Award-winning cartoonist Tillie Walden’s latest book, On a Sunbeam, is a sumptuous feast for the eyes and the heart. Originally a web comic, Walden’s sci-fi graphic novel amazes and inspires.
Mia is a young woman who joins a crew on a spaceship in a universe we’ve yet to discover. Mia and her new friends travel from place to place repairing visually fantastic architecture, but Mia hopes for a stop in a very specific destination: the forbidden part of the universe called the Staircase, where she hopes to find her lost love, Grace.
A rich, complex and detailed story, On a Sunbeam has some extraordinary revelations. Even knowing ahead of time that the story is a lesbian romance, I was still surprised when I realized that Walden’s futuristic universe is filled entirely with female-identifying characters (and at least one nonbinary character). Everyone has two mothers, and all their siblings are sisters. There is no discussion or explanation about this in the story—it just is how it is. This world allows Walden to present a love between two women as the norm. Love, loss, adventure and discovery of new worlds are free to take center stage, not the tired girl-love-in-a-straight-world trope.
This remarkable and compelling book, filled with stunning ink and color art, will keep readers entranced for a long time.