The Underwater Welder, Jeff Lemire

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A couple of Bookstravaganzas ago, I read a comic by Jeff Lemire called Essex County. It was blisteringly good. That seems to be his style. This one, The Underwater Welder, is a graphic telling of loss, longing, and love. In the foreword, Damon Lindelof (yes, the guy from Lost and Star Trek) compares it to an episode of The Twilight Zone. This is an apt comparison. You really give a shit about these characters. You’re holding your breath by the end of it.

Perfect stories happen when not a word could be missing, but not a word is superfluous. About a month ago, I attended an Art Spiegelman talk where he discussed his process in creating comics, and was impressed by how much planning and thought went into it. Comics (graphic novels, whatever you want to call them) tell so much of a story without words, and the best comic artists create books and strips where nothing is superfluous. Every image has meaning. And that’s the case here. Jeff Lemire is a master of the blue-collar character study. His presentation of fringe Canadiana (this is a Nova Scotia offshore rig story, but he finds and celebrates humanity within characters who could easily fall into trope status) is incredible. If you haven’t read his work, you should.

Books read: 37

 

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