'The Cream of Tank Girl' is something of a misnomer, to be entirely fair. This book does cover the initial half of Tank Girl's appearances, but a small yet noticeable amount of space in the book is dedicated to other strips Hewlett and Martin created together, such as their pirate strip, and a semi-follow up to Tank Girl which followed fan-favourite character Barney, in an entirely different yet still hilarious set of circumstances.
Despite this, the emphasis on Jamie Hewlett's artwork and his development of Tank Girl - First from the riot grrl, punk rock bitch she started out as (inspiring legions of followers, cosplayers, etc), into an almost hippie-esque, general counter-culture icon is displayed on a variety of stunning pages. Since Hewlett and Martin's work on Tank Girl was recently republished in a new Anniversary edition, spread across three volumes plus the two miniseries developed without Martin, the book wisely chooses to concentrate on cover art from Deadline Magazine and a variety of others, plus concept artwork detailing Tank Girl's latest sexy set of threads. It's an approach that works.
The book also takes on the form of chapters, chronicling both Tank Girl's development, from black and white to colour, and features a smattering of writing detailing Hewlett and Martin's rise in fame and fortune, culminating in the disastrous Tank Girl movie, which soured the character for both creators. Both of them, if asked, are refreshingly blunt about their feelings on the film, and this is presented well here. Those interested in the movie should be aware there are precious few images devoted to the film in here, save for several of Hewlett's impressive panels, which were used in the actual film.
There is also precious little input from creator Alan Martin, but perhaps, in a book that focuses on Hewlett's visual development of the character, this is appropriate. Martin is also working full-steam on his revival of Tank Girl, which has so far seen 'The Gifting', 'Visions of Booga', 'Skidmarks', and several specials published over the past three years. A prose novel, Armadillo!, is also available and equally hilarious. However, one amusing section presented a would-be world where Hewlett writes and Martin draws the character - The results generally suggest the amount of influence Martin had on the character, which is to say, a heck of a lot.
This book is essential, then, for fans of Tank Girl, Gorillaz, Jamie Hewlett, or just anyone that loves good, insane comic book art. The presentation and quality of the images in here is easily equal to the 'Rise of the Ogre' 'autobiography' published by the Gorillaz in recent years, making it a must-have for fans of that book.