Over the last few decades, autobiography has risen in comics to become a genre to rival the four-color ubermenschen for diversity and abundance. For many of them it’s a chance for the author to explore their memories and examine those moments of their past that defined them. Every autobiographical cartoonist talks about the mistakes and letdowns of their past, but none of them do anything about it.
Jess Fink’s new graphic novel “We Can Fix It: A Time Travel Memoir” is a double feature of science fiction and memoir, as the New York cartoonist travels back into her past with the aid of a time machine and a really awesome jumpsuit. Ostensibly it’s to offer advice to her younger selves, although she seems to spend an inordinate amount of time making out with them instead.
Not too surprising, as Fink made her mark in comics with the web serial “Chester 5000,” the story of a Victorian-era scientist who constructs a mechanical paramour to satisfy his wife. Hilarity ensues, as does an abundance of a very different kind of auto-eroticism. As well, she’s also contributed to the Chicago-published anthology Smut Peddler, with the short story “Busking Beguile.”
“We Can Fix It” is far from pure lightheartedness, as Fink’s trips through time touch on less pleasant memories, from embarrassing mistakes to a dark episode with her abusive father.
What Fink’s novel explores, besides the erotic possibilities of time travel, is the reality that the mistakes and missteps of our past create us as much as our successes. That even the best of us now has its roots in the worst of our past. “We Can Fix It” inspires the reader to consider their own life’s stepping stones; the highest goal of autobiography. If there’s one message to take from this book, it is the delightfully double-entendre to love yourself, flaws and all. (Greg Baldino)
“We Can Fix It: A Time Travel Memoir”
By Jess Fink
Top Shelf, $14.95, 112 pages