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The Underwater Welder Paperback – August 7, 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Top Shelf Productions (August 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1603090746
  • ISBN-13: 978-1603090742
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 6.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,922 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Though his and Susan’s first baby is due within the month, Jack Joseph opts for another two weeks away at his welding job on the oil rig offshore from his Nova Scotia hometown. He feels compelled to be “down there”—his salvager father’s term for being in deep water—especially now, on Halloween, the day his dad disappeared more than 20 years earlier. On the first dive of his shift, however, Jack sees something and loses consciousness. After being hauled out and dry-docked, he insists on going back, surreptitiously. This time, he gets unstuck in time before, during, and, most portentously, after the dive. In an introductory note, TV producer Damon Lindelof (LOST) enthuses that The Underwater Welder is like a terrific Twilight Zone episode, but that’s just the half of it. Lemire combines his characteristic sketchy line work, deftly deployed small areas of pure black, plenty of moody watercolor shading (particularly when underwater), and a predominance of wider-than-high panels to realize a visually stunning analogue of the subtle, old-fashioned, black-and-white-movie creep show. --Ray Olson

More About the Author

Award-winning Canadian cartoonist Jeff Lemire is the creator of the acclaimed monthly comic book series SWEET TOOTH published by DC/Vertigo and the award winning graphic novel ESSEX COUNTY published by Top Shelf. He also writes ANIMAL MAN, FRANKENSTEIN AGENT OF S.H.A.D.E. and SUPERBOY for DC Comics.

In 2008 Jeff won the Schuster Award for Best Canadian Cartoonist, and The Doug Wright Award for Best Emerging Talent. He also won the American Library Association's prestigious Alex Award, recognizing books for adults with specific teen appeal. In 2010 Essex County was named as one of the five Essential Canadian Novels of the Decade!

Recently named one of Wizard magazines 25 "rising stars", Jeff is also hard at work on a new graphic novel for Top Shelf called THE UNDERWATER WELDER, due in 2012. He currently lives and works in Toronto with his wife and son.

Customer Reviews

A must read for all comic book fans!
Great storytelling by Jeff Lemire, I thought the black and white sketch-style artwork worked very well for this particular story.
Gerardo Calderon
It's rough and encompassing, much like the story itself.
B R Sanders

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Sam Quixote TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
Jack Joseph has a wife with a baby on the way and a job welding pipes underwater for an oil rig off the coast of Nova Scotia in the small town he grew up in. Things should be great - good job, happy family - but Jack's haunted by the disappearance of his father 20 years ago who went diving one night during Hallowe'en and never returned. His dreams have seeped over from the night into the daytime and under the sea, welding pipes, he begins to see and hear things from those dreams. And lately his dreams have seemed so real.

Jeff Lemire's impressive comics career has really taken off in the last couple years with his brilliant creator-owned "Sweet Tooth" series for Vertigo, his one-off book "The Nobody", and signing on to DC's New 52 reboot series "Animal Man" and "Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE", and he continues this successful streak with the excellent story of "The Underwater Welder". It reads a lot like a Twilight Zone episode with supernatural elements creeping into the story early on before totally submerging it (pun intended) and taking the reader with it.

Lemire's line-work in his art is perfectly suited to the ghostly story presented here with many disturbing elements such as Joseph's father's alcoholic face staring out of an obituary page to the reader or the surreal experiences Joseph experiences under the waves. The parallels between Joseph and his father's life is also haunting as Lemire merges the two into an intertwining and complex storyline that adds to the feeling of unease this reader felt as the story unfolded.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By D. Scott VINE VOICE on August 16, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jeff Lemire's The Underwater Welder plays out as the best Twilight Zone episode never produced. His best work yet, Lemire's subtle and powerful storytelling takes us from the rural Ontario of the Eisner and Harvey Award-nominated Essex County Trilogy to the hauntingly beautiful undersea world of Jack Joseph, an underwater welder on an oil rig off the coast of Nova Scotia Canada.

Jack moves back to his small Canadian hometown with his wife Suzie, who is 9 months pregnant. Things look fine with his exotic job as an underwater welder on an offshore oil rig until one day at work when Jack is visited by the ghost of his long dead father, a salvage diver in these same waters. As he struggles to come to grips with his visions, we gradually realize that Jack is a man haunted by his past. Through a series of very well done flashbacks, we learn about Jack's childhood, his divorced parents, and why Jack has a particularly difficult time with the holiday of Halloween.

Jeff Lemire captures the subtle mood and lonely feel of a small Canadian maritime town perfectly, and the underwater scenes are simply breathtaking. The eerie story drew me in immediately, and sweeps along with weird twists and turns coming at such a rate that I couldn't put it down. With The Underwater Welder, Jeff Lemire redefines the boundries of the graphic novel yet again. Rod Serling would be proud.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dave Bell Jr. on February 3, 2013
Format: Paperback
This story has been billed as "the greatest Twilight Zone episode never made," and that statement hits the nail right on the head.

The story is finely crafted, the characterization well-rounded, and the pacing smooth. My only complaint about the book is that the art style takes some getting used to during the earlier parts of the story. That said, it works well during the sci-fi-heavy segments.

Bottom-line: this is a very good book a I highly recommend any comics fan spend their hard-earned money on it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Adam B. on February 9, 2014
Format: Paperback
The Underwater Welder, by Canadian author and artist Jeff Lemire is a book that, upon completion, my only regret was that it took me so long to get around to purchasing. The story follows a Canadian (oil rig) welder, Jack Joseph, from a small coastal town in Nova Scotia. As Halloween approaches, Jack navigates his strained marital relationship, further complicated by the imminent arrival of a baby as well as the haunting memories of the mysterious disappearance of his own father on Halloween two decades prior. To delve further into the plot would be to spoil the mystery and impact of the narrative.

The story itself combines the best elements of a good Twilight Zone episode with the heart of a writer who seems to be providing just as much autobiography as he is fiction. The grayscale lends itself perfectly to the haunting sense of mystery throughout the book, while Lemire's linework gives a sense of frailty to characters in a story centered around falling out with the ones you love. Lemire makes a strong sense of foreshadowing; he writes clearly different scenes with a sense of deja vu', not only for the characters, but also for the readers. The sense of character built up within 224 pages is astounding; this book, though significantly shorter, should be regarded along with the best indie graphic novels.

Though independent titles tend to be pushed to the side by comic fans in order to complete a more mainstream title (such as the latest Batman event), I absolutely recommend you pick this up now. The mainstreams will be there when you finish this. Sit down and read it when you have an hour or two to dedicate to the book entirely, and let it pull you in. You won't regret it.
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