Sometime around during 2011/12 The Victim party had a particularly silly band practice and came up with the idea to release a full length album about themselves – with each song devoted to an individual TVP member, past and present. They thought “Getting to Know The Victim Party” sounded so ridiculous that it just might be awesome. They wrote 9 songs in total for the album, an intro, an outro, and then were faced with the question of how to release this egocentric collection of songs. ? A CD seemed too 90s, and TVP has already put out a vinyl LP and EP, so what was left? A strictly digital release? Nah, even in this modern age people want something tangible to put in their hands. So they talked and talked and talked and talked, and drank, and forgot most of our conversations. But eventually the band came up with an idea to combine a digital release with a different medium – the 9th art, the comic book, or, in this case, the graphic novel. Comics had collided with punk rock many a time throughout the years, but TVP thought they were being particularly clever by making the physical release a graphic novel, with a bookmark which would serve as a download card. As far as they could tell, no one had ever done this before. Sure, bands had released comics that accompanied their CDs or records, but this was just going to be a comic.
Colin, being the only art school dropout in the band took on the task of drawing the books interior, while former bass player Adam Cook took on the task of creating the cover. The first hurdle that ws encountered was the problem of fitting 6 or 7 people into each panel. It was annoying and made the pages look cramped, not to mention that Colin just couldn’t draw Dean’s nose right, no matter how hard he tried. To remedy this, TVP decided that the band would not appear as themselves but would be represented by two anthropomorphic characters. One would be called Bear, and the other Chimp. This, of course, posed a new set of problems. Who among the band was Bear and who was Chimp? After arguing ferociously about who in the band was the hairiest and who looked the most like a short primate, they decided, that too many tears had already been shed, so the only thing to do was deem Bear and Chimp sexless, ageless creatures, that didn’t represent any one member of the band but The Victim Party as a whole. After all, there was a little honey eating hibernator, and rudimentary tool user in each of us.
The next hurdle they faced was how to make this comic something worth reading? Was each song just going to be a short vignette about a particular band member, or simply a visual representation of each song’s lyrics? Or was there something that could connect each song into a bigger story?
They’re not sure if it was fate, demonic intervention, or simply the bi-product of high functioning alcoholism but, TVP eventually came up with a story arc for Bear and Chimp that could link each song together. And at this point, the comic diverted from being just about The Victim Party, and evolved into an inter-species love story. The love affair of Bear and Chimp was the tale they were going to tell visually, and the more they worked on it, the more they noticed how much each of band member had in common with these two beasts. Their inter-band relationships seemed to mirror those of their animal protagonists. Bear and Chimp shared the bands triumphs and failures, their fears and desires. They partied like TVP. They woke up hungover and crippled with remorse just like TVP. This got the band even more excited for the project as it became apparent that as a piece of art, it worked on two separate levels, involving to separate but intertwined narratives. Sonically you get a character study of 7 dysfunctional musicians, and visually you get a tragic cartoon love story that parallels the multitude of relationships that make up a musical group.
So, with their new and exciting (all be it gimmicky) idea for their next release, TVP was faced with the same problem every band faces….NO
At first the idea of using crowd-sourcing to fund GTKTVP made the band uncomfortable. “Isn’t this just internet panhandling?” they asked. “What if we try it and no one donates? Can we get our shit together and make a decent campaign video?” After answering these questions, with their well known motto, “bah, none of this matters,” they launched their indie-go-go campaign in the winter of 2013. And much to their surprise, it was a rousing success. Not only did they achieve their goal, they surpassed it by over $1300. With their new funds they wasted no time and hit the studio immediately.
They’re choice for a producer/engineer was an easy one: it needed to be Drive Studio with Steve Rizun (The Flatliners, The Creepshow, Comeback Kid). With some band members having already worked with Steve, they knew that he could deliver them the right sound that they wanted for GTKTP.