Tom Ryan was a crime boss who was known in the criminal underworld as The Big Figure.
Tom Ryan began life as a small-time street hood going by the name Rocky. The first thing that brought him to the attention of the larger street gangs was his knack for robbery made possible by his small size. Rocky used his formidable criminal genius to ascend up the ranks, eventually reaching the top spot in organized crime in New York City.
In 1965 Tom "Rocky" Ryan served as a lieutenant to Underboss' crime syndicate. After Underboss' incarceration through the actions of Rorschach and the Nite Owl II, Ryan, now going by The Big Figure, seizes control of his empire. The dwarf's gang quickly monopolizes narcotics, prostitution, and gambling sales throughout New York City. On one occasion, he wipes out an entire South Bronx police station.
Big Figure's plans were foiled by Rorschach and Nite Owl II on several occasions. He was eventually defeated by them and later incarcerated in Sing Sing in 1965. Although incarcerated he had formed a small army of henchmen, and continued to orchestrate his criminal activities from inside the prison. For the next two decades, Big Figure looked forward to avenging himself on Rorschach and Nite Owl II.
In 1985 when Rorschach was arrested for the murder of Edgar Jacobi, he was immediately threatened upon his arrival in Sing Sing by Big Figure. His first meeting with Kovacs is highlighted by threatening the family of a prison guard, Mulhearney, who stands watch on Kovacs' isolated cell.
Prison Riot at Sing Sing
After Otis' death, Big Figure arranges for a prison riot with the simple intent of distracting the prison's guards long enough to gain entry to Walter Kovacs' cell, wanting revenge. Unfortunately for Figure, Kovacs proves to be much craftier than his attackers; he binds the hands of the bigger man, Lawrence, to the cell's door when the man lunges for him. Figure orders his second goon to kill Lawrence; Lawrence's body had been blocking the door's lock housing.
When the second man, Michael, finally opens the door with an acetylene torch, Kovacs shatters his toilet bowl causing a small flood of water to make contact with the torch's frayed power cord, electrocuting Michael. Big Figure retreats in helpless terror, with Kovacs right behind. Kovacs finds his adversary hiding in a men's room and drowns him in a toilet shortly before Nite Owl and Silk Spectre show up.
- DC Heroes: The Watchmen Sourcebook
- Chapter VIII: Old Ghosts