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Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Tank Girl: The Odyssey

Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Jamie Hewlett
Publisher: Titan Books

What's it about?
It's rude, it's crude, it's very very lewd.

Have you ever seen the 1995 Tank Girl movie?  Well, the comics aren't like that.  Speaking as someone who loved the film, that isn't a criticism.  The comic includes boozing, shagging, farting, vomiting and eyes of God able to fight off evil cannibalistic movie producer types.  You'll see a couple of familiar faces from the film - Booga the humanoid Kangaroo and Jet Girl, the girl with a jet.  There is however no water shortage, no post apocalyptic waste land and nothing futuristic about it.

So what is it about?  It's about a modern day Australian, boozing, smoking and abusing her way through life.  And it's all tightly woven around the plot of Homer's Odyssey and James Joyce's Ullysees.  For those of you not familiar with Homer's poem, it deals with the hero Odysseus and his journey home from the Trojan War.  It takes him ten years to get home and while he is away his wife Penelope and son Telemachus must deal with a hoard of suitors, wanting to wed Penelope.

So, back at Tank Girl, in among the reanimating fart gas, children with televisions for heads and moping Kangaroos  and zombie goths, you have more familiar tales of Cyclops, sheep for snacks and a vengeful spirit stopping your (anti) hero from getting home.  Oh yeah - Tank Girl is the returning spouse and Booga is the pining husband. 

What's good about it?
If you care about such things, it's certainly an effective homage to Homer's saga.  If you don't care about such things, then the book has plenty of other things to recommend it.  It's funny, it's gross in places, it's anarchic and it's a very good antidote to all that literature that takes itself far too seriously.

This is definitely a book for adults and not children.  It's vulgar, joyous and it revels in it's filth. 

What's bad about it?
If you don't like coarse language, violence or nudity you probably want to give this a miss.  Pretty much 90% of this is gratuitous.  If the descriptions of the content gave you pause for thought, this probably isn't for you. 

What's the art like?
It reminds me of the album sleeves belonging to early 90s bands like the Senseless Things and The Wildhearts smiley bones logo.   There's a frenetic quality to it that is similar.  Maybe this shouldn't be a surprise, as the artist Jamie Hewlett was responsible for the Gorillaz animation.

It's also colourful and is chock full of caricatures.  If you're looking for cheesecake art you won't find it here as this doesn't beautify anyone:


Other information
Price: £10.99
ISBN: 1840234946

Addendum 16/07/2010:  If you like this, you might also want to try nextwave Agents of H.A.T.E or Transmetropolitan volume 1.


  1. Hewlett did most of the Senseless Things cover art way back when. Deadline ruled the school. And Tankie was queen of the heap.

  2. Ah, that would explain it then, thanks for the info :)