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Tom Swyfte in 1925

I say we leave knowledge to the pansies and intellectuals. Inventin' gimmicks is swell, but real men aren't afraid to settle things with their fists, needs be. I'm only a decent mechanic, but my company licks yours.

- Tom Swyfte

Tom Swyfte was a plucky young American inventor and businessman. He is very egotistical and racist, which earned him annoyance from his colleagues/rivals Frank Reade Jr. and Jack Wright.


Unlike Frank Reade Jr. and Jack Wright, Swyfte only cares about selling his inventions rather than for the sake of science. He began his business in 1915 and rapidly landing contract rights that were once earned by Wright and Reade. One of his stand-out inventions is an electric rifle.

Swyfte was employed by Charles Foster Kane in 1925 to pursue Janni Nemo and return the treasure of Queen Ayesha. He had his observation blimps waiting outside the Riallaro Archipelago, where Lincoln Island is located, and spotted the Nautilus leaving for Antarctica. Very self-assured, Swyfte dismissed any curiosity of why Nemo (whom he dismisses her as a "dame and a darkie") would go to uncharted lands beyond the Iron Mountains, which he believes there is nothing there, and only focus on capturing his quarry.

After Wright fell to his death into the hole to subterranean Pluto, Swyfte brutally interrogated one of Nemo's crew and learning that they were heading for the Mountains of Madness. Eventually they catch up to the crew and Swyfte killed Augustus Van Dusen. But they encountered a Shoggoth in which Swyfte fled in terror but not before selfishly and deliberately left Reade for dead by shooting his leg to slow the monster.

Swyfte returned to civilization but was rendered irrevocably insane by his experience. His employers had him committed to an asylum. He kept repeating the word "Tekelili" over and over, in which his ranting was misconstrued as the word "tiger lily".


Source material[]

Swyfte is Alan Moore's version of Tom Swift, the boy-genius created by Edward Stratemeyer. His electric gun is a nod to the Taser, which its creator Jack Cover named after Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle.