cover image The Underwater Welder

The Underwater Welder

Jeff Lemire. Top Shelf, $19.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-60309-074-2

Lemire (Essex County) returns with another Twilight Zone–style story of horror, love, and redemption. Jack Joseph lost his father, a diver and treasure hunter, on Halloween night as a child. As an adult, Jack, an underwater welder, is still looking for answers; about to become a father himself, Jack has a dive accident that begins a series of otherworldly, or alternate reality, experiences. As his past forces itself into the present, Jack’s world is stripped of the living, leaving him to confront the memories binding him to his childhood. Flawed but utterly sympathetic, Jack is a lost soul whose life beneath the waves is beautifully depicted in several glorious two-page spreads. Lemire’s stylized art and inventive panel structure is the perfect vehicle for his well-told story, and the tale’s poignant moments make the moments of desolation even more heart-wrenching. Lemire seeds details throughout the early pages that resonate across the book, giving the story the feel of a carefully threaded whole. A beautiful, moving, wholly satisfying story about fatherhood and growing up. (Aug.)