Roth both wrote and drew the project which is a sort of multimedia infinite scroller with audio — narration and music — that plays in sync with the images. There are also animated scenes. I’ve seen many of these multimedia projects come and go and they never quite work and this one is a bit harrowing to scroll through. Props to Roth for putting in all the work, however.
But it’s not his first “comics” venture. Roth is a free spirit who quit Van Halen to become a movie star, and spent time as an actual EMT in New York City before coming back to the band in 2007. In recent days, forced away from touring like most musicians, he’s turned to making art, including a comic strip called “Soggy Bottom” that he posts on his social media:
— David Lee Roth (@DavidLeeRoth) September 28, 2020
According to a NYT profile earlier this year, Roth picked up the pen and ink during his coronavirus lockdown, but he’d long been interested in art.
My approach is the best of both worlds: vintage and hyper-atomic digital. Sort of like watching “Dragnet” on your iPad. You know, I moved to Japan for two-plus years to study Sumi-e and calligraphy, and four nights a week I trained and then I did homework. Jesus, I’ve spent thousands of hours learning to operate a horsehair brush with a block of ink that I grind myself. Hasn’t changed its recipe in 700 years.
So everything in the comics is hand-drawn — all the typeface, all the colors, the line work, the lighting. And once I’m done, I work with Colin Smith, the Led Zeppelin of Adobe Photoshop. Together we scan everything, and then I’m able to move into areas that otherwise weren’t graphically available without decades of effort.
Roth does have a presentable line, but I would say he needs to work on his hand lettering a bit. Always with the lettering.
At any rate, this is one of the more unusual online comics projects I’ve seen in a while; perhaps chemical enhancement would aid the experience. Or perhaps it’s its own crazy thing that speaks for itself — crazy from the heat.