“On a Sunbeam,” a Genderqueer Space Opera by Tillie Walden

“On a Sunbeam,” by Tillie Walden. First Second Books. October 2018. 533 pp. Paper, 32.99. Young adult, 13+.

Thanks to Better World Books, 215 S. Main St. in Goshen, for providing me with books to review. You can find or order all of the books I review at the store.

Comics artist Tillie Walden feels ambivalent about social media. She does post her work, especially her webcomics and works in progress, on her own site, as well as on Instagram and Twitter, but as she told fellow comics artist Jen Wang for the site YA Pride, “I never felt entirely comfortable online. I don’t think it’s ever really suited me,” she adds. “It works for a lot of teens, but I found it all to be a little too artificial.”

It also gives her a lot more time to write and draw. Although she is only 22, her most recent graphic narrative, “On a Sunbeam,” is her sixth. She first published it as a webcomic, her installments averaging 30 pages a week—which, for art with this level of detail and complication, must be a record. The whole work is still available online, but when it comes to a breathtaking full-page panel like this,

or this,

not only is the color more vivid on the page than on the screen, but there’s something to be said for turning the page and holding it in your hands. Continue reading ““On a Sunbeam,” a Genderqueer Space Opera by Tillie Walden”