Saturday, September 06, 2014
Reader's Diary #1061- Jeff Lemire: The Underwater Welder
Jeff Lemire's The Underwater Welder tells a story of a Nova Scotian man named Jack who's about to become a father. However, instead of focusing on this joyous occasion, Jack is literally haunted by his past— and to make matters worse, it's happening when he's under water.
I think the introduction by Damon Lindelof, in which he compares it to the Twilight Zone, helped set the eerie tone for me. That said, while I certainly enjoyed the creepy and mysterious aspect, what I've always admired the most about Lemire's stories are the relationships and introspection, whether he's trying his hand at familial drama, sci-fi, or ghost stories, and The Underwater Welder has the personal stuff in spades.
As for the artwork, Lemire still hasn't ventured away from those wobbly lines that I know aren't everyone's cup of tea. Likewise his cinematic approach of using far off or sudden close ups for mood or dramatic effect are still there. However, he still shows a lot more growth and experimentation. This time Lemire has also used gray watercolours that help accentuate the lonely, haunting qualities of ths story as well as the damp Nova Scotian setting. There's also an approach to paneling that I don't recall having encountered anywhere else before, in which a single object is divided into many panels. In this scene in particular, the divided panels help accentuate Jack's shaken identity:
The storytelling in the Underwater Welder is tight and amazing.