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Comic Book Review

Book Cover

Tank Girl All Stars #4


Writer: Alan Martin
Artists: Brett Parson, Phil Bond, Warwick Johnson-Cadwell, Greg Staples, Jim Mahfood
Publisher: Titan Comics
RRP: UK £2.65, US $3.99
Age: Mature readers
32 pages
Publication Date: 03 October 2018

Tank Girl’s 30th-anniversary celebrations come to a messy, explosive and quite possibly literal climax in this birthday anthology of stories from co-creator Alan Martin and an unruly handful of artists! We flash back to Booga’s younger days to witness his obsession with an animated television show and its limited-edition foamy merchandise. Tank Girl gets in a spin (cycle) when she unexpectedly turns up inside a washing machine. And who are you calling a 30-year-old bag…?

Reviewing Tank Girl comic books sometimes takes me a while, because writer Alan Martin has a habit of sending me back to my childhood on a nostalgia trip. A couple of issues ago it was references to The Six Million Dollar Man that had me Googling away, looking up the iconic title sequence on YouTube, and checking the prices of box sets on online stores. Now the fourth and final episode of Time for Tank Girl blends a couple of Hanna-Barbera classics, The Banana Splits and The Hair Bear Bunch, to form The Hairy Banana Bunch, a programme that, we are told, was loyally followed by the young Booga. (I almost typed “the juvenile Booga” there, but when isn’t he juvenile?) Artist Brett Parson successfully combines the look of the two shows in the characters of Big Banana, Flares Bear and Bouffy. Rare merchandise from the series proves to be an unlikely source of salvation (and permed hair) for the gang in their fight against a zombie virus.

Following the twelve-page finale of Time for Tank Girl come a series of single-page pieces of art by Warwick Johnson-Cadwell, Greg Staples, Jim Mahfood and Philip Bond. Johnson-Cadwell’s effort is accompanied by a poem, Where Did My VHS Go? More nostalgia – and it’s not over yet…

The most surprising inclusion in this sud-sational issue is the final three-page strip, which revives a couple of other stars from Tank Girl’s original home, Deadline magazine. 30-Year-Old Bag features the return of Pippa and Elizabeth from Wired World. Their original artist, Philip Bond (here credited as Phil Bond), shows them having aged in a way that Tank Girl really hasn’t done, probably because their adventures were always set in the present day. Ironically, given the focus on age, I was reminded of an episode of The Young Ones as Pips and Liz revisit a launderette (the setting of the very first Wired World strip). Like Vyvyan’s underpants, their bag is so old, it’s only the stubborn understains that are holding it together! In another reminder of the passage of time, the girls discover that the price of a wash has increased considerably since they were last here. Then something strange happens… 30-Year-Old Bag is a surreal affair, but it’s great to see Pippa and Elizabeth again, albeit only briefly.


Richard McGinlay

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