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Graphic Novel Review

Book Cover

Tank Girl Three


Author: Alan Martin
Artists: Jamie Hewlett and others
Titan Books
RRP: £10.99, US $14.95, Can $16.95
ISBN: 978 1 84576 761 7
Available 24 July 2009

Revelling in 20 years of old-school, booze-fuelled anarchy! Thrill again to Tank Girl’s Herculean battle against deranged bounty hunters; marvel at her globe-trotting gastronomic odyssey; reel at the truth behind the popular 80s beat combo The Smiths; and snigger at the sight of a Swiss yeti. Gasp as Tank Girl robs a popular tourist attraction; giggle at her naughty interlude behind a bulldozer; and cheer on Booga as he goes on a blind date...

This volume collects, in no particular order, the final Tank Girl comic strips that appeared in Deadline magazine between late 1993 and early 1995, together with three Sub Girl and Jet Girl strips from 1992... as well as a couple of other strips that I’ll come to later.

As with the previous volume, several of these stories don’t actually feature Tank Girl at all. “The Immortalist” is a one-page spoof of Grange Hill, while Sub Girl features in a flimsy excuse to explore another idol from the writer’s youth, “Whatever Happened to the Smiths?”, and “The Gospel According to Sub Girl”, which focuses on Tank Girl’s kangaroo boyfriend, Booga. Tank Girl’s other pal, the booze- and drug-addled Jet Girl, also gets to star in her own strip. Hewlett and Martin’s Deadline buddies Philip Bond and Glyn Dillon step in to fulfil the artwork chores on the Sub Girl and Jet Girl strips respectively.

My personal favourite strip in this collection is “Morning Glory”, which includes some cool Quentin Tarantino elements and culminates in a very funny resolution. This is closely followed by the explosive heist caper, “The Mount Mushroom Massacre”, which features an inventive use for a bouncy castle. I’m not sure there are any Swiss yeti myths, as is suggested in “Ball Hanger”, but who cares when it’s this much fun?

The above strips have been published several times prior to this “remastered” edition, most recently in Titan’s 2002 printing, but this time there are a couple of additional entries. “Booga’s Luck” and “Cowboy Chan” haven’t seen the light of day since they originally appeared in the pages of UK Manga’s Tank Girl magazine in 1995. “Booga’s Luck”, another homage to Tucker Jenkins, with further bouncy castle action, is a surprisingly poignant tale of lost love. It may or may not reflect Alan Martin’s own feelings of loss of control over the Tank Girl franchise following the release of the movie, which is discussed in his new introduction.

This volume is a suitably anarchic end to the classic Hewlett / Martin era of Tank Girl.


Richard McGinlay

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