I want you to stop what you’re doing right now and listen. Just listen. If you’re a true comic fan and I mean that you appreciate the medium and all of its potential and not just the corporate foothold that is the superhero genre, then buy this book. Don’t even read my review just head over to Top Shelf’s website right now and buy it. I went in cold and while I was confused at first I still understood the gist of what was happening, but also put my trust in the creator that they would explain everything else and she did.
The premise of the story is that you have a time machine. Okay not technically you since the creator Jess Fink is the one with the time machine, but just imagine that you right now in your life were given a time machine. Don’t pretend that you would go back and look at the Dinosaurs, watch Christopher Columbus discover “America” or even think that anything you could do would even remotely stop Hitler. You’re given a time machine and first thing you remember is something from your own past. Maybe it’s a regret or just a memory that was awesome and worth visiting again. The point is that you have a time machine and despite your high school level of historical knowledge there is only one history that you know like the back of your hand… your own.
That’s half the idea of this story. Jess Fink the creator/writer/artist of this story has a time machine and she’s looking to visit her own past… her sexy past. No joke the book kicks off with Future Jess preventing a younger version of herself from making terribly awkward passes at her manager. The result is that she doesn’t and the two versions make out instead. Yeah you read that right. If Jess Fink wants to make out with herself you let her! Why? Because it’s fucking awesome that’s why! It takes a ton of confidence to make out with yourself if you honestly think about it. After this make out session concludes Future Jess in her awesome body suit, begins looking for other sexy moments in her life to either: help, stop or join.
What happens is that Jess soon discovers that her memories don’t exactly line up with what she’s seeing. Things aren’t as sexy as she remembers and soon she decides to help herself be sexier… or better at making out at least. This gives her the idea that she can help herself in other ways like giving her younger self a comeback after a boy makes fun of her. After that minor success she begins to run through her life “fixing” events and giving the younger hers advice.
It’s an incredible journey because it’s actually the authors memoirs that we’re going through. Though it’s based in fantasy the memories and feelings shared are very honest. I found the way the story was presented to be amazing quite frankly. Really is this any different than the day dreams that we all have when we think about the past. You either want to relive the moment or change it. That kid that said something to you that you never got the final word on or the first mistake you made that you regret even to this day; you can’t honestly tell me you wouldn’t change it if you could. That’s what Jess does, she changes everything… but she doesn’t. If she did, she wouldn’t be the same person that’s traveling before us with all this knowledge.
Aside from the deeply personal story, the writing is phenomenal. The jokes are hysterical and Fink even manages to find a way to include the reader in on her inside jokes from her past. Though the entire story is basically told from the outside looking in you really are given the role of Future Jess. Going back to the jokes… I love them. They made me laugh and just thinking about some of them while writing this makes it difficult to finish a thought. Reading the words “Make Out” and then seeing the same character making out with herself was possibly one of the funniest things I’ve ever read in a comic and it only gets better from there.
Don’t get me wrong when I say that I hate Jess Fink because of her artistic talent. I’m only saying that because it’s completely unfair for one person to be able to write and drawn so damn well. Seriously it’s fucked up. All kidding aside the art style is as phenomenal as the writing and story. There’s a variety of panels for each page and the layout is never the same which is something that could only be done with the comic medium. This might sound stupid, but the characters are very light. There’s enough detail to make them distinct, but they’re not bogged down by a ton of detail and yet remain detailed. I know it doesn’t make any sense, but when you see it you’ll understand. I mean Fink draws herself at a variety of ages and manages to keep everything straight. Never is the reader lost while looking at the art. Her style is very dynamic and the facial expressions are cartoonish, but charming at the same time.
To read the title or look at the cover you’d never imagine what was waiting for you on the inside. The fact is I thought I was about to read a book geared more towards teens. Instead I was treated to a very mature and immature story that felt like the perfect fit for my generation. This is one of the best books of 2013 so do not miss out on it. Stop what you’re doing right now and buy it. Don’t think that I don’t know that you didn’t follow my instructions in the beginning either! Seriously though this is a fantastic title and the perfect example of what makes comic books such an incredible medium with lasting potential.
Writer/Artist/Creator: Jess Fink
Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
Release Date: 5/21/13