The Underwater Welder by Jeff Lemire (Galley)
Release Date: August 7, 2012
Genre: Fiction, graphic novel, science-fiction, drama, relationships, “Twilight Zone” with less pig monsters and more heartbreak
Rating: 4.92 out of 5 stars
Summary: Workaholic and expectant father Jack is an underwater welder with a tragic past. Haunted by the disappearance of his father who drowned on Halloween night, Jack goes through an existential and hallucinogenic crisis at thoughts of fatherhood- literally jumping through time and space to face his problems. Not your typical indie graphic novel, this science-fiction drama will give you all the feels. ALL OF THEM I SAY!!!
Reason number one to fall in love with The Underwater Welder: the introduction touts this as akin to a great, never aired episode of “Twilight Zone”. And it does not disappoint, with it’s gorgeous black and white sketchy artwork combined with a water color style that provides a setting that is at both times eery and haunting. Add in time jumps, prophetic dreams and hallucinations and you have some great mixing of the real and fantastical. You won’t even miss Rod Serling.
The story follows Jack, the titular character who likes welding under water more than most things. Living with his very pregnant wife, this local boy who can’t seem to leave his hometown is tortured by the open ended and mysterious death of his father. Jack reveals to have increasingly strained yet surprisingly realistic relationships with his worried wife, nagging mother and the ghost of his absentee/alcoholic father- which seem to be acerbated by the impending birth of his first child. Not a great time to have to solve mysteries with missing pocket watches and disembodied underwater voices.