On a Sunbeam (2016)

Synopsis

Mia joins a group of space-faring restoration experts as they retrofit abandoned buildings on alien worlds. Intercut with this are Mia’s reflections on her days in school and a relationship that altered the course of her life.

Notes on This Title

There is an incidence of misgendering of which sensitive readers may want to be aware.

Awards

2017 Eisner Award for Best Digital Comic - Nominee

Reviews

“Tillie Walden’s work is some of my current favorite; it’s just plain terrific. I love her single-story online comics and books, and a few months ago I wrote about how excited I am for her next book, but until that comes out, I’m extremely happy to have her new webcomic On a Sunbeam to read. This webcomic focuses on a young girl, Mia, who’s a freshman in what seems like outer space high school? And no matter what she does, she can’t quite seem to keep out of trouble. The story takes place at two times: in the current story, Mia is working with a crew of other young people to restore space ruins, and in flashbacks we see her when she was still in school, in what looks like the events leading up to why she’s now working with that crew. The whole comic is completely gorgeous and very wonderfully written and takes place is a gorgeous and fascinating world. Tillie Walden is amazing and I’m so glad this comic exists for us to read.” (Source: Autostraddle)

“Tillie Walden has been putting out new books at a remarkable rate for the past few years, but On A Sunbeam delivers a story and art that are just as evocative and even more delicate than her previous work, defying concerns of burnout. It’s difficult to pin down a genre for On A Sunbeam, which is suitable for young adult readers but has enough emotional weight and intricately detailed artwork for adults, too. It’s a love story, but not exclusively romantic, and while the book is set in space it has fantasy elements that make it fall in line with tales of magical boarding schools. Ultimately what makes On A Sunbeam such a wonderful read is the work that Walden puts into her characters. There is sweetness in each of them, and affection for one another, but more importantly there’s also steel in their spines; they don’t always agree on what the right thing to do is, but they do act on it.” (Source: AV Club)

“Every now and again, there’s a comic that will stop you dead in your tracks and consume your time until you take in every last page and dialogue bubble. That’s the case with Tillie Walden’s fantastic, ongoing webcomic, On A Sunbeam. The story follows a girl named Mia after she’s assigned to a spaceship and tasked with rebuilding old structures, while the story flashes back to her past.” (Source: The Verge)

“Mia is fresh out of high school when she gets a job doing deep-space building restoration, joining a crew consisting of curt foreman Alma, shy captain Char, silent technician Elliot, and ebullient iconoclast Jules, travelling in a koi-shaped starship to fix up old buildings free-floating out in the abyss. It’s a lush and dreamlike setting peppered with beautiful and inexplicable background elements and following a set of rules that only Walden knows. Windows open harmlessly to space, train tracks stretch between planets, gigantic cats play and hunt among the stars, and gravity doesn’t exist except when it does. It’s delicious and odd and I’ve never seen its like.” (Source: Yes Homo)

Interviews

Bookish: “The Next Frontier: Tillie Walden’s Webcomic On a Sunbeam Will Be Adapted to a Graphic Novel”

ComicsAlliance: “Why Tillie Walden’s ‘On a Sunbeam’ Makes Outer Space a Warm Place”

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