For those who don’t know, I’m a huge fan of Tom Strong.
Now, I know the next question many of you are asking is…who the f*** is Tom Strong? And, well, that is a fair question.
Tom Strong is a comic book character created by Alan Moore (of The Watchmen fame) published by a small company that was known as America’s Best Comics. I’ve got to say I admire the lack of modesty that their company name represents and they certainly tried to live up to their monicker.
In many ways, Tom Strong is a throwback to earlier comic book and pulp heroes. He’s a clean living, good guy with a big chin and a small ego. He humbly fills his role as protector of Millennium City simply for the sake of doing right and with no wish for reward. I know that sounds corny, but I am honestly tired of writers who’s mission in life is to see how dark and edgy Batman and Superman can become before audiences throw them off a cliff.
I also like that Tom Strong is also a modern character. His wife Dhalua, is of African decent and they have a daughter of Afro-European heritage, Tesla. No one in the comic thinks it a scandal that Tom is the head of an interracial family, and that in itself is a powerful statement to my way of thinking.
Tom Strong has no “super powers” per-se so he is instead referred to as a “science hero.” True, he was raised in an artificial gravity chamber that enhanced his physique, but his greatest power is his intellect. Tom is a science and engineering genius and solves most of his problems by thinking his way out of them. I find this pro-science and pro-intellectual approach further endears me to him, as I live in an age of creationism and climate-change denial (which is frustrating, to say the least).
His greatest foe is Paul Saveen, also a man of science who tries to outfox Tom with invention after invention . The series explores many different timelines and universes, which are a nod to different comic genres. Alen Moore felt free to experiment with different artistic styles and story approaches as well that make reading Tom Strong an education in comic book history as well as a series of well-told tales.
The series premiered in 1999 and continued until Alen Moore got bored with the project in 2006. Sadly, Tom Strong did not get the attention of other America’s Best projects like The Watchmen, and it’s already starting to fade from popular memory even among the comic book community. Still, I think the character and the series are an amazing contribution to the art of the comic story. If you ever get the chance to read a Tom Strong book I highly recommend you do not pass it up.