In 2009, a yacht was found sinking on its moorings, Sarah Bowles’ step-father was missing and her mother was charged with his murder. There was no body, no murder weapon, no witnesses and no motive.
In The Nib’s first serialized work of longform comics journalism, cartoonist Eleri Harris delves into a family’s emotional nightmare and Tasmania’s most controversial murder conviction. Reported Missing: A True Story of Family and Murder will publish in seven daily installments beginning on October 23, just one week before the Supreme Court appeal that could change everything.
“Most true crime stories focus on the victim or the perpetrator, but it’s far more rare to hear from the families whose lives are forever altered by convictions,” says Eleri Harris, a Tasmanian and The Nib’s Deputy Editor. “I wanted to engage with the emotional toll and longer-term impact of a murder case, when the victim and the person serving time for the crime are your parents.”
Reported Missing follows the tradition of Serial and Making a Murderer in exploring a case in-depth, and asking how much we can rely on our systems of justice to sort the innocent from the guilty.
“Reported Missing is ambitious storytelling and the first comic of its kind,” said Matt Bors, the founder of The Nib. “This is true crime done from a human angle that shows the strength of comics as a non-fiction medium.”
Based on a series of interviews with Sarah Bowles, trial transcripts and media coverage, Reported Missing uses lush watercolor and ink to bring a story from an island at the bottom of the world to a wider global audience.
The Nib is a daily publication and newsletter for political cartoons and comics journalism. It was relaunched under First Look Media in 2016 and recently created an animated web series under Topic.
Eleri Harris is a cartoonist, journalist and Deputy Editor at The Nib. Her cartoons have also been published online and in print by The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, Meanjin, Cuepoint, re:form, Symbolia, Narrative.ly, Taddle Creek, Grapple Annual and Seven Days. She hails from Tasmania and lives in Portland.