This year has seen many great books come in and out of comic book stores; Batman’s Court of Owls and Death in the Family arcs, Animal Man and Swamp Things Rot World, the final issue of Amazing Spiderman and the death of Professor Xavier…again.
While these books are great there is really only one book that came out this year that will captivate you in ways that the others will not.
Jeff Lemire’s The Underwater Welder.
While Lemire is known for his series Sweet Tooth at Vertigo and the many titles he’s affiliated with on DC’s New 52, The Underwater Welder is published by Top Shelf Productions.
The book is written and illustrated by Jeff Lemire, the same as with his aforementioned Vertigo series, Sweet Tooth. In fact, there is a direct reference to the series on the dedications page, where the words “For Gus” are the only words displayed.
The Story revolves around Jack Joseph an underwater welder on an oil rig off the coast of Nova Scotia. His wife Susan is nine months pregnant and is preparing to have a son. While Jack is used to the pressures of the ocean, he is not ready as the pressures of fatherhood close in on him.
Jack is a strange character and as the story progresses it only gets more strange. The obscure details from the very first pages only become stronger as the baby’s birth gets closer. It’s then that you see the simple dripping of water isn’t just that, its something much more.
As he gets closer to becoming a father, Jack is haunted by flashbacks of his own father and this is where Jeff Lemire excels as a writer.
Lemire is great at telling stories about people. Yeah there’s a mystery. Yeah there’s a creepy Twilight Zone vibe. But underneath everything on the surface, there is a deep emotional story being told.
It’s a story about a man and his family, a boy and his father, and about who you are and who you truly want to be.
The book is 220 pages long and I was so engrossed with the story that i had it finished in 20 minutes.
As I reached the last page, the word “wow” left my mouth before I even knew i was talking.
For a graphic novel that doesn’t have any superheroes, gun fights or punches thrown of any kind its an exhilarating read.
The book released in August and in its time its become a New York Times best seller and the #1 selling graphic novel on Amazon.ca.
Listen to the statistics and the critical acclaim. This book should NOT be passed up.
“The waves are high and the sunset’s red. So now its time to go to bed.
The tide is up and the wind does rip. But this old ship’ll never tip.
We’re far at sea, days from land. But if you’re scared just take my hand.
Just hold on tight boy-o-mine. In my arms you’ll be just fine.
The moon is full, the sea is deep.
And we rock
and rock to sleep.” — Jack Joseph.