Tommy Tompkins was an orphan living on the streets of Suicide Slum with his friends Big Words, Gabby and Scrapper. He was the leader of the group, and lived in a shack with the other members of the Newsboy Legion. They attempted to support themselves by selling newspapers, hence the name. When this failed in supporting the boys, they occasionally turned to petty crime. He and his friends were eventually taken under the guardianship of Officer Jim Harper, who was secretly the superhero the Guardian.
Tommy was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.
Tommy eventually grew up and attended university, where he majored in science, which he excelled in. When he graduated he found work with Project Cadmus, as did his friends. He got married, and had a son who was essentially identical to himself, and who was later revealed to be an identical clone created by Project Cadmus. Eventually he, his friends, and the clones left Cadmus due to differences with the direction Cadmus was going. He was killed along with the other members of the original Newsboy Legion by Codename: Assassin.