Tom Beland is an American comic book artist/writer best known for his autobiographical comic series True Story Swear To God. In turn the series is best known for telling the story of Beland's romance with Puerto Rican TV personality Lily Garcia.
Beland is from Napa Valley, California, where he used to work as a cartoonist for a local newspaper. Then he was sent to cover the opening of Disney World's Animal Kingdom theme park for the paper; while there, he met Garcia (who was also covering the opening) while both were waiting for a bus. They hit it off so well that they started a long-distance relationship, but neither was convinced about moving to the other's country until hurricane Georges struck Puerto Rico, causing Beland to worry about Garcia's safety. Beland then decided to move to the island and live with Lily. Adapting to life in another country where he didn't speak the local language, much less finding work there, was pretty difficult but Tom eventually managed.
Beland was later convinced to publish his comic telling his personal life story independently (though it has also been published by Image Comics.) It has gathered its own loyal following, even from superhero comic book geeks thanks to their seeing Beland as "One of Us".
Tom and Lily were eventually married in, of all places, Disney World, which had heard about their love story and offered to cover their wedding expenses if they married there (for the publicity of course.)
Beland has also worked in other comics. His favorite character is Spider-Man, and he also wrote a Fantastic Four miniseries where the heroes come to Puerto Rico to investigate the mystery of the Chupacabra. In 2014, he wrote and drew a graphic novel for IDW called Chicacabra, about a girl (inspired by his wife) who get's a Chupacabra merged with her body.
Tropes from Beland's work:
- Autobiographical Role: Tom is telling the story of his life in a comic, including... the telling of the story of his life in a comic!
- Berserk Button: The only thing that gets to usually cool-and-wise Lily is... her mother.
- Deadpan Snarker: Tom, sometimes.
- Foreign Cuss Word: Lily utters one after running into a huge cockroach, and then denies it.
- New Age: Lily has some beliefs like these. It used to baffle Tom, but he got used to it.
- Samaritan Syndrome: Lily is a genuine help-people-for-its-own-sake kind of person.
- Starving Artist: Tom, at one point.
- Talk Show: Lily hosts one.