UK Comics Wiki

"Tom Thug" was a comic strip created by Lew Stringer and first appearing in Oink! in 1986.

Encouraged by his father to follow in the family tradition of being a bully, Tom Thug's main problem was that he wasn't very bright. His early appearances revolved around his inability to tie his bootlaces and the various harebrained schemes he came up with to keep his boots on his feet. It took him until his tenth strip (published over four months in real time) to finally get them done up... and only then did the real humiliation begin. Tom had an unerring ability to pick on the wrong person, resulting in embarrassment at best and borderline-horrific injury at worst. Curiously, Tom was an exception to the general rule that comic characters do not age; introduced as a 14-year-old, he aged in real time and left school (with no qualifications) two years later. A new story arc concerning his fortunes in the job market was cut short with Oink!'s demise.

Drawn with lots of entertaining incidental detail, Tom Thug was one of Oink!'s more conventional strips but also one of the most popular, a combination which secured its survival after Oink! folded in 1988. The strip transferred to Buster under the title "Tom Thug's Skooldayz" (with Tom's age reset to 14, and stuck there), with new strips appearing up to mid-1996, and reprints until Buster closed at the end of 1999.

Tom also had a pet cat called Satan, who sometimes featured in his own strip. Unsurprisingly, such a name did not go down well at Buster, so the cat went unnamed for a time before being dropped altogether.