Graphic Novel Review: Sabrina

Nick Drnaso

Sabrina goes missing on her way to work one day. She is mourned by a sister and a boyfriend, and their depression and sadness bleeds into the lives of several others over the course of a year.

I've always wondered how survivors deal with the disappearance or homicidal death of a loved one. Sabrina illustrates the hour-to-hour anguish of missing someone and barely being able to function as a human being, until that one eventual morning when you can get out of bed, you can brush your hair, you can even hop on a bike for a nature ride or fill out a job application—things you never thought you'd feel like doing ever again.

Sabrina has a lot to say about our current plugged-in society in terms of its if-it-bleeds-it-leads journalism, fake news, keyboard warriors, and a tech- and gadget-obsessed populace that barely has time to mourn a victim or indulge in all the gory details of a crime before another violent act takes its place in the news.

If you're looking for colorful, precise illustrations, you won't get them here. The art of Sabrina—like today's headlines—is depressing and grim. The characters are as formless and faceless as the strangers tapping away at their keyboards all over the world, trolling and whipping up the readers. But it's a timely read about how isolated many feel, even as their privacy slips away.

Sabrina made the 2018 Man Booker Prize Long List, a first for a graphic novel.