If your comic has been off the stands for a long time, there’s no better way to come back than with “the wedding issue.”
“True Story, Swear to God” has been noticeably absent from comic shop shelves for the last year due to physical issues its creator, Tom Beland, has had. Thankfully, those appear to be coming under control (he discusses it on the inside front cover of this issue), and his autobiographical romantic comedy comic is free to continue once more.
The only change is that the lettering is now done on the computer, with a new font designed by Chris Eliopoulos based on Beland’s past hand lettering. It’s a natural font, fitting perfectly in with the art. And as Beland learns to finesse his word balloons and tails, it’s going to be seamless. It’s just that good.
So Tom and Lily are back at Disney in this issue to get married, courtesy Disney’s publicity department. Lily, being a star in Puerto Rico, is trailed by the media, and Tom has a couple of breakthroughs along the way. Actually, there are at least three different breakthroughs, all of them interesting and relatable. As always, it’s Beland’s honesty and transparency that sell this book so well. Yes, the humorous bits are great and Beland’s cartooning style is fun to look at, but there’s a heart to this book that comes only from Beland’s openness. In this issue, he deals with a Muslim woman for the first time since 9/11, comes to a realization about his Puerto Rican assimilation, discovers his memories of his initial encounter with Lily aren’t perfect, and fights back nerves at the altar in a way that’s both memorable and wonderful.
That’s all in 27 pages’ worth of story, and I’m not telling you the half of it. Beland doesn’t worry about constructing a false structure to his life. Each issue is an accumulation of experiences in roughly chronological order, and that works. It doesn’t feel like someone writing a story, but rather like someone sitting you down to tell you some stories. When a climactic moment in an issue hits, it’s a nice bonus. And this issue’s post-script with Mickey Mouse is hilarious.
Let’s all hope “True Story” sticks around for a good long while now, because this type of comic — well cartooned, honestly told, and with a sense of humor — is sorely needed on store shelves today.