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Tom Thug was the title of a long-running comic strip in the British comic Buster. However, it first began in Oink! in May 1986. Created by cartoonist Lew Stringer, Tom was encouraged by his skinhead father to be a school bully like he used to be. However, Tom was so incompetent he couldn't even tie the laces of his boots. As the strip progressed, every issue would show Tom's attempts at bullying backfire often with slapstick consequences.
The strip proved popular enough to transfer over to Buster when Oink! folded in 1988. Asked by the editor Allen Cummings to focus the stories on Tom at school, the strip underwent a title change to Tom Thug's Skooldayz (a spoof in name only of Tom Brown's Schooldays). There, Tom Thug continued to run until December 1999 (Buster's final issue), although the last couple of years were reprints of earlier stories due to budget cutbacks by the publisher. However, during its run, Tom Thug had become one of the comic's most popular strips and even replaced the lead character Buster on the cover on occasion (a rare privilege).
In the final issue of the comic at the beginning of 2000 in a segment written and drawn by Jack Oliver, Tom Thug was revealed to have possessed great intelligence after passing an exam with flying colours, much to his own chagrin. However this was not the ending that the strip's creator Lew Stringer would have given the character.
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