The Way Of Tank Girl – Comic Review

By Alec Deacon

Tank Girl day will be held on October 6th 2018, an event and day chosen to coincide with Tank Girl‘s first official publication in UK magazine Deadline, issue #1, way back in October of 1988. Thirty years later and Tank Girl is still going strong at her current home (for the last ten years or so), of Titan Comics, where she continues to grow and now in 2018 (dubbed ‘‘The Year Of Tank Girl’’) she will celebrate her birthday in style with Titan Comics releasing specially commissioned works throughout the year.

Tank Girl is a comic book anti-hero created by Jamie Hewlett and Alan Martin, who exploded onto the comic world in 1988. Originally drawn by Hewlett, Tanky’s wild ride has also been drawn by likes of Philip Bond (Kill You Boyfriend, The Invisibles), Glyn Dillon (concept artist on The Force Awakens and Rogue One), Warwick Johnson-Cadwell (Helena Crash), Jim Mahfood (Spectacular Spider-man), Jonathan Edwards, Craig Knowles, Andy Pritchett (Sonic The Comic), and Mike McMahon and Rufus Dayglo (Judge Dredd).

Set in a near, slightly post-apocalyptic, future Australia but drawing heavily on contemporary British pop culture and Punk visual art, Tank Girl follows the fantastical, psychedelic and deeply disorganized misadventures of the outlaw Tank Girl (Rebecca Buck – a.k.a. Fonzie Rebecca Buckler) who lives in a tank with her mutant kangaroo boyfriend, Booga.

In 1995 TG even got her very own big screen outing with varying degrees of success, starring the likes of, Lori Petty, Naomi Watts, Malcolm McDowell, Ice-T, and Iggy Pop, with a soundtrack by Courtney Love, special make-up effects by legend Stan Winston (Terminator, Predator and Jurassic Park franchises) and directed by Rachel Talalay (Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991), Ghost in the Machine (1993), Doctor Who (2014-2017)).

The Way Of Tank Girl hardcover collection however, is not about Tank Girl at large and features nothing about the movie but instead acts as a greatest hits celebration covering the dynamic partnership and legacy of Jamie Hewlett and Alan Martin who created the first Tank Girl comics originally in black and white, and initially as a one-page ad in the fanzine Atom Tan in June 1987.

Jamie Hewlett returned to the art of Tank Girl to design this new collection’s cover, giving it that classic Tank Girl look and feel with her in full military regalia and crazy helmet, invoking some great TG nostalgia right before you even open the book to the first page. Hewlett is of course now remembered mostly for creating the character designs, band aesthetic and album covers of the manufactured virtual band, Gorillaz with Blur’s ex-front-man, Damon Albarn, who was more than inspired by Jamie Hewlett’s work on Tank Girl when envisioning the look of Gorillaz.

On top Hewlett’s contribution, the new book also features art by Ashley Wood an Australian comic book artist and award-winning illustrator who has worked on such characters as Judge Dredd, and Todd McFarlan’s Spawn, and Brett Parson an American self-taught comic book artist originally from Massachusetts. Their combined credits on the TG world include work on 2007’s Tank Girl: The Gifting and more recent Tank Girl stories including 21st Century Tank Girl and Two Girls, One Tank.

Jamie Hewlett and Alan Martin have said they were extremely excited to go back and re-examine Tank Girl’s pedigree and had a blast when probing the old archives to find forgotten and unseen artwork and material from back in the day to add to this retrospective release. Content that will give old-skool and new-skool fans alike something to enjoy in equal measure.

The Way Of Tank Girl collects 128-pages of, comic panels, poems, covers, and extracts from Tank Girl’s thirty year career, including a whole host of rare, unseen, and brand new images. This is – ‘‘Tank Girl’s Philosophy On Life’’, distilled to her ‘‘filthiest, dirtiest, stupidest best’’ from her ‘‘personal and bonkers brainwaves and musings to some secret weaponry’’ and more.

As you would expect from TG the The Way Of Tank Girl is far from mainstream in its design, after an initial introduction from Alan Martin, the book has no contents page, no labels and no structured sections but instead dives right in to the bold nitty-gritty and is as free-wheeling and nutty as you would want. Every page is different and every page pops with eye-candy and a comic splash style.

It is in fact so good just to look at, that you will want to purchase three, one to peruse at leisure, one to extract pages and frame, and one too give as a gift to your crazy best friend.