I’ve gotten to talk to a lot of interesting creators since we set up the shop know as Comic Bastards, but there’s a few that I will be in awe of being able to chat with and Alan Martin is one of those people. Martin is the co-creator of Tank Girl, a comic I’m not afraid to admit that I discovered via the movie and Wizard magazine. I had the chance to pick Alan’s brain about his new collection The Power of Tank Girl, releasing on October 1st, from Titan Comics.
DUSTIN: This may not be the most original question, but how after all these years do you keep Tank Girl true to her character? And at the same time grow the character?
ALAN MARTIN: You make it sound like I know what I'm doing! The answer is - I don't. It's a complete free-for-all. Any random idea gets thrown into the mix, whatever I'm into at the time. Whatever person I've met the day before, the last album I bought, the latest 60s kids TV show that I've dug up and started watching, they all go into the scripts and stories. In fact there it is, that's exactly how I keep her character true.
DUSTIN: When you approach a new chapter for the character do you worry about continuity and an overall arc to the series or does the makeup of the series allow for different story telling to take place?
ALAN MARTIN: I've only attempted story arcs a couple of times on longer stories. They've proved difficult to balance against the chaos of Tank Girl's world. As for continuity, that's never been an issue; Tank Girl's universe is very loose and fluid - anything can happen at any given moment, with or without explanation.
DUSTIN: While reading The Power of Tank Girl I could help but wonder if there was some deeper meaning to some of the stories, for instance in “The Royal Escape” the eggs seemed to hold some deeper meaning. Is that accurate or was it all in good fun?
ALAN MARTIN: I try not to load anything with too much heavy meaning, ambiguity is my friend. An egg can be anything you want it to be - a symbol of femininity or fertility, a new beginning, a modern symbol of a Christian festival, or your dinner. I'm a big fan of the films of Robert Bresson; it's not just about me ramming a story that can only mean one thing down your throat and you swallowing it, it's about what you've brought along with you too, your perspective, you projecting your story onto my story.
DUSTIN: With the difference artists that work on the series and in particular The Power of Tank Girl, what’s the collaborative process like? Do you just hand them the script and tell them to go nuts or is more back and forth effort of creating it together?
ALAN MARTIN: I gave them scripts. But my scripts are pretty loose and open to interpretation. It might not look like it, but I think long and hard about the progression from my brain to script to artist to page to reader. As a comic writer you send your words out on a long journey before they arrive at their final destination. It's only by working with an artist, or lots of artists, that you begin to feel the path and find the best way to make it work. It's an intuitive art form.
DUSTIN: Out of curiosity what’s the female response to Tank Girl like? For me I see her as a sexy and powerful woman, but far from the cheesecake that plagues the industry. But what’s the typical response that you get?
ALAN MARTIN: Tank Girl's audience is more than 50% female, which I think is an anomaly in the world of comics, it's certainly very rare. Most of the correspondence I receive is from the new generation of readers - girls who have discovered the comics through watching the movie. They're always very excited, like they've stumbled on some long-forgotten ruined temple in a jungle, and it's just theirs and no one else's. I know that feeling and love it - I've been the fan of many a cult band, TV show, comic, and movie - and I'm so happy that I can I be the one that can give it to others for once.
DUSTIN: Last question, what would you like fans to take away from The Power of Tank Girl when they pick it up?
ALAN MARTIN: I hope they laugh a lot, it's meant to be a funny comic after all.
Well as someone how has read The Power of Tank Girl, it is fun and funny so check it out. A big thank you to Alan and Titan Comics for setting this up and again be sure to check out The Power of Tank Girl on October 1st, 2014!