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Webcomic / On a Sunbeam

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On a Sunbeam is a 2016 webcomic by Tillie Walden.

Throughout the deepest reaches of space, shy captain Charlotte, team mom Alma, hot-headed Jules, and silent Elliot serve as a reconstruction crew, rebuilding beautiful and broken-down structures and painstakingly putting the past together. As Mia, the newest member, gets to know her team, the story flashes back to her pivotal year in boarding school, where she fell in love with a mysterious new student. But Mia hasn't forgotten her lost love, and the crew knows more than she thought about the girl from her past.

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The comic was published as a single volume in 2018 by First Second.


This show provides examples of:

  • Cast Full of Gay: Nearly every girl in the cast has been shown to like girls, and we see only one straight couple in the whole comic, that being Grace's parents.
  • Cult Colony: The first project Mia works on with the crew was one of these, before the followers went to The Staircase to look for their missing leader, and never came back.
  • Fictional Sport: The school sport of Mia and Grace's boarding school is Lux, where teams build their own mini spaceships and have to find colored orbs in pitch-black tunnels. Mia is a huge fan.
  • From Bad to Worse: First, the crew gets separated in The Staircase. Then, Elliot is severely wounded, Alma and Char are captured, and Jules is poisoned. They get better, though.
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  • Has Two Mommies: Mia has two mothers, who very much worry for their daughter.
  • I Will Find You: Mia hasn't forgotten about Grace, and traverses The Staircase to find her and say goodbye.
  • Important Haircut: Mia cuts her hair very short right before their mission to find Grace.
  • Mama Bear: Alma can be this to Jules, because she's her sister's daughter, and after losing her sister, doesn't want her niece to die as well.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: When Elliot talks, you know something is wrong.
  • One-Gender School: Mia and Grace met at Cleary's School for Girls.
  • One Degree of Separation: Char, Alma, and Elliot were the crew that brought Grace from The Staircase to her school, where she met Mia.
  • Scenery Porn: Tillie Walden's gorgeous illustrations of space can take up multiple pages.
  • Space Clouds: Walden's art style often depicts space like this.
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  • The Smurfette Principle: Inverted. There is one named human male in the entire series, Grace's father. One character is nonbinary, and every other named character is a girl.
  • The Voiceless: Elliot doesn't speak although they can, if necessary.
  • Transgender: Elliot is nonbinary.
  • Trans Tribulations: After Char gets put on leave, her replacement seems very stubborn in not learning Elliot's pronouns. Luckily, the crew is on Elliot's side, and Jules gives her hell for it later on.
  • True Companions: The crew of Sunbeam
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