeeded, I would have been making the right decision.
DA: That’s exactly right. It’s an old cliche that the biggest regrets aren’t your failures, but the things you didn’t try. I started pursuing music full-time when I was 21 and didn’t have a break- through until I was 34, so there were plenty of moments where a successful outcome didn’t feel pre-ordained, or even likely. But hey, if you only get one life, you might as well take a shot spending it doing what you love…and if you’re going to take that shot, it might as well be your best shot over a long period of time.
Ninja Sex Party: The Graphic Novel, Part I: Origins hit shelves today.