A band that sings songs about dicks and unicorns makes a coloring book. This couldn’t possibly go wrong, could it? Well…
Ninja Sex Party Coloring Book
Lindsay Lee and David Calcano (writing); Alberto Belandario, Samuel Blanco, Greg Chen, Lindsay Lee, Ittai Manero, Juan Riera (art)
November 13, 2019
Ninja Sex Party is a humor-heavy band ostensibly made up of a deadly, murder-happy keyboard playing ninja (Brian Wecht) and a sex-obsessed, singinging trainwreck of an ex-ninja who gave up the field because he wanted to dance (Dan Avidan). Their album, Cool Patrol, was Billboard’s number one comedy album last year. Their most recent album, the third volume of their Under the Covers series of cover albums, became a No. 1 selling album on Amazon for a few days after its release in November 2019. The band signed to William Morris Entertainment this year, and partnered with Fantoons to produce its first coloring book as part of the band’s 10th anniversary.
It’s an endeavor that mostly produces wins with a few losses. The book, like the band, is at its best when it turns its cheerfully good-natured naughtiness in on itself. A standout is a drawing based on their song “The Decision,” which moves the setting of the song to the set of a Dating Game-like gameshow, with Ninja Brian and Danny as contestants. A scene capturing Ninja Brian’s wildly popular kissing booth — with Danny beside him in his own booth, unable to even give his kisses away for free — illustrates this principle well.
There are more visually dynamic pieces in the book — like an illustration for the band’s song “First Date” that looks like the cover of a GTA game, an illustration done in the style of Max Fleischer, or one that looks like a still from a or a drawing in which Danny, sitting on the back of a unicorn, charges at the viewer — but none of them made me laugh quite as much.
Less creative illos just redraw pictures from album liner notes or stills from the band’s videos, but with new backgrounds or characters and prove visually boring with little incentive to creative coloring. While lack of signatures make it hard to tell the work of individual artists apart, a good quarter of the book’s drawings have a mediocre sameness leading to likenesses that aren’t the best. At their worst, Danny looks like a shambling, grinning yeti instead of a human being.
A few of the drawings break with NSP’s mission statement of fair balance (no matter, they say, how many women in bikinis show up in their videos, the women always come out on top, and the guys are always written as fools). There’s an illustration where Danny is fawned over by the Sailor Scouts — a creepy notion, as they’re all teenagers and he’s 40. In another, Danny traverses a planet made entirely out of naked women — a visual reference to a Rush album cover that doesn’t quite work. In fact, there’s a lot of naked women on all fours crawling around in a subservient way in these illustrations, a disappointing sight for a band that has with only moderate frequency used leg-clinging, bikini clad women as an iconographical image. Otherwise they have been careful to make sure the joke’s on Danny and Brian, and, with only a few exceptions (“Pour Some Sugar on Me” music video, I’m looking at you) have managed to avoid overtly sexist nonsense in their music videos.
Ninja Sex Party’s Coloring Book will provide fans with an amusing distraction, at the very least, but the mediocre art and high price tag ($17.99 with shipping) means that they should wait for a sale before shelling out.