Finally, a local zine about ninjas

Cult MTL talks with musician and illustrator Adam Waito about his new zine NINJA FACTS, launching this week.


Illustration from NINJA FACTS.

Whether you realize it or not, you’re probably already an Adam Waito fan. The musician and illustrator has drawn legions of show posters, lifting pop cultural references and twisting them into fun, poppy single-panel comics, executed with sketchy line work and high-contrast colours. He’s also played in a litany of local groups, including Miracle Fortress, Adam and the Amethysts and new synthy doo wop outfit Silverkeys.

This week, Waito launches his latest project, NINJA FACTS, a self-published comic-diagram zine exploring the history and mythology of the masked martial artist. He’s also created a ninja-themed window display at Citizen Vintage, which will be unveiled at the zine’s launch party.

Cult MTL chatted with the city’s newly minted ninja expert.

Emily Raine: Tell me a bit about the book.

Adam Waito: I wanted to make something funny and quirky and draw ninjas from cheesy, ‘80s pop culture and reference these sorts of things. But somewhere along the way I got sucked into reading about the actual historical basis for the ninja, and I kind of just went from there. I ended up with a book, in the end, about actual historical ninjas.

ER: Why ninjas?

AW: In my posters and stuff, I’m grabbing from all over, subjects from pop culture and drawing them and making them do funny things, and eventually I guess the wheel landed on ninjas. As someone who grew up in the ‘80s and ‘90s, ninjas were a really common pop cultural touchstone. They were just in so many movies and video games and toys; they were just really popular. In the ‘80s, there was a real ninja craze.

lady-ninja-webKung fu movies were really popular in the ‘70s, and they rebranded kung fu movies in the ‘80s as ninja movies to try to sell them because ninjas were so popular. There were ninja magazines. The image resonates with me because I grew up around this, and it gives me a little bit of joy to think about those little masked guys with swords and throwing stars and nunchuks. It’s fun.

ER: Is this your first book?

AW: I guess technically it would be my first. I made a comic book when I was like 13, but I don’t think that really counts.

ER: What other projects do you have on the go?

AW: I kind of just started a new band, that’s in some ways sort of a continuation of Adam and the Amethysts, called Silverkeys. We’re playing on November 2 at Casa del Popolo. ■

NINJA FACTS launch party, with tunes from DJ Miracle Fortress, happens at Citizen Vintage (5330 St-Laurent) on Thursday, Oct. 3 , 6–9 p.m., free

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