There are few comics that are able to seamlessly weave space travel with the mundane aspects of real life. On a Sunbeam manages to not only successfully combine these two very different things but also give its readers a touching love story between two high school girls, one that will transcend time.
On a Sunbeam follows the story of Mia, a young girl who begins her new life as a renovator on the ship Aktis. As she begins her new life with a crew comprised of four other women, Mia recalls her schoolgirl days as a rebellious teenager and the moment when she met Grace. Through a series of flashbacks, we watch as Mia forms a family with her new crew mates while also slowly falling in love with Grace. As the bonds she forms in her life become stronger, the two timelines’ stories begin to intersect with one another and, before we know it, the reader is flung into an epic space adventure.
Tillie Walden is able to craft such a unique story and world. There’s a familiarity in the boarding school, yet it also manages to feel futuristic. Characters work exceptionally well with one another, creating a fun atmosphere. Even when there are simple moments such as watching movies and playing board games, you can feel these women have a strong bond with one another; they have formed their own small family. But, nothing compares to the romance between Mia and Grace. It’s a sweet love story that turns into a beautiful quest that only works with the truest of love stories. Walden has created something special in this story and definitely something that, at times, is just absolutely adorable.
Similar to the story, the artwork is equally beautiful. The ships that are flown appear to be fish and seeing them swim in space is both a treasure to look at as well as unique. Even seeing the school surrounded by the night sky and the stars whenever there is an open window is such a small, yet nice touch that it creates a fairytale-like quality to the story. In fact, the art choices from setting to creature designs makes this whole piece feel like a modern fairytale. The atmosphere is so whimsical, it’s nearly impossible to put this graphic novel down until you have finished it from cover to cover.
Once again, Avery Hills Publishing has delivered a jaw-dropping graphic novel. The stories they choose to represent are diverse and just flat-out gorgeous, both in art and story. There really is nothing like On a Sunbeam or anything published by Avery Hills Publishing. If you’re looking for the whimsical and unique, this is a publishing company you should be paying attention to. And, On a Sunbeam is a great way to start.