Harlowe is having a tough time. She’s studying hard, but her parents have been arguing lately about the cost of college, leaving her unsure what the future holds. One night, Harlowe thinks it might be best if she just vanishes. And she does, into the ocean. But that’s not the end of the story.
Harlowe comes to floating in the water above a reef, much different from the clifflined shore she left behind. She realizes she’s not imagining things when strange creatures attack her; luckily a passing ship scares them off. Harlowe’s relief is short-lived when the captain, Commander Valentino Christoph, orders her jailed. She later learns from his daughter, Frances, that she, Harlowe, is a Traveler. This world, Altus, is connected to Earth via the Itinerus Apex, and Frances has plans for Harlowe, though what she won’t say. But before Frances can put those plans into motion, a rescue team breaks out Penn, Campbell, and Logan, Harlowe’s fellow prisoners, taking her with them. Now aboard the Mistress Blitz, Harlowe has some decisions to make concerning her future and how she’ll get home.
Harlowe Vanished is about a young woman who takes a drastic step but ends up in an unexpected place. Created by Amy King, writer and artist for The Muse Mentor, Harlowe Vanished deals with depression and fear that comes with uncertainty. Although Harlowe seems content with life, she feels empty inside and is unsure how to express it to her family and friends, and decides to keep it inside. Unlike other depictions of suicide and suicide ideation, King shows Harlowe as coming from a stable home and has friends. Most stereotypes portray people who want to commit suicide as “dark, sad, lonely” types. While suicide is never a good thing, it is important to show that anyone can suffer from mental stress and emotional trauma, even the happy people.
In keeping with her previous work, King draws people of all types, backgrounds, races, genders, and sexes. In fact, out of the eleven main characters introduced so far, seven are women (including Tur’moré, a walrus-like creature) and one is nonbinary, leaving the men in the minority. Strong women of color also figure prominently. Similar to Muse Mentor, King’s individualizes all her characters, with physiques of all combinations, blending realism with the fantasy setting. The reef and creatures are bizarre and dreamlike, with mysterious animals inhabiting the water and air. Everything is at once both recognizable and unfamiliar. Kay King contributes as a flat colorist, using natural and unusual color schemes to show distinction between the cold military organization that first picks up Harlowe and the nonconforming rebels who rescue her and the others. Sam Langenfeld has also contributed with editing and writing.
Little has been revealed about the inhabitants of Altus or their motivations. Find out what happens next at Harlowevanished.com.