David Bowie would’ve turned 72 today. Three years ago tomorrow, Jayde Perkin’s Time May Change Me begins. An autobiographical comic about grief and loss, it’s the day before Bowie’s death – January 9, 2016 – and Perkin has just flown back to Berlin after seeing her parents. A few weeks later she would fly back, after learning her mother’s cancer had returned.
Five years. Is that all we’ve got?
It’s amazing how certain artists can become ingrained into your life, to the point that it’s uncanny, the ways you can relate to them and their work. For Perkin, Hunky Dory was her first album. She listened to Bowie with her mom and his lyrics are embedded in her narration (the comic gets its title from his song “Changes” – the follow-up line, “But I Can’t Change Time,” appears on the back cover).
Both Perkin’s mom and Bowie were taken by cancer, but Perkin doesn’t force these parallels. They come in when they come in. Above all, Time May Change Me is a personal story about the pitfall that is grief – how you don’t overcome it, but it does change, and it’s not a comforting story but an honest one, which makes it tough when the life events she’s going through are your most dreaded and denied.
None of the characters in Perkin’s comic are ever shown with their eyes open and I don’t know if that’s a reaction to the subject matter or a personal trademark (the sharp angle of the characters’ noses also gets repurposed later as the roof of a building for memories), but it makes sense. Time May Change Me isn’t a comic that adheres to comic conventions. There aren’t traditional panels. The lettering is handwritten, but it leads by what feels right and truthful.
Whether you’re ready for this story (and nobody’s ever ready, but it’s a story that touches a nerve because it’s needed), Time May Change Me is about emotional trauma and the spiral it can send you on. It’s real, universal and painful, but only in the sense that death is painful to face, especially when it’s someone you love.
Time May Change Me is available to purchase online from Jayde Perkin’s store.