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Tank Girl is a British comic book created by Jamie Hewlett and Alan Martin. Originally drawn by Jamie Hewlett, it has also been drawn by Philip Bond, Glyn Dillon, Ashley Wood, Warwick Johnson-Cadwell, Jim Mahfood, Brett Parson, Jonathan Edwards, Craig Knowles, Rufus Dayglo, Andy Pritchett, and Mike McMahon.

The eponymous character Tank Girl (Rebecca Buck – later revealed to have been born as Fonzie Rebecca Buckler) drives a tank, which is also her home. She undertakes a series of missions for a nebulous organization before making a serious mistake and being declared an outlaw for her sexual inclinations and her substance abuse. The comic centres on her misadventures with her boyfriend, Booga, a mutant kangaroo. The comic's style is heavily influenced by punk visual art, and strips are frequently deeply disorganized, anarchic, absurdist, and psychedelic. The strip features various elements with origins in surrealist techniques, fanzines, collage, cut-up technique, stream of consciousness, and metafiction, with very little regard or interest for conventional plot or committed narrative.

The strip was initially set in a futuristic Australia, although it drew heavily from contemporary British pop culture.

Publication historyEdit

Martin and Hewlett first met in the mid-1980s in Worthing, when Martin was in a band with Philip Bond called the University Smalls. One of their tracks was a song called "Rocket Girl". They had started adding the suffix 'girl' to everything habitually after the release of the Supergirl movie, but "Rocket Girl" was a student at college who Bond had a crush on and apparently bore a striking resemblance to a Love and Rockets character. They began collaborating on a comic/fanzine called Atomtan, and while working on this, Jamie had drawn Template:Quote

The image was published in the fanzine as a one-page ad, but the Tank Girl series first appeared in the debut issue of Deadline (1988),[1] a UK magazine intended as a forum for new comic talent and it continued until the end of the magazine in 1995.

Tank Girl became quite popular in the politicized indie counterculture zeitgeist as a cartoon mirror of the growing empowerment of women in punk rock culture. Posters-shirts and underpants began springing up everywhere, including one especially made for the Clause 28 march against Margaret Thatcher's legislation. Clause 28 stated that a local authority "shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality" or "promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship." Deadline publisher Tom Astor said, "In London, there are even weekly lesbian gatherings called 'Tank Girl nights.'"[2]

With public interest growing, Penguin, the largest publishing company in Britain, bought the rights to collect the strips as a book, and before long, Tank Girl had been published in Spain, Italy, Germany, Scandinavia, Argentina, Brazil and Japan, with several United States publishers fighting over the licence. Finally Dark Horse Comics won, and the strips were reprinted in colour beginning in '91, with an extended break in '92, and ending in September '93. A graphic novel-length story named Tank Girl: The Odyssey was also published in '95, written by Peter Milligan and loosely inspired by Homer's Odyssey, Joyce's Ulysses[3] and a considerable quantity of junk TV.

CharactersEdit

  • Tank Girl: Her real name in the strip is Rebecca Buck, but this is very rarely mentioned throughout. In the kickstarter edition of 21st Century Tank Girl it is discovered that she was actually born under the name Fonzie Rebecca Buckler. According to her own history included as a preface to one of the books, her first words were "cauliflower penis". When she was 7, she started a collection of novelty pencil sharpeners (the collection is now housed in the National Museum of Modern Pencil Sharpeners, Sydney). She later became a tank pilot and worked as a bounty hunter before shooting a heavily decorated officer, having mistaken him for her father, and failing to deliver colostomy bags to President Hogan, the incontinent Head of State in Australia, resulting in him publicly embarrassing himself at a large international trade conference. These events resulted in Tank Girl becoming an outlaw with a multi-million dollar bounty on her head. She is prone to random acts of sex and violence, hair dyeing, flatulence, nose-picking, vomiting, spitting, and more than occasional drunkenness. She also has the ability to outrun any ice cream van – even Mr. Whippy.
  • Booga: A mutated kangaroo, formerly a successful toy designer of "products Santa would've sacrificed a reindeer for," and presently Tank Girl's devoted boyfriend. She met him when he snuck into her tank one night to pinch a pair of her knickers. He is a big Dame Edna fan and once impersonated Bill Clinton. Booga, often against his will, always does the cooking, particularly the great British institution of tea. He follows Tank Girl everywhere and does, by his own admission, whatever she tells him. This includes murder.
  • The talking stuffed animals:
  • Camp Koala: A stitchy, brown, gay, koala-shaped stuffed toy described as "the Jeremy Thorpe of comics", whom TG sodomizes with a hot banana. Camp Koala died tragically when they were playing baseball with live hand grenades which Camp eagerly caught in the outfield, exploding on impact, resulting in a violent, bloody, and gruesome death. After a tearless and comical funeral service, the other characters go to a toy store and buy a new one. Camp Koala is known for visiting occasionally as a guardian angel. He is the only character TG's ever admitted to loving.
  • Squeaky toy rat: A squeaky toy rat.
  • Mr. Precocious: A "small Shakespearean mutant" who looks a bit like a mini bipedal pink elephant, though may possibly be a bilby.
  • Stevie: A wild-haired blond Aborigine who owns a convenience store and chain-smokes. Being TG's ex-boyfriend, Booga is always a bit jealous of him. He has various familial ties and connections with Aboriginal culture and remote traditionalist tribespeople.
  • Barney: Busted out of a mental hospital by TG, she is more or less insane. In The Odyssey, she is responsible for killing the whole cast, thereby sending them all to the land of the dead, from which TG was forced to save them by finding the Prince of Farts.
  • Sub Girl (real name unknown, although a trading card for the film once listed her real name as 'Subrina'): Described as "like a beautiful flower floating in the loo", she pilots a submarine. A friend of TG's since childhood, she used to come round her house with Jet Girl and try on her mum's underwear.
  • Jet Girl (real name unknown): A talented mechanic who flies a jet. All her friends call her "boring" (she has admitted to being a big fan of Rod Stewart).
  • Boat Girl: Otherwise known as Jackie. Barney's nervous hairdresser, former figure skater. Her only brother killed by TG and Booga after they stole from a church. She owns a greatly modified WWII Motor Torpedo Boat.

Subsequent Tank GirlEdit

After the 1995 film, Hewlett went on to create the band Gorillaz with Blur's Damon Albarn.[4]

Martin has played in various bands, written a Tank Girl novel (Armadillo) published in March 2008 by Titan Books, as well as various screenplays and scripts. He wrote the limited series Tank Girl: The Gifting with Australian artist Ashley Wood.

On 28 September 2012 Titan Books released The Hole of Tank Girl, which encompasses the original Hewlett and Martin material, as well as additional content.[5]

Hewlett and Martin released the series 21st Century Tank Girl on 10 June 2015.[6]

Martin and artist Warwick Johnson-Cadwell have also created a kid-friendly spin-off called Young Tank Girl, published in the digital anthology Moose Kid Comics.[7]

Collected editionsEdit

Tank Girl has been collected into a number of trade paperbacks over the years. The entire back catalogue was reprinted by Titan books in 2002 and these books were "re-mastered" in anniversary editions, stripped of their subsequently-added computer colouring and line work repaired.

Title Authors ISBN Release date Comments
Tank Girl 1 Jamie Hewlett and Alan C. Martin Template:ISBN (Reprint) Template:ISBN (Remaster) 26 April 2002 (Reprint) 24 April 2009 (Remaster) Consists of the first 15 episodes, originally published in Deadline Magazine, starting Sept. '88, all originally in black and white.
Tank Girl 2 Jamie Hewlett and Alan C. Martin Template:ISBN (Reprint) Template:ISBN (Remaster) 21 June 2002 (Reprint) 24 April 2009 (Remaster) Consists of the next 17 episodes, some colour, some black and white.
Tank Girl 3 Jamie Hewlett and Alan C. Martin Template:ISBN (Reprint) Template:ISBN (Remaster) 25 October 2002 (Reprint) 24 July 2009 (Remaster) Rounds up a final 9 episodes, including some featuring Booga as the star. Some colour, some black and white.
Tank Girl – The Odyssey Jamie Hewlett and Peter Milligan Template:ISBN (Reprint) Template:ISBN (Remaster) 27 December 2002 (Reprint) 25 September 2009 (Remaster) Consists of 4 issues released between June and October 1995, published by DC's Vertigo imprint. These comics were printed in full colour.
Tank Girl – Apocalypse Alan Grant, Andy Pritchett and Philip Bond Template:ISBN (Reprint) Template:ISBN (Remaster) 21 August 2003 (Reprint) 26 February 2010 (Remaster) Consists of 4 issues released between November 1995 and February 1996, published by DC's Vertigo imprint. Again these comics were in full colour.
Tank Girl – Movie Adaptation Peter Milligan and Andy Pritchett Template:ISBN 28 March 1995 A graphic novel adaptation of the movie released by Penguin books in 1995. This was not reprinted or remastered by Titan Books
Tank Girl: The Gifting Martin and Ashley Wood Template:ISBN 23 November 2007 Four issue mini-series published by IDW Publishing
Tank Girl: Armadillo and a Bushel of Other Stories Alan C. Martin Template:ISBN 21 March 2008 A fiction novel with cover art by Jamie Hewlett
Tank Girl: Visions of Booga Alan C. Martin and Rufus Dayglo Template:ISBN 28 November 2008 Four issue mini-series published by IDW Publishing
The Cream of Tank Girl Jamie Hewlett and Alan C. Martin Template:ISBN 24 October 2008 A retrospective art book
Tank Girl: SkidMarks Alan C. Martin and Rufus Dayglo Template:ISBN 30 July 2010 12 part series in the Judge Dredd Megazine, published in the US by Titan Books as a four issue mini-series
Tank Girl: The Royal Escape Alan C. Martin and Rufus Dayglo Template:ISBN 25 February 2011 Four issue mini-series published by IDW publishing
We Hate Tank Girl Alan C. Martin and Rufus Dayglo Template:ISBN 19 January 2011 Collects the Tank Girl One-Shots: Dark Nuggets, Dirty Helmets, and Hairy Heroes
Tank Girl: Bad Wind Rising Alan C. Martin and Rufus Dayglo Template:ISBN (Hardcover) Template:ISBN (Paperback) 27 January 2012 (Hardcover) 31 December 2014 (Paperback) Four issue mini-series published by Titan Comics
The Hole Of Tank Girl Jamie Hewlett and Alan C. Martin Template:ISBN 28 September 2012 A hardcover, large-format book with slipcase, collecting the first three Hewlett & Martin books (with extra archive material)
Tank Girl: Carioca Alan C. Martin and Mike McMahon Template:ISBN 26 October 2012 Collecting the three-issue mini-series published by Titan Comics
Tank Girl: Everybody Loves Tank Girl Alan C. Martin and Jim Mahfood Template:ISBN 22 February 2013 Collecting the three-issue mini-series published by Titan Comics
Tank Girl: Solid State Tank Girl Alan C. Martin and Warwick Johnson-Cadwell Template:ISBN 14 January 2014 Collecting the four-issue mini-series published by Titan Comics
The Power of Tank Girl Alan C. Martin, Ashley Wood and Rufus Dayglo Template:ISBN 30 September 2014 An omnibus edition compiling the three Tank Girl graphic novels "The Gifting", "Visions of Booga", and "The Royal Escape"
21st Century Tank Girl Alan C. Martin, Brett Parson, Craig Knowles, Jim Mahfood, Jonathan Edwards, Philip Bond, Warwick Johnson-Cadwell and Jamie Hewlett Template:ISBN 4 November 2015 Collecting the three-issue mini-series published by Titan Comics
Tank Girl: Two Girls, One Tank Alan C. Martin & Brett Parson Template:ISBN 6 December 2016 A four-issue mini-series published by Titan Comics, first part in a trilogy
Tank Girl: Gold Alan C. Martin & Brett Parson Template:ISBN (1-78585-525-5) 25 April 2017 A four issue mini-series published by Titan Comics, second part of the trilogy
Total Tank Girl Alan Martin, Warwick Johnson-Cadwell, Rufus Dayglo and Jim Mahfood Template:ISBN 10 October 2017 An omnibus edition compiling the three graphic novels "Everybody Loves Tank Girl", "Bad Wind Rising", and "Solid State Tank Girl"
World War Tank Girl Alan C. Martin & Brett Parson Template:ISBN 17 November 2017 The third and final chapter in new Tank Girl trilogy and anticipated follow-up to Tank Girl: Gold.
The Wonderful World of Tank Girl Alan C. Martin & Brett Parson Template:ISBN May 8, 2018

FilmEdit

Main article: Tank Girl (film)

The comic was also adapted into a critically and financially unsuccessful film, albeit with a small cult following. The film featured Lori Petty as Tank Girl and Naomi Watts as Jet Girl. Martin and Hewlett are known for speaking poorly of the experience, with Martin calling it "a bit of a sore point" for them.[8]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

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InterviewsEdit

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