Sunday, August 16, 2009

Tank Girl Book One

Here's how this works. I read a book or two and tell you about them and try not to get too long-winded. This time, a review of Tank Girl Book One (Titan, 2009)

Man, oh, man, was this a disappointment.

Two and a half years back, when I was doing a Wednesday "Weekly Comics Hype" at my LiveJournal, I talked up Tank Girl by Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett like it was something pretty darn good, but I have to tell you, I picked up Titan's new edition of the first book and it just doesn't hold up at all.

That's not to say it's not a really great upgrade of the earlier versions. The previous Titan books presented Dark Horse's colorized reprints of the stories that had earlier appeared in glorious monochrome in Deadline. These new editions are not only resized to match the original comic better without squashing the art, but they're also in the original black and white, so you can see all the neat inking tricks that Hewlett was using, without that intrusive color.

Unfortunately, while these books could be a fabulous treat for Tanky's old fans, I picked up the new edition of the first collection up in Asheville last month and just wasn't taken with it anymore. It's possible I might have been spoiled by the new, hilarious episodes that Rufus Dayglo has been drawing for Judge Dredd Megazine for the last year or so. I chuckle over every episode of these new stories and their expansive, open artwork and choreographed madness, but Hewlett's cramped, in-jokey pages are too packed with words and visual payoffs are few and far between. It's pretty far from essential, but kudos at least to Titan for doing such a terrific job on the restoration, design and bonus information. The new episodes are terrific, but this, oddly, isn't anything that I'd recommend.

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