Have you ever wondered what anarchy would look like if it were in comic book form? Well, the answer is: it looks like Tank Girl.

Tank Girl is a punk rock fever dream created by artist Jamie Hewlett and writer Alan Martin for Deadline magazine in 1988. It was a frenetic cacophony of a comic book that didn’t so much cross the line of decency and good taste, as it erased that line completely and said, “Line? What line? I don’t see a line.”

Tank Girl didn’t play by conventional storytelling rules and narrative structure. It dismissed them completely in favor of a chaotic blend of manic action, crude humor, substance abuse, and a profusion of contemporary British pop-culture references that can be simply baffling.

The story – and I mean that in the loosest sense of that word – is centered on Tank Girl, a girl who lives in and drives a tank through a post-apocalyptic Australian wasteland with her mutant kangaroo boyfriend Booga, her ex-boyfriend Stevie, and a stuffed toy called Camp Koala who sadly meets a tragic end. After being unable to fulfill a mission for an unnamed organization she is pursued by various bounty hunters. After that stuff happens. Beer is drunk, violence is perpetrated, and sex is had.

And I want to emphasize that none of the plot matters. The plot, such as it is, is simply a vehicle for Hewlett’s intense, often psychedelic art to attack you from the page, while Martin fills every nook and cranny of each panel and gutter with vulgar jokes and non-sequiturs.

As for the character of Tank Girl herself, she is something else. Beautiful and gross – crude, dirty, a little bit mean, and more than a little psychotic. She’s not very bright but she’s smarter than everyone else. Tank Girl doesn’t fit into traditional stereotypes or conform to any label we may give her. Tank Girl simply is.

Your enjoyment of this comic will be based on individual tolerance. You will either be highly amused by the antics on the page or deeply offended by them, sometimes within the same panel. As a whole Tank Girl is an unparalleled achievement – an unbridled, uncensored work of raw creativity that assaults your senses and pummels good taste. And in all honesty, I don’t know if it is a work of pure genius or adolescent trash.

But I have a feeling it’s probably both.

This article originally appeared as the introduction to episode 106: Tank Girl.

The Collected Edition is a comic book podcast where the hosts discuss the famous and infamous runs and story arcs throughout the history of comics. Please subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts, Sticher, IHeartRadio, and Spotify.