Alan Martin talks crowd-funding the '21st Century Tank Girl' anthology
(CBR) The rock 'n' roller in me loves reunion stories. Cynics may decry them as middle-aged musicians having prolonged mid-life crises, or shameless attempts at topping up their pension funds, but when a band I loved as a youth reforms, it tends to bring a big wet sentimental tear to my eye. So, when Alan Martin told me he was launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund the anthology "21st Century Tank Girl," which includes a strip illustrated by original Tank Girl co-creator Jamie Hewlett, I was beaming.
The book will also feature comics illustrated by another six artists, both familiar and new to Tank Girl readers, including Phillip Bond, Jim Mahfood and Warwick Johnson Cadwell. Hewlett's contribution to the 100-page, album-sized, hardback book constitutes Hewlett's first real comic book work in 15 years, and his first return to the iconic character since 1996 -- a big deal for those of us who had our minds blown by his generation-defining contributions to the artform in the late '80s/early '90s.
We spoke with Martin about the launch of the campaign, the important of honest incentives/rewards and getting the band back together for another Tank Girl adventure.
CBR News: I've been thinking about this news in terms of recent band reformations, like the Pixies, the Stone Roses, or the Jesus and Mary Chain. The cynic in me always wants to dismiss these things as just money-making exercises (the Sex Pistols even called their reunion tour "Filthy Lucre"), but I reckon we're suckers for them because they represent a chance to remember our youth fondly. Where do you stand on this matter?
Alan Martin: Me and Tank Girl have been back in each other's lives for more than seven years now, which makes this less of a reformation for me. I guess I'm like the member of the band that carried on gigging under the original banner, long after the singer or lead guitarist had left for a successful solo career. That seems like a noble pursuit to me, carrying on against all odds because you love something so much. Or because you have no idea of how to do anything else!
As for "Filthy Lucre", we're gonna need to get severely over-funded before I make any real money out of it, and Jamie is doing it for the love of it. I've budgeted for some realistic page rates for the rest of the artists, as Tank Girl has traditionally been quite a tight-arsed gig. Our funding goal is pretty high, but I wanted to do a proper job on the book, make a high quality product, get it printed in Britain, print a shed-load of copies, and originate 100 top-notch pages from scratch, with no reprint material or anything that's been seen on the internet or anywhere else before.
As you said, Jamie Hewlett's back. What on Earth did it take to get him drawing comics again?
This isn't a sudden thing; he's been thinking about it for a long time, it's been a regular topic of conversation over the years. Comics were Jamie's first love, and the thing that got him into drawing in the first place, so it was inevitable that he'd arrive back where he started at some point in time. I think he's interested to see how the last decade of animation, record sleeves, toy design and video direction will have altered his approach to drawing comics. I know I am.
How does it feel when an old mate goes off and becomes a bona fide pop star, anyway? The Gorillaz were great, but I always preferred The Unpopulars, myself.
That was always gonna be Jamie's destiny. When he was a teenager, it was quite obvious -- all the Rik Mayall impressions, appearing on "Hey Look, That's Me!", always flashing his knob about -- he's a confident and entertaining personality. So it didn't come as any surprise when he spilled out of the UK comics scene and started projecting his drawings, fifty foot high, onto some of the most famous musicians in the world. It all seemed perfectly natural to me.
Of course, The Unpopulars should've been huge.
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