Tank You Very Much.
Goddamn! That tagline was tits. I apologise. Anyway, I thought I do a little graphic novel review for y’all, considering I haven’t done one for a few months and, hey! Look at that! It isn’t a flippin’ Batman one! Let’s get a little bit of background on this ting.
Tank Girl is a character created in the late 80s/early 90s by writer Alan Martin and artist Jamie Hewlett, later of Gorillaz fame. She is, quote-on-quote an “ignorant, beer-swilling, bestial blonde in a tank”, which is an apt description, to be honest. Far from ladylike, Tank Girl traverses the post-apocalyptic Australian outback in her titular tank with her mutant kangaroo boyfriend Booga, her gay stuffed animal Camp Koala, as well as a host other colourful characters. I found out about this through my interest in Gorillaz, with Jamie Hewlett’s awesome artwork, and picked this up over the Christmas season to see what all the fuss is about.
Firstly, the writing and artwork pair brilliantly, almost merging into one at some points, with witty slogans and phrases scrawled across every panel. Plus, the sense of humour throughout has a very British flavour, with little obscure references dotted about all over the place. Alan Martin’s dialogue is full of character, as well as quality insults, and really boosts the entertainment factor of the stories, which end up just being backdrops for general tomfoolery most of the time. However, while I’m not saying I’m against chaos, it’s quite the contrary, the complete package of Tank Girl feels a bit, for lack of a better phrase, “all over the place”. As a graphic novel experience, it’s an absolute blast, but if you’re looking for deep stories and character development, you’ve bought the wrong book. They’re stories that demand to be consumed, not understood.
This chaotic feel comes in spades in the form of Jamie Hewlett’s trailblazing artwork. As I said, it was Hewlett’s incredible work with Damon Albarn and Gorillaz which led me to Tank Girl in the first place, so I was already familiar with his distinctive style. However, I was not anticipating the level of insanity he would bring to the table. Everything he draws has an element of movement to it, giving the entire book a style of action that I haven’t seen in a while. Plus, the edge and attitude and style to the whole thing is very cool, and it’s black-and-white print only serves to emphasise that, draping it in a very “pulp” feel.
Overall, my first experience with the mentalness of Tank Girl was an interesting one. While I didn’t get many memorable stories from it, I did get a kickass experience with chaos and attitude leaking from the pages.
Lots of hugs, kisses and lacerations