Page 45 Review by Stephen
This is Alan's old-skool superhero/science-fiction title, a homage to the genre's earlier days in this medium when all was awe and wonder, encompassing the weird and the weirder: cities on their sides, outer space, parallel worlds, a pompous gorilla with a toffee-nosed accent, and a mechanical butler for the ape to argue with. Tom himself is stitched from traditional cloth, being a robust, upstanding and clean-cut product of quack educational science and growing up in remote, foreign climes.
Chris Sprouse was the series's primary artist, imbuing it with wonder, depth, dignity and class. The art is ever so clean and classy.
Later on all manner of creative superstars were invited to play including (but by no means limited to) Kyle Baker, Ed Brubaker, Brian K Vaughan, Michael Moorcock, Duncan Fegredo, Dave Gibbons, Gary Frank.
There WERE old-fashioned advertisements too in the original series, complete with the then-ubiquitous exclamation mark, starring small kids and Tom Strong, which gleefully play with your expectations. They're not in this omnibus, so I transcribe one now for you edification / delight:
"Holy socks, guys! Collecting comicbooks just isn't fun anymore! We may as well turn to hard drugs!"
"Hmm! Sounds like you guys need a pep talk!"
"<Gasp!> It's Tom Strong!"
"Why, Mr. Strong, you wedge of wonderfulness, surely even you cant defend the woeful state of modern comicbooks?"
"<Chuckle!> Certainly not, member 1024! Not unless they're... America's Best Comic Books!"
"Uh, well, obviously, we all collect TOM STRONG! I'm your biggest fan..."
"Mason, we weighed ourselves, remember? I'm his biggest fan!"
"Whatever. But, remember, TOM STRONG is just part of the almost-mystical ABC experience!"
"He's not kidding! Look at the art in PROMETHEA! It's as good as Chris Sprouse!"
"Yeah, but check out this LEAGUE --"
"Or this TOMORROW STORIES!"
"Careful, guys! Nobody's as good as Chris Sprouse!"
"Fortnum, look! You can totally see up this woman's skirt!"
"Mason, she's wearing pantaloons."
"And, remember, with ABC, you're in on the ground floor for the future of comics, with every one a collector's classic!"
"Holy socks! We'll steal money from our Moms and collect every ABC book from now on! B-But what about people who don't read ABC books?"
"Why, they're just scum, Timmy."
"Ha Ha Ha Ha!"
Collects TOM STRONG #1-36.