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Tank Girl is best known for being a 1995 film starring Lori Petty, and we are all-in on that part of this franchise — but it is also an independent comic series created by Jamie Hewlett (of Gorillaz fame) and Alan Martin. We love to see an underdog make good, and that makes us pretty big fans of the anarchic jumble that is Tank Girl comics.
As the film hits its 25-year anniversary, and we hold our collective breaths for the Margot Robbie reboot, we felt it would be a great time to go over some of our favorite Tank Girl moments. Almost all her stories have been penned by Martin, though Hewlett has mostly moved on from the series to other projects, thereby opening the door to a ton of great artists to step in over the years, like Ashley Wood and Jim Mahfood.
There have been a ton of great, bonkers, admittedly kind of disgusting stories to come out of the Tank Girl mythos, so here are some of the best!
Tank Girl Vol. 1 #1
Though Tank Girl has gone on to inspire a lot of characters and stories, this was a truly unique book in 1990. Seemingly taking some notes from Love & Rockets and just going wildly off into space with the concept, TG's open sexuality, punk rock ethos, and complete disdain of authority figures on a mass scale helped set a new tone for how women comic characters could be written. Most parts of that successfully translated to the original film, but the explosive anti-authoritarian spirit of the comic exists in a world of its own.
In the first series, she meets Booga, fails to deliver colostomy bags to the President, has a koala sidekick, encounters Big Rod the Prince of Darkness, and starts a minor war over not having her favorite beer in the fridge on her birthday after being expected to settle for a lesser brand.
Tank Girl: Gold #3
The more recent Tank Girl: Gold series features a handful of closer looks on characters we haven’t seen quite enough of in the comics. Who would be more deserving of some extra focus than our beloved Jet Girl, who has been with TG since the beginning and co-starred in the film (as portrayed by Naomi Watts)?
Don't get us wrong — this comic doesn't have a cohesive plot any more than any other one on this list does, but, as usual, that's what works for all great Tank Girl stories. This issue is specifically interesting because we see the inner world of the thoughtful, sort of poetic cast member of the TG gang. Jet Girl spends the issue using cool tech, hustling people at pool, and flying around, but the heart of the issue is her inner monologue, in which she mostly just thinks about how much she loves her girlfriend. TG is such nonstop, off-the-wall action that this story truly stands out just for wearing its heart on its sleeve. Besides that, Jet Girl is the best, and more stories with her as the focal point are always welcome.
Every Barney appearance
Barney shows up in most Tank Girl stories very briefly, so it's not easy to give a pull list for her, but it is easy to list a few of her greatest hits. Barney is a living Deus ex machina and shows up out of nowhere to save Booga and Tank Girl from their constant shoot-outs and wars. For instance, in Visions of Booga #1, she and Jet Girl meet Adam Ant. In Visions of Booga #2, Barney shows up working as a waitress in a dive then pops up again later with a stolen tank. In Solid State Tank Girl #1, Barney and Jet Girl shrink down to enter Booga's body Fantastic Voyage-style with TG.
Barney is one of the greatest characters of the Tank Girl universe because she has no sense of urgency, even when under a hail of bullets, and she always helps TG regardless of how absurd TG's requests are. There is almost no way Tank Girl and Booga would have survived the series without the spectacular, usually drunk Barney, and it is for her we give thanks.
Tank Girl: The Odyssey
If you've ever found yourself wondering what Tank Girl written by Peter Milligan would be like, the answer to that is that it already happened in 1995 and it was a parody of The Odyssey with a ton of James Joyce and Ulysses references thrown in. We discover TG and Booga have a child with a television for a head. She is reunited with her beloved tank. She comes into contact with her deceased mother while attempting to save Booga from the temptations of Hollywood stardom. Most Tank Girl stories are off-the-rails, but this one is genuinely wild.
Visions of Booga
For the Booga/TG shippers of this world, this is the series for you. Booga and Tank Girl's relationship gets more focus than ever before through a flashback story. In the beginning, TG is perpetually annoyed with Booga's inability to read the room and his tendency to spill important details in conversation. During a typically chaotic story arc in which they are on the run from the Australian mafia, he centers himself with a Beat author parody book called, quite literally, Hipster Gold. They lose TG's beloved tank after pawning it, which puts a strain on their love, but the two of them become even closer as they endure a catastrophic run of bad luck that you could only read in a Tank Girl comic. When Booga asks Tank Girl to marry him, she shrugs and says, "Sure. Why not. Who the hell else am I gonna marry? We’ll stop at the next church we come to, you supply the rings and I'll sort out the booze." Folks, believe us when we say this is one of the great love stories of our times.