Diving into the gorgeous hardcover ‘Everybody Loves Tank Girl’, my first thought is, “holy shit, this is awesome”. There’s an incredibly striking punk rock aesthetic to the art, and the writing is often psychedelic and always high energy. It’s so intense that it’s hard to know where to look on the page.
The book, illustrated by Jim Mafood, is a cacophony of motion, violence and profanity. Tank Girl and her trusty (if a little befuddled) boyfriend/sidekick Booga (who also happens to be a mutant kangaroo) wreak havoc on…everything, really. Between babysitting brats, fighting various nonsensical villains (including the Wee-Wee Boys and the Arty Farty gang), the duo barely have time to stop and breathe. Or enter swearing contests. They’re joined by friends Barney (a girl, in case you were wondering) and Jet Girl, who jump in and out whenever they please.
Fun fact: the comic book creators are from the UK, but this book is set in a post-apocalyptic Australia (kind of like Mad Max, but with less Mel Gibson and more punk rock chicks).
Fans of the unconventional and straight-out weird will appreciate the wackiness contained in this collection, as long as they can keep up. Alan Martin’s writing is frenetic, fast-paced and anarchic, frequently punching linear narratives in the face. TAKE THAT, STRUCTURED STORYLINES, amirite? Couple that with the scribbly, lo-fi, stylised art of Jim Mahfood and you have one messed up comic book (in a good way).
Tank Girl is over 30 years old now, which means she has a long and storied history. I actually haven’t read any other Tank Girl comics, so I have no yardstick to measure this book on. If you’re looking for a contemporary take on Tank Girl, you may be disappointed – the only sign this wasn’t made ten years ago is the short Justin Bieber rip-off page. That, for me, was the weakest part of the book. We get it, a lot of people don’t like Bieber. Isn’t hating on the kid like, so two years ago?
Regardless, this book collects the three-issue miniseries titled, funnily enough, ‘Everybody Loves Tank Girl’. But if you already have the separate issues and you love Tank Girl (of course you do), consider getting this collection. It’s hardcover, and is full of shorts, illustrated poetry and sketches well worth checking out. My favourite poem:
“fuck you stranger”
fuck you stranger
for looking at me
and judging me by your own standards
and fuck your friend too
for looking away
and whispering to you like a coward
one day i’ll round you up
all of your kind
and i’ll put you in a muddy field
and throw potatoes at you
That’s what poetry is meant to be.
Everybody Loves Tank Girl is published by Titan Books and can be bought right now. The first issue of the next mini series, Solid State Tank Girl, will be released in May 2013.