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Take a trip through the Galaxion!

Tara Tallan

By Donielle Ficca
January 28, 2008
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This is a comic that I found while searching for new content on — content by all women go figure why it attacted me! Tara gives us a world and characters that show how a strong woman can fit in a man's world of science fiction. The characters are well developed and interesting.

For those who love space based stories, or stories with strong character development, this comic is one that you should definitely put on your weekly read. It's updated every Tuesday and the first Friday of each month so keep an eye out and enjoy!

Sequential Tart: For those who aren't familiar with you or your work yet, please introduce yourself to our readers.

Tara Tallan: Hi! I'm Tara Tallan, and I write and draw a science fiction comic called Galaxion. Galaxion began as a quarterly minicomic, moved to a direct-market distributed periodical, and just recently began again as a webcomic on Girlamatic.

ST: How long have you been interested in comics, and what was the first comic you ever read?

TT: Gosh ... the first comic I ever read? It was probably something like Richie Rich, which my dad would have bought at the airport for me to read on the long plane trip to visit my grandma in Edmonton. I would have been about seven. Actually, I also remember the comics that American Airlines gave away to their young passengers — they featured the Harvey characters like Casper and Wendy the Witch in crossover stories, and I really enjoyed them. I think I still have them somewhere. And that same trip was the one in which my comic collection began—I was given my aunts' collection of Classics Illustrated (mostly junior) comics, plus a few Little Lulus and other odd titles. I never got any more Classics Illustrateds, but I did pick up a few more Richie Rich comics during the rest of my childhood. For a seven/eight year old, they were good stuff.

My first superhero comic, though, and the first one I bought with my own money, was Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew #7. I'm tickled to see it back in print!

ST: What is your web comic about, and what kind of reader would it most attract?

TT: Like many creators I have a tough time describing my story in a few short sentences, but here's the way I think of it: I write what makes me happy. So if things like Elfquest, Zot!, novels by authors like Lois McMaster Bujold and Diana Wynne Jones, Star Trek, and old anime like Star Blazers make you happy, then you're going to like Galaxion.

I could also say it's a science-fiction romance in which the crew of the Galaxion tests out a new Jump engine and discovers that it doesn't quite work the way they'd predicted, but somehow that doesn't get the gist of it across as well!

ST: What kind of creative schedule do you usually follow? How often does your web comic update?

TT: My time for drawing is any time I've got to myself while the kids are both in school. With my daughter still doing half-days and my son coming home for lunch a couple days a week, the hours aren't as many as you might think! But I like being able to compartmentalize my drawing time this way, so I'm not spending my weekends itching to get away from my family so I can get some drawing in.

I used to work a whole issue (20 pages) at a time. I'd sit down and write the script, then I'd pencil all the pages, and then I'd ink all the pages, and then start all over again. I think that kind of schedule would have me tearing my hair out, now. I still write in chapter-chunks, but I no longer sweat the length. Chapter 1 of the webcomic was 27 pages, and Chapter 2 will be 25. I pencil five pages, and then I ink them, and then I pencil five more and so on. Scripting happens on a "whenever the mood strikes me" basis, though I've got to have the entire chapter fully scripted before I start in on penciling it. At the time of this writing I'm starting work on the script of Chapter 5, but the pencils are only up to the first five pages of Chapter 3, so I'm well ahead of the curve there.

Right now I've got a new page going up every Tuesday and also the first Friday of every month. That's a small step up from my previous posting schedule of just Tuesdays. I'd love to be able to have new pages three days a week, but honestly, I'm not a very speedy artist, and never have been!

ST: What's the best thing about working on a web comic?

TT: The best thing is having no costs other than my art supplies – and instant world-wide distribution, for them that wants it. Self-publishing in the 90's was more or less a zero-sum game for me. I didn't lose money, but I can't say I made a lot of money either. On the web, I can still tell my story and still reach lots of readers (though there will always be those that for one reason or anther simply don't want to read comics on their computer), but without the money issues! Also, by the time I'm ready to collect all this stuff into a graphic novel, I'll have done half the work by already having established a fan base. Not all web readers will buy, of course, but it's a decent head start over trying to sell something sight unseen.

I also love the instant feedback. Previously, months or more would go by before I'd hear any sort of comment from readers. Now it's a matter of weeks (or less, if I'm really pushing that deadline) from the first pencils to the reader response. I do miss the full letters I used to get, but the little comments are such a lovely ego boost!

ST: What's the most challenging thing about working on a web comic?

TT: It's telling the story page by page. Ultimately, I want Galaxion to be read as one large unit, or several units. I'm not designing each page to be a satisfying read on its own. Sometimes it seems to work OK, but other times I look at a page and worry about how it reads out of context. At my comic's pace, where you're only getting (on average) a page a week, it's real easy to forget what happened in the last chapter, let alone one page ago. I try to help correct this by adding footnotes, but I worry that much of the nuance is lost, particularly for the casual reader.

ST: What do you have coming up, either with this current web comic or with other works you might be doing?

TT: I have some projects waiting on the back burner, but it's pretty much all Galaxion all the time at my house! I'm looking forward to getting the full cast on stage at last, and moving past the point where we left off in the printed-comic version as quickly as I can. I can't tell you how many times I bang my head against the wall (well, proverbially speaking, anyway), wishing I could draw faster. There's some excellent story waiting to be told!

Galaxion — Link to the comic
Girlamatic — Main site where you can find lots of comics done by women