THE UNDERWATER WELDER
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Jeff Lemire
Release Date: July 25, 2012 (currently available digitally and at SDCC)
If you want, you can stop reading right there and go get yourself a copy as fast as you can. If this piece of art does not sell out quickly I will be both shocked and dismayed as it is one of the highest quality pieces of work that I have read in a very long time. The Underwater Welder has “Eisner” written all over it and Lemire has just added another amazing entry to his already extensive list of great works. Lemire’s story is many things at once: heartbreaking, heartwarming, eerie, mystical, fantastical, emotional, and a great tale of a conflicted man searching for answers to riddles that have plagued his entire life. I do not know how close to home some of this subject matter is for Lemire, but this work feels extremely personal: like a man telling his story with the complex, and often contradictory, emotions we have all felt at some points or another. The Underwater Welder is a fantastic example of how great a medium comic books are for storytelling. This story would not have had anywhere near the impact it did without the visuals Lemire provided, nor would it have the same impact on film. This is a fantastic comic book written by a creator who is at the top of his game. This is one of those rare books that I’ll actually say ‘must-read’ for as I think any comic reader can find value within its pages.
Lemire’s art has an extremely unique style to it that dramatically enhances this story. His choice for facial structures and shapes evokes the emotions he is describing very well and while the art is not “perfect” in the sense 100% consistent lines across all pages of the book, it is perfect for this story. There are visuals in this graphic novel that are absolutely stunning and Lemire does an excellent job of framing moments within the story for maximum emotional impact.
This is a graphic novel that I will read many times over the coming months and years as it is one of the highest quality works from start to finish that I have seen in a very long time. I tip my cap to you, Mr. Lemire, The Underwater Welder is fantastic.