Goodbye to Romance?

True Story, Swear To God, Vol. 1 review

If you’re looking to get your wife or girlfriend into comics or aren’t interested in spandex-clad super-heroes, Tom Beland’s Eisner Award-winning True Story, Swear To God from Image Comics is a great choice. Combining crisp, caricature-like artwork with dialogue straight from the heart, TSSTG captures what it’s like to be on the roller coaster of love. It is a prime example of a story told through sequential art that is at once funny, introspective and, above all, romantic.

The set-up is deceptively simple. Newspaper columnist/cartoonist Tom and Puerto Rican radio personality Lily meet at a bus stop in Disneyland, start a long-distance relationship which soon turns into Tom moving to the island to be closer to Lily. One noisy dog, one shaved head and one trip to David Letterman later, you will want to know more about what happens next with Tom and Lily.

At its heart, the story is a sweet tale of two people in love. Through surprisingly realistic and pensive dialogue and captions, the reader is both a fly on the wall and privy to Tom’s point of view at the same time. Seldom do I laugh out loud when reading a comic, but the bit about Tom ordering the first Harry Potter book as a huge surprise for his live-in girlfriend was priceless.

Several times in the narrative, Tom relates how he doesn’t really think anyone would care to read a story about two people who are deeply in love and supportive and encouraging of the other. Love stories will always have an audience and this one doesn’t just look and sound real, it is real and that makes all the difference.

Tom Beland proves the romance comic isn’t dead and a good combination of art and story will always rise to the top.