Monday, March 16, 2009

Cover Up: Tank Girl #2 (Vol. 2)

As far as I'm concerned, no other cover sums up the spirit of Tank Girl quite like this one.

Your mileage may vary and all that, but the cover of Tank Girl #2 (Vol. 2) by original artist and co-creator Jamie Hewlett is pure energy (but not Pure Energy) and distills the essence of the comic to its misshapen core of cramped and overheated insanity.

Hewlett tends to be one of those artists comic book readers either love or hate, and I fall firmly in the first category. His characters are always delightfully — often manically — expressive, and the work in his Tank Girl books would dare readers to keep up as it veered from style to style, using anything from rough sketches to hyper-detailed linework to collage, sometimes drenched in the most lurid colors you could imagine. (The mainstream would later be introduced to Hewlett's character design and slightly sinister style with his co-created "virtual" band Gorillaz.)

Some people could complain this cover is too busy, and there is a hell of a lot going on here. But I don't think any of it is wasted or superfluous. Ever seen those film clips of bombs being dropped from airplanes during World War II? The cover gives the reader a view of what it would be like to be in the middle of that insane downpour of munitions, as well as of the cigar-chomping tank pilot with the cracked goggles flying right through it.

But that's just the first thing to hit you. This cover is all about the details, from the bloody bandage on Tank Girl's leg to her furiously jabbing thumbs, mashing the fire buttons arcade-style. And don't forget the various stickers ("My Other Tank Is Crap") and decorations (my favorite is the pennant boasting that "She Came 1st") that are as much a part of the tank's design as the treads and chopper-inspired back-rest.

The cover to Tank Girl #2 is excess — which, when you think about it, is at the heart of Tank Girl itself. Sometimes too much is just right.

5 comments:

Sea_of_Green said...

I blushingly admit that I did kinda like the Tank Girl movie -- until I saw the comics themselves. :-)

Maxo said...

Ha ha! Did the movie ruin the comics for you, or vice versa? I haven't seen that movie in a looooong time; I wonder if I have the fortitude to watch it again.

rob! said...

I'd love to see a Jamie Hewlett Plastic Man mini.

I know, it'll never happen--he's got all that Gorillaz money now.

Maxo said...

Oh man, that would be INSANE. Who knows, maybe he could be tempted if DC had the guts to make the offer.

Sea_of_Green said...

Well, the movie made me curious enough to see the comics -- and once I saw the comics, I haven't been able to bring myself to watch the movie again.