This week we released our third new comic from my indie comics publishing company. We are now transitioning from making comics to having made comics, and now we need to sell them. For the next month and a half, our calendar is filled with interviews, reviews, conventions, and signings. It'll be very exciting. I decided that this week I would look at someone I admire who started off doing the indie comic thing like us and is now a big name in comics. This week for the 'To Read' List, I'm exploring the works of Jeff Lemire.
At Comic-Con, I took some time to check out the Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire panels. What I didn't know about the back-to-back panels was that Snyder and Lemire were friends and would be moderating each others' panels. I have been a Scott Snyder fan since his Dick Grayson batman story, “The Black Mirror,” and although I love Animal Man, I never really knew much about Jeff Lemire. The panel was hilarious and informative, and afterward I'd been converted. I wanted to read all of Lemire's work now. So, I went down to the floor, and at the Top Shelf booth they sold me two books of his. Lost Dogs was apparently Lemire's first book that launched his career in comics, and Underwater Welder was one of his most recent works. I figured why not try them and compare and contrast his early work and more recent stuff.
Lost Dogs is raw and emotional. Lemire uses thick lines, heavy ink, and only one color: red. The story is heartbreaking and yet hopeful. Lemire may have been new to making comics, but he tells an incredible story and captures tragic human experience in between those heavy, black lines. Even in his early career, you can see the talent he exudes to this day. If you ever get a chance to read Lost Dogs, you most definitely should; it's a book that doesn't leave you the same after you read it.
If Lost Dogs was raw, emotional, and straight to the point, then Underwater Welder is quite the opposite. In this story, Lemire takes his time unfolding a quiet story about a man struggling with his past, so that he can face his future. This entire book is as quiet and beautiful as its early shots of the main character deep under the sea. Over the 7 or so years since Lost Dogs, Lemire has honed his craft, and now his art and writing blend together seamlessly. There's something about this book that almost feels like a movie. The panels are expertly set up, and the story flows from page to page. You could almost imagine you're watching an award-winning movie, instead of reading what I'm sure will soon be an award-winning graphic novel.
The best part of this is that Jeff Lemire is just hitting his stride. He is taking on big books from DC Comics, and I believe his best work is still yet to come. So, that's what I read this week. How about you? Do you have a favorite writer or artist? Someone whose career you've followed? Sound off in the comments below and as always, keep reading!