Thunderwing was one of the main antagonists in the Marvel G1 Transformers comics. Since he was based on a figure from the 1989 toyline, he never made any appearance in the by-then-defunct cartoon.
Thunderwing's earliest appearances were in the UK-exclusive stories, which chronicled his rise to power. As a test to see if he was worthy of being Decepticon leader, Thunderwing was sent to Earth to hunt down three Autobots who had been released on the planet. He killed two of them but his hunt for the third, Hosehead, was hampered by the intervention of local Autobots Nightbeat and Siren. Thunderwing was badly damaged when Nightbeat managed to use the Headmaster process to reanimate the body of one of his past victims and then blow it up next to him.
Thunderwing recovered some time later to be met by a squad of Decepticons sent to learn his fate. He co-opted them into making an attack on the Ark but was soon beaten back by the superior numbers of Autobots. Nevertheless, his performance prompted the Decepticon High Command to make him the new leader of the Cybertron-based Decepticons.
This led into his debut in the Marvel US title, where he recognised the morale boost provided to the Autobots by the presence of Grimlock, Jazz and Bumblebee, and assigned the Decepticon Mayhem Squad led by Bludgeon to kill them. The attempt failed, with all the participants transported first to the centre of Cybertron and then to Earth.
Soon after, Thunderwing realised teams of Autobots were scouring the galaxy for something. He assembled a team and ambushed the team consisting of his old adversaries Nightbeat, Siren and Hosehead. Interrogating them, he learned the Autobots were searching for the lost Creation Matrix. Tracking down the other Autobot teams to learn their progress, he finally located the Matrix on VsQs at the same time as his other old adversaries Grimlock, Jazz and Bumblebee.
Thunderwing had long felt an affinity for the Matrix, which had been corrupted by being used to revive a number of violent creatures and gladly accepted him as a host. Leaving the fuel-deprived Autobots for dead, he stole their shuttle and used it to gain admittance to the Ark. There, he attacked the Autobots with the Matrix, killing or wounding several of them. When he was injured by a sneak attack, the Dark Matrix took full control of him, even firing on his lieutenant, Spinister, when he questioned his sanity. Thunderwing was finally speared by Nightbeat and dragged out of the Ark by the stolen shuttle which then exploded.
It seems likely that anything that remained of Thunderwing was dead by then. However, the Dark Matrix re-animated him and travelled to Cybertron, where it joined the battle against Unicron. But the corrupted Matrix was no match for Unicron's evil: He quickly tore apart the dark apparition and Thunderwing fell to the ground lifeless.