on 12 October 2001
In 1899 a scientist and his wife retreat to a remote island in the West Indies, with a steam-powered butler, to raise a child free from the corruptions of society. In a high-gravity chamber. As you do. Unfortunately young Tom's parents are killed in an earthquake. He grows up among the natives, who have a marvellous life-extending root, and marries the chief's daughter. In time their family grows, through the birth of a daughter and innovative brain experiments on an ape. He moves to America's Millennium City (with its graceful Statue of Harmony in the harbour, fights science villains, and starts the Strongmen of America club to spread his values to young people.
Comics giant Alan Moore writes a classic pulp hero in a modern-day setting, and it's a great rollicking ride. Forget it if you want dark and gritty, large-scale violence, or impenetrable plots. This is just adventure, with a hero who's just that bit stronger, smarter and braver than almost anyone else. Moore still throws in plenty of ideas, though - opponents include a man whose consciousness is spread across a swarm of self-replicating machines, a technological Aztec empire across parallel worlds, and a Nazi-created supervixen whose strength and longevity may exceed even Tom's.
This volume collects the first 7 issues. The first is presented as the introductory comic received by new members of the Strongmen of America. The next two are standalones, and the last four develop a single storyline. Most of the stories have a section set in the past of the hero's long life, in a different art style, making connections with villains who return in the present. A nice little touch is the lettering in Tom's speech bubbles being slightly bigger than everyone else's - even his voice is larger than life! The art is good, though little of it is truly striking. But part of the book's aim, I think, is not to look like real events on a screen but to always feel like you're reading a comic. If you want something fun and upbeat, this is well worth a look.
on 23 January 2005
The guy who wrote Watchmen and From Hell wrote this book! A guy who made his name with gory horror and psychological deconstruction has decided to write what is essentially a children's book about a muscleman inventor who gets in adventures with his family and friends, invariably foiling the nefarious plots of a colourful cast of kooky super-villains! And it's fantastic! Almost above criticism!
The real pity about this book is that its main audience will be (like me) adults who followed Moore to this book from his very, very different earlier work. Kids should read this book! Lots and lots of kids. It's magical. Really really full of naive hope and optimism, and stuffed to the gills with childish wonder. No sado-sexual superheroes, no grubby psychopaths, just good clean fun.
Basically, this is Moore doing his regular wonderful job, but this time in a very different arena. This book's great.
on 30 May 2002
One of Alan Moore's more conventional superheros brought to life, with a format of 50/50 flashback episodes showing "old school" encounters with enemies which he's currently against in the second half of the issue. Seemed to work quite well, gripping while reading, but not too memorable once completed.
Certainly worth a read compared to other comic writers, Moore definitely brings life to the characters and shows his fondness for the 60's style of comic.
on 15 August 2000
The fantastic four used to have the headline banner 'the worlds greatest comic' and it's this sense of energy that Moore is trying to invoke here. Tom strong is fun, frivolous, fantastical and perfectly captures the childhood excitement that fell within the pages of the comics you used to get your grubby hands on when you were a kid. This seven issue collection is light, bright, inventive and above all fun. Even when dealing with such plot twists as illegitimate patricidal offspring Moore and penciler Chris Sprouce et al, aim towards the lighter side of the genre and ensure that this collection is one all the family can enjoy. If your looking for dark, homicial heros check out some of Moores other work, this one is for the kid in you. Tom Strong, along with other titles in Moores ABC collections, is successfully putting the 'comic' back in 'comic book'.
on 6 November 2010
Good ol' Tom Strong. Ever get sick of the constant parade of tiresome and pretentious comics with a 'dark' edge? Ever feel like just reading a good adventure comic with amazing art, brilliant writing and likeable characters, minus the contrived serial killers, rapists, mental cases and cliched occult references? Then Tom Strong book 1 is for you. I have the whole 6 volumes in hardcover editions and they make me smile more than most other comics and graphic novels on my shelf. The stories read like classic 1950's adventure yarns without too much goofiness. Even though this comic could be read and enjoyed by young children (perhaps 9 and up) as well as adults, Alan Moore does not insult readers of any age and writes compelling, intelligent stories for Tom Strong with an old-time innocent feel.
It may not be as dense and layered as Watchmen, or as horrific and insightful as From Hell, but Tom Strong has earned his rightful place on my shelf right next to all the Alan Moore classics more commonly known in popular culture.
A wonderful collection by Alan Moore and Chris Sprouse featuring the achingly beautiful watercolour covers of Alex Ross, telling the story of home grown super man Tom Strong. Strong's parents raised him in an isolation tank under high gravity on a remote island Attabar Teru, aided by the machine Strong's father built, the steampunk Pneuman, a proto robot powered by steam and voiced by wax recording cylinders. After marrying the beautiful fearsome princess of the island Dhaula they split their time between Attabar Teru and the Millenium City in America, a utopian stratospheric city connected by cable cars. They fight supervillains with their daughter Tesla and Strong's successful experiment in augmenting gorilla intelligence, King Solomon.
But Tom Strong is more than its parts, each character and each story are both brilliantly written and drawn, Moore and Sprouse blend the golden era of 1960s comic heroes without jingoism, expressing an essential humanity under the superhero exteriors.
I have to admit that once I got used to the idea of an Alan Moore comic that deliberately sets out to be naive, wholesome and good naturedly heroic as it harks back to a golden age, I really enjoyed it. No it's not deep, but it was never intended to be - even Alan Moore's allowed to have fun every once in a while! The immaculate artwork fits in with this idea perfectly.
The only real problem for me was that once Moore stopped writing Tom Strong and turned it over to other writers, none of them ever seemed to get to grips with the series, resulting in dull storylines and and a total loss of the golden age magic that infused the early issues.
So take my advice - buy the Alan Moore scripted issues and ignore the remainder. Settle back, have fun, and allow Alan Moore a little time to kick back and enjoy some Golden Age fun.
on 7 September 2000
If you read this expecting the same dark visions contained in other Moore works such as the brilliant watchmen or saga of the Swamp Thing then you will be dissappointed. however, if you read it without any expectations you m will be much more likely to enjoy it. Whereas Watchmen took a grimly realistic look at superheroes, in Tom Strong he makes them fantastical again, with the 100 hundred year old tom strong, his family, a robot manservant and a talking ape battling against everything from prehistoric primordial slime to ruthless gangs of female nazis.
on 25 July 2007
Moore has great imagination, he has created some very likable characters in Tom Strong, the stories are adventurous and I like the changing styles of art work. This is more down-to-earth than the rest of his work but it's still excellent.
on 17 November 2010
Mostly enjoyable without being anything amazing. I had expected something extra special from Michael Moorcock. Very enjoyable artwork.
At time I found the end of it to be a bit confusing but it ties in with the end of Promethia.