Interviewing Tank Girl’s Alan Martin: ‘We Toyed With The Idea Of Killing Her Off On Many Occasions’

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By Olly MacNamee

With the first issue of Titan Comics Tank Girl: Two Girls, One Tank coming out this May 18th, there’s no better time to catch up with co-creator and writer of Tank Girl, Alan Martin to discuss her heritage and her new mini-series.

Olly MacNamee: With Tank Girl fast approaching her 30th anniversary, she’s sure looking good for her age. Did you ever imagine she’d still be fighting fit in this day and age? What do you think’s her appeal? Is it her punk rock routes and sensibilities, or something else?

Alan Martin: Back when Jamie (Hewlett) and I started, we barely saw past the next monthly issue. We toyed with the idea of killing her off on many occasions, I have a list of possible death scenarios from back then that I might release one day. Her appeal is her rebellion against anyone or anything that tries to exert authority over her.

OM: Are the same influences that created Tank Girl back in Thatcher’s Britain still a driving force behind Tankie today still? Sex, Drugs and (Punk) Rock n Roll?

AM: I don’t think those were our original influences, it was more like sugary sweets, 70s Sit Coms, and Cheap Lager ‘n’ The Wombles. These are still touchstones in the creation of modern Tank Girl comics.

OM: You’ve worked with some great artists in the past, Jamie Hewlett, Rufus Dayglo, Jim Mahfood, and now Brett Parsons who seems another perfect fit for our hero. Is it a collaborative process similar to the early, chaotic days of the strip in Deadline, or something a little different nowadays?

AM: When I worked with Jamie on the original Deadline stories, there was very little planning – usually nothing more than a drunken conversation in a pub – and we would come up with stupid ideas whilst we simultaneously constructed the script and artwork. These days, because I’m working remotely with artists all around the globe, the production has to be much more traditional, with me writing scripts and sending them out. Within that, we still manage to be pretty stupid, though.

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OM: Where did you find Brett anyway? Pub, publicist or something completely different?

AM: I would love to say it was down the pub, but Brett lives in the USA and I’m in England. I met Brett via email after seeing a Tank Girl image he had posted. I shared his picture on my Tank Girl pages, and the response was phenomenal.

OM: And, what of the tease for the new series, Tank Girl: Two Girls, One Tan, that there is going to be a contender to the throne, so to speak. You tell me, is this world really big enough for two Tank Girls? What can we expect?

AM: The other girl in the tank is a long-lost character from Tank Girl’s past. A lot is revealed about her (and Tank Girl’s) past. Be prepared, this story is a tragedy.

OM: And, finally, is it too early to ask if you do have any plans for a 30th anniversary celebration? One that Tank Girl could be proud of?

AM: Two Girls, One Tank is the first step on the path to Tank Girl‘s 30th Birthday celebrations. It’s gonna be massive, wobbly, expensive, and slightly messy.

Olly MacNamee teaches English and Media, for his sins, in a school somewhere in Birmingham. Some days, even he doesn’t know where it is. Follow him on twitter @ollymacnamee or read about his exploits at olly.macnamee@blogspot.co.uk. Or don’t. You can also read his articles fairly frequently at www.bleedingcool.com too.