Tank Girl is a wacky British indie comic created by artist Jamie Hewlett (later of Gorillaz fame) and written by Alan Martin about a cheerfully sociopathic young woman who lives in a tank, her mutant kangaroo boyfriend Booga, her various bizarre and violent buddies, and knob jokes. Set in the Australian outback, most of its stories pay no attention to reality, the laws of physics, good taste, bad taste, yucky taste or conventional storytelling. Which is probably why it is so damn fun.
Frequently Crosses The Line, mostly because the writers don't seem to be aware that there is a line.
Tank Girl started as a comic strip in the British magazine Deadline. It was made into a movie in 1995 starring Lori Petty (The voice of Livewire) and also featuring Naomi Watts, Malcolm McDowell, and Ice-T. Unfortunately the movie flopped and was considered by the creators to be a bad adaptation, causing Hewlett and Martin to quit in disgust. The financial failure also caused the collapse of Deadline.
For contractual reasons, two mini-series were produced for Vertigo Comics to tie into the film: "The Odyssey", written by Peter Milligan and with art by Hewlett, and "Apocalypse" with neither Martin or Hewlett involved.
In the 2000s, Martin has revived Tank Girl for a series of mini-series with various comic companies.
Collected editions are:
Original Deadline strips
- Tank Girl
- Tank Girl 2
- Tank Girl 3
- The Hole of Tank Girl
- The Cream of Tank Girl
Vertigo Comics "contractual obligation" titles
- Tank Girl: The Odyssey
- Tank Girl: Apocalypse!
2000s Alan Martin titles
- Tank Girl: The Gifting
- Tank Girl: Visions of Booga
- Tank Girl: Skidmarks
- We Hate Tank Girl
- Tank Girl: The Royal Escape
- Tank Girl: Bad Wind Rising
- Tank Girl: Carioca
- Everybody Loves Tank Girl
- Solid State Tank Girl
- 21st Century Tank Girl
- Tank Girl: Armadillo! (text novel)
The comic contains examples of:
- Action Girl: Tank Girl and her buddies Jet Girl and Sub Girl are females who fight very well.
- All Just a Dream / Daydream Surprise: Commonly used whenever Martin gets fed up with a story or can't think of an ending.
- Anything That Moves: Boys, girls, mutant kangaroos, her own tank—whatever she finds sexy, Tank Girl will at least make a pass at it.
- Artistic License Biology: Booga and the other Rippers are said to be kangaroo-human hybrids created by some handwaved science-y stuff. They barely resemble kangaroos and have fewer kangaroo-like traits as the series goes on.
- Ascended Extra: Barney initially appears as a nameless member of a group of characters Tank Girl busts out of a Bedlam House, but gradually gets a name and major character status.
- Ax-Crazy: All the characters are insanely violent at times, but especially Barney.
- Bandage Babe: Tank primarily, but a lot of the characters wear random wrapped joints and heads that rarely if ever have anything to do with any actual injuries (and which in any case tend to move around depending on how cool they look. Tank also usually sports at least one Pointless Band-Aid, usually somewhere on her head.
- Black Comedy: The comic has a lot of the violence played for morbid humor.Tank Girl: What's black and white and red all over? Dismembered ninjas! Ha!
- Charlie Brown Baldness: Tank Girl usually shaves her head apart from a few wildly-coloured locks.
- Continuity: Played fast, loose, and always for laughs. Continuity between story arcs? Heck, you're lucky to get it between panels.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Jet Girl is a little... off. She spent one storyline collecting and numbering rocks, piling them all up in a cairn... and launching a missile at the pile. All to see if, given the exact right trajectory, each rock would end up back in the same area she got it.
- Darker and Edgier: Hard to believe it was possible, but The Royal Escape is a lot darker-toned than usual.
- Deal with the Devil: Trading God's Bathrobe, of all things, for three wishes. One wish is for a can of beer bigger than she is.
- Delinquent Hair: Tank Girl has most of her hair shaved off to show she's a rebel.
- Desert Punk: At least all of Australia is sand, and Tank rarely visits the coast. This is likely why Jet shows up a lot more than Sub.
- Even Evil Has Standards: When Booga finds Sub Girl sadistically torturing a robot:Crazy? Perhaps. Arseholes? Never.
- Eyes Always Shut: In the first few stories, Tank Girl always had her eyes closed.
- Fanservice: Her outfits (and libido) make Madonna look prudish.
- Fan Disservice: Her original design was meant as a "fuck you" to how women were portrayed in comics; in later issues her appearance changed wildly, as a series of "Fuck you"s to pervy Tank Girl fans (along with a general trend of making everyone look grotesque). Any actual sex or suggestion thereof was farcical at best and usually really gross.
- Full-Frontal Assault: The World War Tank Girl miniseries featured Tank Girl and her allies fighting Nazis in the nude.
- Good Angel, Bad Angel: Subverted in that even Tank Girl's Good shoulder angel still ends up making terrible suggestions and swearing a lot.
- Heroic Comedic Sociopath: The entire joke of Tank Girl's character is that she often isn't that far removed from the bad guys she battles in terms of villainy; she's just a lot funnier than they are.
- Identity Amnesia: Happens to a traumatised Sub Girl in Two Girls One Tank.
- Interspecies Romance: Tank Girl is romantically involved with a genetically enhanced kangaroo. There was also an occasion where Tank Girl had a child with her own tank◊.
- Kaleidoscope Hair: Tank Girl's hair color not only changes between comics but often between panels.
- Kangaroo Court: The Rippers are mutant humanoid kangaroos living in an underground commune, where this trope is often taken literally when it comes to strangers to make their way into Ripper territory.
- Kissing Under the Influence: Tank Girl has a baby with her tank while she's drunk. Makes Just as Much Sense in Context, alright.
- The Lad-ette: The main character is one of the first really extreme comics examples of a woman who acts like a frat boy.
- Land, Sea, Sky: Tank, Sub, and Jet have the dynamic of being a trio representing land, sea, and air.
- Male Frontal Nudity: Booga has had his penis visible several times.
- Male-to-Female Universal Adaptor: Booga's penis is compatible with Tank Girl.
Booga: Now that's an ending I can really get behind!
- A strip published in 1989 ends with Tank Girl mooning the reader, revealing the words "Up Yours" written on her ass.
- In the fifth issue of King Tank Girl, the story "Commando" ends with Sub Girl, Jet Girl and Tank Girl flashing their bottoms at Booga and Barney to prove that they were on the third day of their underwear routine (which was not wearing underwear at all after one day of wearing underwear normally and one day of wearing them inside-out).
- Negative Continuity: Apart from the odd Brick Joke, nothing really stays consistent.
- Nested Story Reveal / Unreliable Narrator: Several stories turn out to be the characters' spinning tales to each other.
- Pimped-Out Car: Or in this case, a tank.
- Pointless Band-Aid: All the characters often have sticking plasters in random places.
- Progressively Prettier: Over the course of the series Tank Girl seemed to get more and more traditionally "pretty" looking.
- Protagonist Title
- Refuge in Audacity
- Rite of Passage: Booga was sent to steal Tank Girl's underwear, and ended up sleeping with her. The rest of the kangaroo gang, thinking Booga was killed, swore revenge and attacked, and Tank slaughtered them all before Booga woke up. Conveniently explaining why Booga's with Tank!
- Rule of Funny: The whole comic is an amoral, hilarious, no-holds-barred world where even the vaguest semblance of a plot gets derailed in favor of what's funniest at the moment.
- Sapient Tank: Tank Girl's tank almost functions as a pet, in that it sometimes follows her around (even when she tells it to stay), comes when called (except if it gets distracted), responds positively to her approval and becomes upset when she scolds it. Also they've had sex.
- Sealed Army in a Can: The Royal Escape
- Shameless Fanservice Girl: Of a sort. If Tank Girl wants to be naked, she's going to be naked whether anyone (including the reader) wants to see it or not.
- Shout-Out: Many.
- Sliding Scale of Silliness vs. Seriousness: Very silly.
- Small Girl, Big Gun: Tank Girl and her tank.
- Special Guest: Dee Dee Ramone appears as one of the Wacky Racers in the "Skid Marks" arc.
- Stepford Smiler: Jackie aka Boat Girl is a rare sympathetic one, who keeps talking and behaving like a suburban housewife even while in a murderous gunfight.
- Superpowered Evil Side / Shapeshifter Weapon/ One-Winged Angel: Tank under the influence of the Black Egg.
- Tank Goodness: The title character rides in a tank.
- Tank-Top Tomboy: Why, Tank, of course. Being an Action Girl definitely helps the image.
- They Do: Tank and Booga finally get hitched in Visions of Booga although it may have been because of a reality-warping Beat novel.
- Tomboyish Name: Barney is a girl who has a masculine name.
- Unlimited Wardrobe: Tank Girl tends to show up dressed in whatever costume is convenient at the moment. It's never remarked upon where she gets her clothes or when she changes them, all chalked up to the comic's fast-and-loose grasp of continuity.
- Wacky Racing: The "Skid Marks" series.
- Whole Plot Reference: "The Odyssey" is, yes, The Odyssey with Tank Girl characters.
- World Gone Mad: The comic starts off in a post-apocalyptic Outback where the world's gone topsy-turvy in order to survive. Then you realize that all these characters are nuts and probably would have been like this even if the world wasn't topsy-turvy.