Underwater Welder is a stand-alone, haunting graphic novel from Jeff Lemire, best know for his work on Sweet Tooth, a graphic novel I greatly admire (Reviews: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5).
It's the story of Jack Joseph, a deep-sea welder who works on an oil-rig off the coast of Nova Scotia. He's about to become a father for the first time, but his joy is marred by the looming anniversary of his father's dive-accident death, 20 years before. This tragedy from Jack's boyhood haunts him, overshadowing his impending fatherhood, becoming an obsession. This comes to a head with a deep-sea reverie in which Jack hears a ghostly voice from the past, and passes out.
What unspools is a scary, sad, sweet story, the sort of thing you'd find in the very best Twilight Zone episodes (a comparison drawn by Lost producer Damon Lindelof in his introduction to the volume). Underwater Welder is a much more ethereal, otherworldly story that the fast-paced Sweet Tooth, much more like Lemire's earlier volume for Top Shelf, the critically acclaimed Essex County. But where Essex County left me a bit flat -- too abstract for me -- Underwater Welder is just the right blend of action and abstraction, and greatly enhanced by Lemire's ability to signal movement, time and distance through clever arrangement of his panels on the page.
It helps that this is a beautifully designed book, reasonably priced -- but even if it was a photocopied zine it would still haunt and amaze; and even at twice the price it would be a stone bargain.
Connor Krukosky's lifelong hobby was collecting and refurbishing superannuated computing equipment, which is surprisingly cheap provided you have a lot of space -- Krukosky scored things like keypunch machines for a mere $7 (though he had to drive 1,000 miles roundtrip to get it home).
Jen "Klingon Pop Warrior" Usellis records covers of pop songs, translated into Klingon, the apex of which is surely her rendition of "Let it Go" ("yIbuSQo'") from Frozen. (via Borderlands)
The Lixada LED Handheld Flashlight is a $9 stocking-stuffer ($29 for 4): a six-LED/36 lumen flashlight that clips directly over the terminals of a 9V battery, forming an easy flashlight rated for up to 10,000 hours (battery life depends on whether you're switched to 6, 4 or 2 LEDs). One reviewer uses 9V batteries swapped […]
The bummers of adulthood are too many to count, but one of our least favorites is the inability to sit down and enjoy a nice bowl of cereal. When you’ve got a long commute ahead, let’s face it: That extra time it takes to pour the milk and chow down is too precious to spare. […]
Who are these people that have time for a job, social life, and actual healthy meals? With a nutrition segment on seemingly every talk show and entire networks devoted to food, it can sometimes seem like we’ve never left our mother’s house and her constant admonitions to “eat your vegetables!” And okay, she was right. […]
Every Christmas list has names you dread buying for. But hold up: Before you wave the white flag and get them yet another gift card, scroll down a few. We’ve got 15 items that run the gamut from stylish old-school lighters to cutting-edge audio tech, enough variety to please any Scrooge. And the best part? […]