Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Making of The Underwater Welder: Part 2

In this second behind the scenes installment of the work that went into The Underwater Welder I'll share some of the earliest character designs as well as a few more developed model sheets. The character of "Trapper" is my favorite to draw. he was modelled after Elliot Gould in Robert Altman's MASH, and I even called him Trapper after Gould's character.

Incidentally the lead characters, father and son Jack and Pete were originally named Jack and Ted as an homage to the greatest father/son superhero comic ever, James Robinson's STARMAN. But I changed it at the last moment to Pete because my Father's name is Ted and I didn't want him to think that the character, an alcoholic and often absentee dad, was a reflection of him. My Dad was about  the best Father you could ask for and couldn't be further from the Pete/Ted character.

Friday, July 27, 2012


My newest graphic novel The Underwater Welder was released on Wednesday, but I actually started working on the book over four years ago. It was an incredibly difficult undertaking both creatively and in terms of scheduling. When I started working on the book I wasn't a Dad yet, and I hadn't started working on monthly books for Vertigo or DC Comics yet. In other words I had time on my hands. But over the course of the last four years my life changed dramatically and finding time to work on The Welder became increasingly difficult.

In the first of a series of blog posts I'll try to retrace the creation of the book from my initial notes and sketches to the final product.

Below are the earliest notes, ideas and doodles for the book that I did. Dated 2008, I remember waking up in the middle of the night one night with the initial idea and filling this little notebook with notes and ideas.  As you can see I originally called it  "The Ballad of The Underwater Welder". All I had then was an image of a guy in a diving helmet and the phrase "The deeper I go...the further I get from you." From there I started building a story...

Monday, July 23, 2012


My new Graphic Novel, THE UNDERWATER WELDER is out this Wednesday and some great early reviews are trickling in! Check back tomorrow for some behind the scenes peeks at the creation of the book from original notes to finished artwork.

THE UNDERWATER WELDER @ Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Lemire’s stylized art and inventive panel structure is the perfect vehicle for his well-told story, and the tale’s poignant moments make the moments of desolation even more heart-wrenching... A beautiful, moving, wholly satisfying story about fatherhood and growing up."

THE UNDERWATER WELDER @ Stumptown Trade Review
"Equal parts character study, atmospheric thriller, and treatise on the elegance and nuance of graphic storytelling... Jeff Lemire’s Underwater Welder has rocketed to the top of my Book of the Year list."

"This is a pretty clear frontrunner for me for 'Best of 2012' so far, but while it may still be too early to call that race, THE UNDERWATER WELDER is at least the best in what was already an impressive line of work from Jeff Lemire."

THE UNDERWATER WELDER @ Heroes Aren't Hard to Find
"My words cannot do justice to the beauty of Lemire’s inks. There is literal and figurative depth here, but also subtlety when it is needed."

"Water is so often used as an element of cleansing in literature. Here, water washes over Jack and keeps him stuck in the same muddy emotional place. Far from cleansing, it keeps him in the dirt he's been living in... Meditative and haunting, The Underwater Welder is the portrait of a man in crisis, and whose anxieties play out in very truthful and fascinating ways."

THE UNDERWATER WELDER @ Wicked Comics / Malta Comic-Con
"A touching exploration on parents and parenthood... This is a must read for any comic reader and a pleasure and inspiring piece of literature/art for any one else."

"This story is captivating in narrative and also stellar in execution of tone. This is high literature, make no mistake."
THE UNDERWATER WELDER @ Multiversity Comics
"This is, to put it bluntly, Lemire at his very best... “Welder” is an early and obvious contender for Graphic Novel of the Year."

"The magic that Lemire works with the story is astounding. The tightness of the plotting, the scripting, the pacing, the sheer impact of it all; everything is right." 

Announcing: THE UNDERWATER WELDER Book Launch

The Underwater Welder: Book Launch & Discussion
Featuring author Jeff Lemire
Saturday, July 28th, @ 7pm (Doors @ 6:30pm)
at Innis Town Hall, 2 Sussex Ave (at St. George, one block south of Bloor St.)
$5 admission or free with book purchase
Tickets and books on sale Monday, June 25th at The Beguiling

The Beguiling is proud to announce the official launch ofThe Underwater Welder, the new original graphic novel from Jeff Lemire. Lemire is the award-winning author of The Essex County Trilogy, picked as a Canada Reads finalist, the author of the graphic novels Sweet Tooth (series), Lost Dogs, and The Nobody, and a prolific contributor to DC Comics' superhero line, including the hit series Animal Man and Justice League Dark.

The Underwater Welder is Lemire's eagerly anticipated thematic 'follow-up' to Essex County; its seemingly benign rural slice-of-life tale set off the coast of Nova Scotia giving way to far more mysterious and unfathomable experiences. Lemire's work has been praised with starred reviews by Publishers Weekly and Booklist, and the accolades are already pouring in for The Underwater Welder:
“The most spectacular episode of The Twilight Zone that was never produced. I really, really care about the people in this story... And I can pretty much guarantee you will too.”
—from the introduction by Damon Lindelof (LOST, Star Trek, Prometheus)
“A moving, brilliant, and fiercely original work about loss, longing, and love. Full of piercing moments that will stay with you for long after you’ve finished reading, The Underwater Welder is a testament to the basic truth that down in the depths or up on land, there’s nothing more haunting and wondrous than the human heart. A masterpiece of visual storytelling.”
— Scott Snyder (Batman, Swamp Thing, American Vampire)
The Underwater Welder Book Launch and Discussion will take place on Saturday, July 25th at Innis College Town Hall, and will feature a presentation by Lemire from the new work, an on-stage interview with Q&A, and a signing. Admission to this event is $5 for two persons, however, anyone purchasing The Underwater Welder in-store at The Beguiling will receive a free ticket good for two admissions and guaranteed seating. Tickets and The Underwater Welder advance copies go on sale Monday, June 25th at 11am.

This event is being hosted by The Beguiling Books & Art, as part of our 25th Anniversary celebrations in 2012. All press inquiries should be directed to Christopher Butcher, Manager, chris@beguiling.com.


As an underwater welder on an oilrig off the coast of Nova Scotia, Jack Joseph is used to the immense pressures of deep-sea work. Nothing, however, could prepare him for the pressures of impending fatherhood. As Jack dives deeper and deeper, he seems to pull further and further away from his young wife and their unborn son. Then one night, deep in the icy solitude of the ocean floor, something unexplainable happens. Jack has a mysterious and supernatural encounter that will change the course of his life forever.
Equal parts blue-collar character study and mind-bending mystery, The Underwater Welder is a graphic novel about fathers and sons, birth and death, memory and reality, and the treasures we all bury deep below the surface.

The Underwater Welder, by Jeff Lemire. 224 pages, softcover, $19.95. Published by Top Shelf Productions


JEFF LEMIRE is one of the most acclaimed North American graphic novelists of recent years. He first entered the comics field with the self-published anthology series Ashtray(2003), followed by the Xeric-Award-winning graphic novel Lost Dogs (2005).

His Essex County trilogy of graphic novels (2007-2008, complete edition 2009) have received tremendous acclaim, including nominations for the Eisner, Harvey, and Ignatz Awards. In 2008 Jeff won both the Joe Shuster Award and the Doug Wright Award, recognizing the best in Canadian cartooning, as well as the American Library Association’s prestigious Alex Award, which recognizes books for adults that appeal to teenage readers. Essex County was named one of five official 2011 selection of the CBC’s Canada Reads program, recognizing the “Essential Canadian Novels of the Decade,” and landed first place in the “People’s Choice” poll with more votes than the other four books combined.

Jeff’s other works include the graphic novel The Nobody and the acclaimed ongoing series Sweet Tooth for Vertigo, as well as writing DC superhero series such asSuperboy, Frankenstein, Animal Man, and Justice League Dark. He returns to Top Shelf this summer for The Underwater Welder.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


I am honoured and excited to be a special guest of this years San Diego Comicon. In addition to a slew of signing and panels with both DC COMICS and TOP SHELF (my full schedule is below), the show will also mark the official debut of my new graphic novel, THE UNDERWATER WELDER!

I will be making a new limited edition Underwater Welder bookplate (above) only available to those who purchase The Welder at Comicon. The Bookplate will feature an new Underwater Welder painting and will be signed, numbered and limited to 350 copies.

Also of note, there will a 2-hour Spotlight Panel in which SCOTT SNYDER and I will interview each other, talk about our past and present projects and answer as many questions as we can about Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Batman, American Vampire, Sweet Tooth and Justice League Dark and more! Plus a sneak preview of the long awaited ANIMAL MAN/SWAMP THING crossover, ROTWORLD!

Wednesday July 11  
Preview Night: 6-9pm SIGNING (TOP SHELF Booth #1721) 

Thursday July 12  
11:30am-12:30pm PANEL (DC Comics-Tales from The Dark and The Edge-Room 6DE) 
1-2pm SIGNING (DCE Booth #1915) 
2:30-4:30 pm SIGNING (Top Shelf Booth #1721) 
5:45-6:45pm PANEL (Vertigo: A View from the Cutting Edge of Comics-Room 6DE)  
Friday July 13  
10am-11pm SIGNING (Top Shelf Booth #1721)
1:45-2:45pm PANEL (DC Comics: Justice League and Green Lantern - Room 6DE) 
3-4pm SIGNING (DCE Booth #1915)  

5:30-7:30 Spotlight on SCOTT SNYDER AND JEFF LEMIRERoom 5AB 
Saturday July 14  
10am-12pm SIGNING (Top Shelf Booth #1721)
2-4pm SIGNING (Top Shelf Booth #1721)
5-6pm SIGNING (DCE Booth #1915)
Sunday July 15  
12:30-1:30 pm PANEL (Canadian Comics- Room 5AB) 
1:30-2 pm PANEL (Top Shelf-Underwater Welder- Room 4) 
3-6pm SIGNING (Top Shelf Booth #1721)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


I've been lucky enough to have been nominated for a HARVEY AWARD for BEST WRITER and ANIMAL MAN has also been nominated for BEST NEW SERIES!

You can VOTE here if you're a member of the comics industry. Your support would be greatly appreciated!