I have to admit, I’m not cool enough to have discovered Tank Girl, the zany British comic by Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett about a foul-mouthed, rebellious young woman’s adventures through a post-apocalyptic Australian wasteland in, what else, a tricked-out tank, through the original comics when they circulated in Deadline (mostly because I wasn’t exactly born yet.) Instead I discovered her through the kind of lovably campy, but mostly just awesomely bad Tank Girl movie starring Lori Petty and, inexplicably, Naomi Watts:
And yes, that is ICE-T behind them playing a Kangaroo mutant.
Despite the movie’s general suckiness, I fell in love with the character and knew I had to check out the source material. Tank Girl is a colorful, wacky, anarchistic celebration of everything to love about comic books. It’s funny, gratuitous in it’s violence and humor, and colorful. The often ridiculous story-lines, pulpy style, and post-apocalyptic setting make for an addictively zany reading experience. Of course, the appeal is carried heavily on the shoulders of the titular heroine, now an icon in her own right. She basically embodies all the nihilist, childlike fun we secretly imagine we’d have in fantasizing about a post-apocalypse.
The art book includes the original covers/special illustrations, all that really make you appreciate Hewlett’s artistry, allowing you to see how his incredibly recognizable illustration style has developed over the years to what we see today with Gorillaz:
The book also includes some little gems like sketches and concept work:
and pre-published cover illustrations:
I like these kinds of things that take you “behind the scenes” to see just how much planning, skill, and time creating these illustrations requires. We even get to see some storyboards that Hewlett himself made for the film which, unfortunately, never saw the light of day:
So, if you have any interest in seeing the gorgeous illustrations of one of the great talents in comics, or if you just have an interest in illustration in general, I’d recommend you to indulge in the oddly empowering zaniness that is Tank Girl.