Nothing – not even Lori Petty, try as she might – could keep “Tank Girl” off the battlefield forever.
The character, created by Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett, took a decade-long nap following the critically demolished 1995 film, but returned to comic books in recent years with new stories and collected editions of older material. Now, several installments and some new artists later, “Tank Girl” is continuing its warpath through comic book shops, this time by way of Image Comics. The publisher announced at Comic-Con International that writer Martin and artist Rufus Dayglo would produce new “Tank Girl” issues by way of Image, the first of which arrives in stores this December. Martin spoke with CBR News about the upcoming Image one-shots.
In recent years, several different comic book companies have had a hand in keeping “Tank Girl” in publication. Titan Books has collected many of Martin and Hewlett’s original stories in two “remastered” editions thus far, with a third slated for August of this year; Martin and Dayglo have provided monthly “Tank Girl” strips to Judge Dredd Megazine, the sister publication of 2000AD; and IDW Publishing has offered various “Tank Girl” stories as well, such as “The Gifting” with art from Dayglo and Ashley Wood. Given this multitude of publishing outlets, what’s one more publisher to the bald-headed badass?
“Rufus Dayglo, the current ‘Tank Girl’ artist, had been telling me about Image for some time and I was very interested in the way they work and the freedom their deals offer,” Martin told CBR News of his attraction to Image Comics. “Their set up sounds too good to be true, but it is true. ‘Tank Girl,’ probably more than any other comic character, needs to be given the space to let rip in whatever direction she wants to go. Image is the perfect venue for that kind of mayhem.”
Not unlike Tank Girl’s own unpredictable nature, the series won’t lock itself to one publisher, not even Image Comics. “We will be working with 2000AD/The Judge Dredd Megazine for at least another year doing our monthly eight pages of ‘Tank Girl,'” Martin said. “We have three miniseries scheduled with Titan – ‘Skidmarks’ and ‘Bad Wind Rising,’ both with Rufus, and ‘Carioca’ with veteran Brit comics legend Mick McMahon. They’ll take us up to the end of 2010, [and] then there will be more to follow.” There are also plans for further “Tank Girl” installments through IDW.
Image Comics will produce several one-shots – “I’m hoping that these will do well and we can do a miniseries featuring a longer story alongside some shorts,” Martin said – the first of which is titled “Tank Girl: Dark Nuggets.” Martin described it as a 24-page issue that’ll be released “just in time for your Christmas stocking.”
“It’ll be the usual bag of filth and deranged morality. We mean ‘mature’ in the loosest possible sense,” Martin described of the December-releasing one-shot’s tone. “[It contains] three short stories, featuring a TV presenter that’s gone off the rails, some helpful cooking hints and a near death experience. We’ll also have a couple of poster pages called ‘This is Tank Girl’ and ‘This is Booga.'”
Martin also revealed that many “Tank Girl” familiars would appear in the one-shot. “Booga, Barney, Jet Girl, Boat Girl and some other newbie’s will all be there,” he said. “And some of them may or may not die in a horrible, bloody mess.”
One person who won’t be involved in “Dark Nuggets” is Jamie Hewlett, Martin’s co-creator on “Tank Girl.” While Martin continues to work on “Tank Girl,” Hewlett’s career hasn’t yet allowed for a full-fledged return. “Jamie likes to see what’s going on with ‘Tank Girl,’ and he still likes to do the odd cover here and there,” Martin said of the character’s co-creator. “But for the main part, Gorillaz [the music project with Blur’s Damon Albarn], “Monkey [Journey to the West,” another music collaboration with Albarn] and running his own company keep him way too busy to be involved in comics.”
Thank goodness for Rufus Dayglo, then. As Martin described him, the London-based artist was a fan of “Tank Girl” long before he officially started on the character. Artist Ashley Wood, who collaborated with Martin on 2007’s “The Giving,” suggested Dayglo’s involvement in the “Tank Girl” property, and he’s been a staple ever since. While Martin described Dayglo as “an incredible mimic” of the old “Tank Girl” style, he said that the artist found his own unique groove on the IDW miniseries “Visions of Booga.”
“‘Tank Girl’ was always just me and Jamie, and now she’s me and Rufus,” said Martin. “She’s changed with us. So maybe she’s less ‘new and exciting’ and more ‘older and moody.'”
Perhaps one reason that Dayglo has come into his own “Tank Girl” style is the way that he and Martin collaborate on the comics. “Rufus likes to be surprised by my scripts,” Martin explained. “We always seem to be working quite close to the deadline, so he doesn’t get to read a whole series in one go as you would with a standard production, knowing what the end is going to be several months before you actually draw it. I think that adds to the energy of the comic.”
But aside from Dayglo’s participation, not much else has changed regarding “Tank Girl.” Certainly, Martin’s formula-be-damned mentality remains in place for the character. “Whatever is in front of me is my inspiration, be it a classic movie or a packet of cornflakes,” he said. “To formularize it would be to kill it… or something like that.”
As for “Tank Girl’s” audience and Martin’s reaction to his readers, nothing much has changed there, either. “The audience is the same people, except now they’re older, fatter, balder, richer and more cynical,” Martin suggested. “As always, I pay no heed to what readers actually like and continue to follow my own selfish muse.”
Really, the biggest change is that there are new “Tank Girl” adventures, period. Following the release of the Lori Petty-headlined “Tank Girl” movie – a film which neither Martin nor Hewlett were consulted on – Martin said that he couldn’t go anywhere near the character for over a decade. Now, in 2009, not only is the writer back in business with “Tank Girl,” but the Dayglo-illustrated comics are being featured in multiple publications, not the least of which is Image Comics. Indeed, it’s a good time for “Tank Girl” readers and certainly not a bad one for “Tank Girl” creators – especially when compared to the post-Petty war era.
Still, despite “Tank Girl’s” renewed success, there is one thing left to do with the character that Martin has not yet achieved.
“Kill her,” he quipped.
“Tank Girl: Dark Nuggets,” the first one-shot from Image Comics, is expected in stores in December 2009.