The webcomics blog about webcomics

Spare, Beautiful, Intriguing

Last week we all learned that Tillie Walden would be launching her first webcomic, titled On A Sunbeam. Last night, the first weekly entry went up, and there’s little to say other than Wow.

Okay, that’s not true, or I wouldn’t have bothered firing up WordPress. There’s lots to say. Like how Walden is a mere 20 years old, and is producing work that is going to suck you right in, demanding to know what happens next, what’s happened before, who these characters are, and where they’re going. Like how the art is remarkably polished, and how well it serves an intriguing-as-all-hell premise.

Last week, we at Fleen had the impression it would feature (and I quote) rebellious prep school students in space, but that’s only part of it. It’s the flashback part, and the current story is about young folk (indeterminate age, but probably secondary school age) and an older woman (of clearly rough reputation) on an itinerant gig of restoring old buildings … in space. POV character Mia is thrust into the latter, having previously experienced the former, and how/why she wound up here is still to be seen.

The world has an industrial aesthetic that I’d describe as steampunk without the steam-gear fetish — spaceships look like fish, buildings are old and cathedral-like, like a culture transitioning from high Renaissance to Industrial Revolution suddenly figured out spaceflight and architecture stopped there (although clothing did not — it’s got a late 20th Century feel: practical, functional, nondescript even). I suppose an alternate take would be Moebius without the fetishy fashion aspects.

Which is to say, there were a lot of deliberate choices that led to On A Sunbeam’s look and feel; they’re not just thrown together at random, and they feel organically linked even without knowing the backstory and worldbuilding. Remember everything I said about Walden’s characters dragging you into the narrative? The art is just as compelling.

None of which is really surprising; Walden may be on her first webcomic, but she’s got multiple books under her belt, and two Ignatzen bricks from earlier this month. If she can post story even fractions of the size of the first update (a full chapter, three dozen pages worth!) each Wednesday, On A Sunbeam is going to be one of the densest, richest, fastest-growing webcomics experiences in years¹.

The only thing missing is an RSS feed, so write yourself a note to check back Wednesdays. Jump on now while it’s still new; don’t delay event one update.

Spam of the day:

Keep?the?good?teeth?and only replace the bad ones.

Isn’t that the entire point of dentistry? And what’s with the choice of non-Latin (but Latin-looking) characters in the text? ?????t??????d?t??t???nd??nl? — none of those words is composed only of standard keyboard characters.

¹ Although it’s completely different in tone, story, aesthetic, pacing, subject, and just about everything else, it sort of reminds me of Minna Sundberg’s Stand Still, Stay Silent in terms of overall accomplishment. This speaks well of both young ladies in question.

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