The Underwater Welder by Jeff Lemire
Genre: Fiction, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
Publication Date: 2012
The Short Version:
Jack Joseph is the titular Underwater Welder who lost his own father as a child and now faces the birth of his own first child.
Why I Read It:
I have become a huge fan of Jeff Lemire’s work so when I spotted this at the library I had to get it.
From the publisher:
WARNING: CONTENTS UNDER PRESSURE.
As an underwater welder on an oil rig off the coast of Nova Scotia, Jack Joseph is used to the immense pressures of deep-sea work. Nothing, however, could prepare him for the pressures of impending fatherhood. As Jack dives deeper and deeper, he seems to pull further and further away from his young wife and their unborn son. Then one night, deep in the icy solitude of the ocean floor, something unexplainable happens. Jack has a mysterious and supernatural encounter that will change the course of his life forever.
Equal parts blue-collar character study and mind-bending mystery, The Underwater Welder is a graphic novel about fathers and sons, birth and death, memory and reality, and the treasures we all bury deep below the surface.
In the introduction Damon Lindelof (of TV’s Lost) describes this as “the most spectacular episode of The Twilight Zone that was never produced”. He is absolutely correct.
I adored this book. After I finished reading it I waited to return it to the library until the day it was due just because I wanted to keep the characters and emotions near me as long as possible.
Jeff Lemire has an amazing ability to convey so much story and emotion with minimal dialog and often minimalistic art. It’s all black, white and gray but that doesn’t limit Lemire in the least. There are times when I turned a page and the art was full of so much detail, emotion and story that it took my breath away and there wasn’t a single word on the page.
Jack is a flawed man. He loves his wife but while she is eagerly anticipating the birth of thier son Jack is still troubled by the loss of his own father when he was a child. This book explores so much about relationships and what it means to be a son, a man and a father.
Preview pages are available at Comics Alliance.
Do yourself a favor and read this amazing book.