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#82 [Apr. 27th, 2008|04:19 pm]

100 COMICS TO READ BEFORE YOU DIE (or grow out of them)

#82 TANK GIRL BOOK 1 – Jamie Hewlett, Alan Martin
(Deadline/Dark Horse)

“We’re nasty and we smell!”

Jamie Hewlett’s lewd and anarchic artwork is what takes Tank Girl from fanzine-level toilet humour and elevates it to the most delirious heights of absurdism. The tanks rumbling down the vertical cliffs of a post-apocalyptic Australia where everyone’s obsessed with the minutiae of British pop culture; the mutant kangaroos with crooked sunglasses and tongues lolling as they rampage through a barbecue; the tattoo of a young and virile Tom Waits smoking a cigarette on the Devil’s bicep; little details like R.E.M. lyrics on a gun holster and a Nick Cave quote around a panel border. Most of all Tank Girl herself, punk-haired and heroically grotty, leering at kangaroo men, flashing her bra and hefting guns and missiles – not to mention the militarised mammaries – so over-sized only boys who read too much Judge Dredd at an impressionable age could have imagined them.

Like Mad Max with oestrogen poisoning, Tank Girl stalks and demolishes her way through a vague setting Hewlett and Martin are clearly making up as they go along based on an Australia they’ve seen in a couple of movies at most (halfway through they learn how to spell Sydney right, but they never figure out Skippy doesn’t have an E in his name). The writing, such as it is, reads like a drunken conversation between the two of them. “Let’s kick off with a bit of violence!” says Martin, to which Hewlett replies with bodies crushed by tanks screaming “Yaa burssst!” and “Arrrgh splat!”

Although Hewlett’s capable of dazzling displays of technical virtuosity, he doesn’t spend a lot of time showing off his chops in Tank Girl. That would be missing the point. Focussed outbursts of mad passion with no regard for the more finicky details of actual craft and composition are what it’s all about. Tank Girl is as punk as a comic can be.

[User Picture]From: d_fuses
2008-04-27 05:40 pm (UTC)
I have no idea how to make money out of anything I write, but this - THIS we can make money from. And yes, I said we because I intend to attach myself to your enormous cash-cow-rearing-udders like a remora fish who plays with superglue.

First, we'll get you a website, separate to LJ. Helga can design it and code it, and I can host it. This will build attention that we can then lever into a book contract.

There must be someway I can help with actual writing but I can't see how. Unless I read the comics too and provide a second opinion. That might be useful - a lot of these review books are limited by their limited number of voices. Course, I'd have to GET the books, but I'm hoping you own most of them.

Talk to me. This could be something big, and I've got nothing better to do than make you more awesome.

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[User Picture]From: jody_macgregor
2008-04-27 11:55 pm (UTC)
I've been tagging these posts so that they appear separate from the usual Livejournal wankery at http://jody-macgregor.livejournal.com/tag/100+comics. It's already been linked to by the Forbidden Planet blog and if you want to help the best thing you can do is show people that link.

The other best thing would be to recommend me more comics. Webcomics, strip comics, whatever. Part of my motivation is that lists of great comics are full of rubbish and I need help finding better stuff. Tell me what would make your list that isn't on mine.
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[User Picture]From: d_fuses
2008-05-11 03:48 am (UTC)
Been meaning to ask: you just want names, yeah, not reviews?
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[User Picture]From: jody_macgregor
2008-05-11 07:41 am (UTC)
Yeah. Right now I'm writing about Persepolis and Death Note -- French and Japanese respectively, which there should probably be more of -- while reading some more of Jason Lutes and the Hernandez brothers' stuff.
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From: davrosboa
2008-07-29 09:11 pm (UTC)
Tank girl was what made me know comics were cool. At the time I was only reading 2000ad and it was my guilty secret. I started reading Tank Girl and I outed myself. Jamie may have gone onto bigger and brighter, well known things not tied down by a misunderstood, miss-made movie but, man, I will remember him for 2 things; Hewligan's Haircut and the most awesome Tank Girl!
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