From the mind of Tom Beland

Creator of True Story Swear to God

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


I can't believe it's now been ten years since I began TRUE STORY, SWEAR TO GOD. I met Keith Knight and I created a weekly comic strip that was based on my life. Years later, I'd be on a writing assignment/fucking around time at Disneyworld, to celebrate the opening to their Animal Kingdom park... when I met her. From that moment on, the strips became stories about me and this Puerto Rican woman. The strip became a comic book, which was storyboarded the night I was flying back from the night I met Lily. So this week, I'm going to share some of the pages from that sketcbook. Enjoy.

When I decided to make an actual comic book out of the TSSTG strips, I was worried that too many people would see the title and assume it was a religious series. I was a big fan of Paulo Cohelo's THE ALCHEMIST and in that book, he tells you that everyone has their own journey... their own personal legend to experience. So, from that I considered naming my series, PERSONAL LEGENDS.

But I just liked TSSTG better and decided to go ahead and trust my judgement. I'm glad I trusted myself. A comic is such a personal thing. You think that every tiny decision is going to be catastrophic if wrong. Naming the series was the first major decision I made. It may not seem like much, but it is.

Opening title pages... and one of the many times Terry Moore beat me to the punch. I had some music on in my headphones and the song "Stranger in Paradise" came on and I thought "THAT is my title!!"

Then someone pointed out Terry's book to me. I was BUMMMMMMMED. He later beat me out of SPIDER-MAN LOVES MARY JANE. I have a great Terry Moore story planned for TSSTG in the near future where he was trapped in a car with me from Santa Cruz to San Francisco. I sort of fan gushed gawed at him.

As I was flying home from that night in Orlando, I took my sketch pad out and drew this page. The entire first issue of TRUE STORY, SWEAR TO GOD was sketched out during that plane ride. That's how inspired I was. Every page was designed high about the ground. Fitting, since that's how she made me feel.

Note that at the bottom of that page, there's the misspelling of Lily's name that worked its way through the entire first issue. In the second issue, Lily points out the fact that I spelled her name wrong. She would not let me fix the typo and it's kind of fun to go back to the first issue and notice this error.

More to come.


carbunkel said...

We should get together some time. When will you be in LA next? (I'm pretty sure Puerto Rico is not in my future.) Will you be at Comic-con? Maybe I'll see you there.

Tom Beland said...

Why is PR not in your future?? There's a lot you can do here. Tom Fuller is planning on taking the family to Disneyworld and then here for a week or ten days.

My niece and her best friend are coming here for two weeks in June. Can't wait. She's a great kid.

I may be in San Diego for the con. If I am, I can contact you. I'll be in Napa for her high school graduation for about two weeks.