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New Treasures: On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden

Friday, July 12th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

On a Sunbeam-small On a Sunbeam-back-small

I buy a lot of books. But there are so many I’m interested in — so many New Treasures, so many recommendations, so many carefully curated wish lists — that I actually keep a pretty tight budget, and most purchases are weighed and carefully planned. Sometimes I miss visits to the bookstore filled with nothing but impulse buys, and the delightful discoveries that come with unplanned readings.

On my last weekend trip to Barnes & Noble, I indulged myself with precisely one impulse buy: Tillie Walden’s massive science fiction romance On a Sunbeam, a 533-page graphic novel. It’s based on a 20-chapter web comic, and was a Publisher’s Weekly Best Book of 2018, one of The Washington Post‘s 10 Best Graphic Novels of 2018, an LA Times Festival of Books 2018 Book Prize Winner, a School Library Journal Best Book of 2018 — and a 2019 Hugo Award Nominee for Best Graphic Story. It caught my eye on a tabletop display, and after flipping through it for 60 seconds, I fell right into it.

I’ve already forgotten about the other books I brought home that day. But On a Sunbeam is at the top of my to-be-read pile for this weekend (on top of about 20 other recent comics — so it could be a great weekend. Let’s hope for rain so I get stuck indoors.) Here’s the publisher’s description, and a few samples interior pages.

[Click the images for space-sized versions.]

Two timelines. Second chances. One love.

A ragtag crew travels to the deepest reaches of space, rebuilding beautiful, broken structures to piece the past together.

Two girls meet in boarding school and fall deeply in love ― only to learn the pain of loss.

With interwoven timelines and stunning art, award-winning graphic novelist Tillie Walden creates an inventive world, breathtaking romance, and an epic quest for love.

The interiors are full color. Dark, moody colors, but still. Here’s a look (click the images for legible versions.)

On a Sunbeam 2-small

On a Sunbeam 1-small

On a Sunbeam 4-small

On a Sunbeam was published by First Second on October 2, 2018. It is 533 pages, priced at $21.99 in trade paperback and $9.99 in digital formats. The cover is by Tillie Walden. You can read the complete webcomic version here.

See all our recent Comics coverage here.

3 Comments »

  1. Do you and I share a brain, because that cover and description immediately grabbed my interest too.

    Also, “There are so many I’m interested in — so many New Treasures, so many recommendations, so many carefully curated wish lists — that I actually keep a pretty tight budget, and most purchases are weighed and carefully planned,” is an accurate description of me too, although the budget is more for space reasons than money. (I’m by no means wealthy, but as a computer scientist I’m relatively comfortable.)

    Oh, and don’t forget to check out the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl compilations (and there’s a graphic novel too). One guy, Ryan North (of Dinosaur Comics) wrote all the recent issues, and it’s amazing how consistently great they’ve been.

    Comment by Allen Snyder - July 13, 2019 3:50 pm

  2. I guess I could add regarding “relatively comfortable,” I have enough money to buy books, but not enough to buy a larger house to store any more. 😉

    Comment by Allen Snyder - July 13, 2019 3:52 pm

  3. Ah! I *did* forget about The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl compilations. I will add them to my Amazon list immediately!

    Comment by John ONeill - July 13, 2019 3:52 pm


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