“Tank Girl” co-creator and writer Alan Martin and artist Rufus Dayglo are continuing the titular antihero’s misadventures at Image Comics this December in a special one-shot issue titled “Tank Girl: Dark Nuggets.” The one-shot features three short stories, including: “The Barney Band,” in which Tank Girl has been sabotaged, injured and otherwise “royally screwed over by Duncan Cockskin,” according to Dayglo; and “Sunrise Doesn’t Last All Morning,” where our heroine declares her affinity for Tom Hanks films.
Each story will be illustrated by Dayglo, who climbed aboard Martin’s “Tank Girl” with IDW Publishing’s “Tank Girl: The Gifting.” Dayglo spoke with CBR News about his experiences working with Martin on “Dark Nuggets” and “Tank Girl” overall. Additionally, Image supplied CBR with eight exclusive preview pages showcasing Dayglo’s work on the one-shot issue.
CBR News: Rufus, what can you tell us about the story – or stories – of “Dark Nuggets?”
RUFUS DAYGLO: “Dark Nuggets” is a one-off collection of short stories, slightly darker in tone than “Visions of Booga” or “Tank Girl: Skidmarks,” our four issue miniseries out in November from Titan Books. Plot’s not really my strong point – I lost it a long time ago, so I leave that to Alan. He has the maps, boiled sweets and the plot in the glove compartment next to a .38 Special loaded with Dum Dums and thumbtacks.
What are some of the big differences between “Dark Nuggets” and the other “Tank Girl” stories you’ve worked on?
It’s largely black and white, for a start, like the old days, and I didn’t ink any of this stuff – it’s all just [HB] pencil.
How has your experience with the series and characters evolved from where you started to where you are now?
I’m taking Devo’s advice and devolving – the future is back there somewhere. The first couple of stories were a bit of a disaster for me. I was supposed to just be doing layouts for [Ashley Wood], so I did tiny thumbnails, which originally he was going to print out and ink in his style, but instead he just colored them in, so they looked pretty rough and ready. The first couple of things I did on my own I penciled and inked fully, but I always prefer my pencils. I’ve experimented with different drawing approaches – right now, I just pencil and scan those. For the covers, I pencil, and then paint thin acrylic ink washes and use a bit of photoshoppery. It’s a pretty organic approach.
What’s your personal history with “Tank Girl?” Are you a longtime fan of the character and the book?
Assault and buggery, 3 1/2 years; reduced on appeal to community work in the Elephant and Castle home for the bewildered.
I was a fan of Tankie from the [“Deadline Magazine”] days. I knew I’d eventually work with Alan when he wrote ‘Fuck Off Rufus’ on my copy of “Deadline” at a signing at Top Ten Comics. I should’ve listened to him – he was only trying to help, I now realize.
As an artist, what do you find enjoyable about the character and the premise?
I like tanks, I hate capes and superheroes, and I’m strangely attracted to kangaroos – a lucky coincidence, you’ll agree. I like that we can incorporate anything, everything or absolutely nothing into Tankville. Alan has very generously allowed me pretty much free reign to do what I like, which is such a unique position to be in.
Can you describe the collaboration process between you and Alan?
A lot of what we do is based on my inability to read his scripts properly. Sometimes this produces happy accidents; more often, though, it only produces a headache for Alan. Sometimes I’ll suggest a theme, or a person – like Dee Dee Ramone – but Alan writes “Tank Girl,” I don’t want to write it. I like the surprise of the script arriving and having no fucking clue what will happen next. It’s all up to Alan – he drives the tank, I merely sit next to him in the gunner’s seat, screaming like a small child after too many fizzy drinks and desperately in need of a piss.
What’s it like for you when you read Alan’s scripts?
It’s great. I am so lucky, sometimes it makes my nose bleed. I’m the first person to read the stories – it’s a comic geek’s dream come true. I just wish I were a better reader, as I miss most of the jokes – or maybe Alan’s stopped writing them…
A few months ago, I asked Alan if there’s anything he’d like to do with Tank Girl that he hasn’t done yet and his answer was that he’d like to kill her. What’s your answer?
I’d like to grab her by her ears, spin her around and around and around, and throw her like a fucking Frisbee. And then stamp on her, stamp on her fucking head, and bite off her nose, spit it out in her face, and thank her for all the good times we’ve had together.
Beyond “Dark Nuggets,” what are some of yours and Alan’s plans for “Tank Girl?”
We’re planning on ongoing specials with Image, and a new series with IDW for the spring, “Tank Girl: The Royal Escape,” and another with Titan Books, “Tank Girl: Bad Wind Rising.” That should keep us out of trouble.
“Tank Girl: Dark Nuggets,” written by Alan Martin and illustrated by Rufus Dayglo, hits stores on December 9, 2009.