Rufus Dayglo: Tankie's Tank Gets a New Technician

A comics interview article by: Karyn Pinter
Hang on to your knickers kids! It’s time for Tank Girl with Rufus Dayglo!

Karyn Pinter: Hello Rufus. Thank you for taking some time to chat about Tank Girl, everyone’s favorite little gutter mouth!

How did you come to the role of artist for Tank Girl?

Rufus Dayglo: I’d suggested Ashley Wood to Alan Martin as a replacement artist for Jamie Hewlett and when Ashley started the new series, he asked me to help him. I ended up drawing 3 of the 4 issues of that mini series (The Gifting). So when the next series started Alan offered it to me, and he’s been trying to get rid of me ever since!

KP: I have a question from Alex, a fellow writer, to ask. What is it that attracts you to the character of Tank Girl?

RD: I’ve always been a huge Tankie fan. I love Alan’s stories, how they go off course, and often refuse to deliver a traditional “pay-off” which infuriates more traditional readers but has won us a legion of loyal readers. It’s a character we can do anything with and as Alan owns it we are not limited to what we can do or say like licensed characters (like superheroes which are owned by corporate companies). We really are an independent outfit, it’s only Alan and I on our pirate ship of paper and pencils. I also love drawing a female character that isn’t required to be sexy. She’s usually dirty, messy, and I can smell her from across the room.

KP: Do you feel like there’s a lot of pressure having to keep Tank Girl fresh after 20 years, and filling the shoes of Jamie Hewlett?

RD: I could never hope to do that. Jamie is…well, Jamie. I can only hope to help tell some fun stories, and get across what I love about the characters. We concentrate on what’s ahead of us. Booga can guard our rears.

KP: Where do you find your inspiration for the character? Obviously you want to do the Jamie Hewlett’s art justice, but you want you put your own spin on the character.

RD: Yes. I want the readers to pick it up and not think “why the f**k has this tit changed/ruined/mangled my favorite character?” Having said that, I’m sure plenty do. Jamie and I love a lot of the same artists: Mike “Mick” McMahon, Brendan McCarthy, Philip Bond, Ronald Searle, Jack Davis, Mort Drucker, and Chuck Jones. We’re at least coming from the same direction. I come from an animation background, so I hope I have a reasonably good idea of where Tank Girl was coming from.

KP: On a scale of extremely awesome to bloody fantastic, how does it feel to know that you’re supplying a whole new generation with a comic filled with lunatical depravity? ...Thank you by the way...

RD: Bloody extremely fantastically awesome, as you’d say. I’m very, very, very lucky. Working with Alan is just amazing. He’s given me a lot of freedom, and I try and bring my own spin to things. I may not always succeed but I’m trying.

KP: Skidmarks, what spawned this new story?

RD: We wanted to try something a bit more epic. Most Tank Girl stories are fairly self contained. This series is a bit of a Trojan horse, so we can delve back into episodes of Tankie’s life like her school days. It’s about the journey. Alan is kinda zen like that!

KP: How about the future of the franchise? You’re working some stuff beyond Skidmarks for Image and IDW, correct?

RD: We have a whole bunch of stuff coming up. The Royal Escape, a 4 issue mini series for IDW which start in March. Bad Wind Rising, another miniseries for Titan Books next year, and the Image Comics specials.

KP: What can you tell us about Dirty Helmets and Dark Nuggets?

RD: These are quarterly specials we’ll be releasing through Image Comics. We kick off in December with Dark Nuggets, our first special. I’m really excited about these!

KP: Now for that giant elephant in the room. What did you think of the 1995 Tank Girl movie? Total classic or total crap? Or a crap classic?

RD: It’s a double edged sword. Obviously for Alan and Jamie when the film came out it was a huge let down, as it wasn’t like their comic. But many of our new readers came to Tank Girl from the film. So ironically it has spawned a new generation of fans.

So weighing it up, it’s no bad thing. It looks great if you turn the sound off as Alan pointed out to me. (Preferably playing the soundtrack to Apocalypse Now instead in the background...)

KP: You have to show some love to Lori Petty for her performance.

RD: Lori is a complete star, and has been nothing but completely supportive of Tank Girl, the movie, the fans, and our books. We are so lucky to have her. She has so much energy, and is such a great ambassador! We love Lori.

KP: Okay, say someone who is a Tank Girl virgin and has never read one of her comics is reading this interview. What would you say to them to convince them to run out and buy an issue?

RD: I have your Boyfriend’s knob in a vice. Every five minutes I tighten it a bit more. Better find a comics shop, pronto, Cherry.

KP: Much thanks from and from a Tank Girl super fan for chatting about the comic.

RD: Love’n tanks!

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