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The Underwater Welder Paperback – August 9, 2012

73 customer reviews

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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
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Top Shelf Productions (August 9, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1603090746
  • ISBN-13: 978-1603090742
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 7 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,007 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

New York Times Bestselling author Jeff Lemire has built a unique career as both the writer and artist of acclaimed literary graphic novels like Essex County, The Underwater Welder, Sweet Tooth and Trillium and also as one of the most popular writers of mainstream superhero comics with acclaimed runs on such titles as Green Arrow, Animal Man, Justice League and Hawkeye for Marvel and DC Comics.

Current projects include the original graphic novel ROUGHNECK to be published by Simon and Schuster in 2016, as well as the science fiction series DESCENDER with Dustin Nguyen and A.D. with Scott Snyder.

In 2008 and in 2013 Jeff won the Schuster Award for Best Canadian Cartoonist. He has also received The Doug Wright Award for Best Emerging Talent and the American Library Association's prestigious Alex Award, recognizing books for adults with specific teen appeal. He has also been nominated for 8 Eisner awards, 7 Harvey Awards and 8 Shuster Awards.
In 2010 Essex County became the first graphic novel to be included in the prestigious Canada Reads contest making it to the final five and winning the people's choice vote as best Canadian novel of the decade.

He lives in Toronto with his wife and son.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 28 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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10 of 10 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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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Andy Shuping on August 2, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jeff Lemire has been one of my favorite writers and artists since I first stumbled across Essex County a few years ago. His ability to create such captivating stories that keep the reader on the edge of their seat wondering what will happen next and his sketchy art that captures the essence of the human characters so well, keeps me coming back for more. When I saw that Jeff had Underwater Welder coming out this year I eagerly preordered it without even reading the description. All I needed to see was that stunning cover image, the eyes of a diver peering out of his welding suit just watching us so intently. I cracked open the book as soon as it arrived and dived into the tale and was swept away.

Let's take a seemingly average 33 year old male named Jack Joseph. He has a steady job as an underwater welder on an oilrig, he has a seemingly happy marriage, and their first child is on the way. All in all a rather happy tale. But the thoughts of his father who disappeared twenty years ago on Halloween began to invade his dreams, both waking and sleeping. Jack begins to see and hear visions from the past, and the real world becomes less and less real. And then on Halloween, the dreams become real and reality becomes a dream. And Jack must find the way out of his dreams before everything he cherishes vanishes forever.

The story is like nothing I've read before, as Jeff weaves a tale of family, hope, mystery, and the stuff of nightmares all together to create a powerful tale. Jeff just creates these compelling characters that play off of each other really well. We have the main character of Jack, the father to be who slowly seems to be losing his mind, but really wants to do what is best for his family.
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