Tank Girl – Armadillo
She’s back! Join everybody’s favourite beer-swilling, chain-smoking, kangaroo-luvvin’ lunatic as she embarks on her first ‘proper’ literary excursion. Violence! Time travel! Midgets! Yes, tremble in fear at Tank Girl: The Novel!
What is Tank Girl? Tank Girl is… bubbies and booze and anarchy. And tanks. Big tanks. And green hair. And environmentalsm. And mayhem. And booze. And interspecies romance. The world and characters of Tank Girl are as exuberant as the scrub desert post nuclear wastelands of Australia where they’re set, but the offbeat humour and raggletaggle approach to life and downright rudeness is as British funnypunk as it comes.
Tank Girl holds a dear place in Mookychick’s heart – she’s a feisty little cow who drinks beer, snogs kangaroos, and has a righteous attitude to big business and boredom – she just blows things up with bombs stitched into her bra. Tank Girl is amazing.
And, until now, she’s been a comic, drawn by Jamie Hewlett (the artist behind the Gorillaz) and Alan C. Martin. Together, the two men created three graphic novels featuring Tank Girl and her friends (Sub Girl and Jet Girl, lest ye forget) fighting an eternal war against injustice, anybody that pisses them off, and perform feats of daring that usually involve high powered ammunition and lots of things that go boom. Cutting a tank-wide swathe through the Australian Outback, they eat well, drink lots, and knock over the occasional bank when in need of cash.
Now, at last, she’s a proper book with words in and no pictures: ‘Tank Girl: Armadillo’, published by Titan Books. The novel features some bonus bits (a couple of unillustrated comics scripts, a couple of poems, because people will insist on writing poems, a couple of other things…) but it’s the main story where the real action takes place, and it’s not just about things getting f*cked, f*cked over and completely f*cked right up.
In his introduction to Tank Girl: Armadillo!, writer Alan Martin points out our cultur is bombarded with massive sensual stimulation until we’re drowning in a sea of information overload. Our survival tactic is to form protective shells to defend ourselves and shut down against the onslaught of, y’know, excess stuff. Unfortunately, by doing this we also block our flow of creative energy. In this way, Martin says, the modern world refuses us our right to be who we are.
Like armadillos, we’re naked under our armour which protects us but also cuts us off from the world. According to Martin, we need to take control of our armour. Although it has its uses, we can’t let ourselves be trapped inside it, even though it only exists to protect us from the greed and manipulation of advertisers, politicians, and the rest of the information merchants. That’s where Tank Girl comes in. Her armour is in plain view, and to quote the words of another reviewer, she makes damn sure that nobody is going to sell her snake oil in any shape or form.
Okay, so that’s the book’s philosophy. The plot? Well, yeah, there’s a plot. Tank Girl and Booga (her kangaroo lover) have launched an all-out assault on the town of Chankers, starting with the church. But what prompted this attack? Could it have something to do with Booga’s nightmare vacation there years ago? Well, duh – whaddyou think? There’s only one thing to do in a case like this: bring down death and destruction with all the armament a girl and her tank can muster.
The book is most written in short, choppy, terse sentences – think Chuck Palahniuk – but the prose is joyous, funny, and fast-paced as hell. We also get to see how Tank Girl would have turned out if she hadn’t had to armour up against a tough, rough life. Interesting reading.
On the surface this book is a quick rollercoaster ride – underneath, it’s a call to arms. Just how we like it.