The Underwater Welder by Jeff Lemire is proof that comic books can be high literature. This title is a near-perfect example of literary minimalism, the “…economy with words and a focus on surface description.” Lemire establishes a very succinct structure where no detail is presented without it being 1) integral to the story and to the 2) important to the overall metaphor of the story. The Underwater Welder is a solid fantasy-drama where every stroke is conscious fine-line in a wonderfully beautiful painting.Not the most breathtaking of stories, The Underwater Welder is about a young man about to become a father, going through an otherworldly mid-life crisis as he realizes how much like his father he has become. The protagonist, Jack Joseph, works as an underwater welder off the coast of Nova Scotia in the same small town where he grew up, where he as a young kid lost his own father in an underwater diving accident. The story is told through a series of echoing, mental lapses that the protagonist experiences as he deals with potential alcoholism, another of his father’s problems – the one that may have actually taken his life.
In The Underwater Welder, Lemire successfully strings together moments in Joseph’s life that all reflect upon and add to each other – they stand alone as incredible moments but come together to form an inspiring story about the acceptance of life and struggle to be a good person. Lemire has written a story in The Underwater Welder that should inspire readers to be the best persons they can be and writers to work harder at their craft. The Underwater Welder is a Top Shelf Production.