The lasting charm of Sabrina Spellman

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There has been no Archie Comic character who has been as successful as Sabrina Spellman. Though Archie may be the most recogniseable in his comic form, Sabrina has lived through so many iterations. Sabrina first appeared in Archie’s Madhouse in issue #22 back in 1962. It wasn’t until 1971 that the teenager had a comic of her very own. Since then she has had several comic series to her name, one appearing the back of the successful television show with Melissa Joan Hart.

The witch has had several television shows (one live-action and many animated off-shoots), a made-for-TV movie and several novels. This is not to mention the countless projects on hold or awaiting production. But the re-imagining of the character has never stopped, but no project has been as dramatic as the comic book series Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

If you’re a huge fan of the 90’s TV show (and we all are), don’t expect the latest series to be anything like this:

Archie and his pals have been through almost as much as Sabrina after all these years, with unique ventures like Afterlife with Archie, countless of comic series through the decades and, of course, cross-overs like Archie vs Predator. This is a brand that has refused to make itself boring. But Sabrina’s character is the one who time and time again succeeds at being reinvented.

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina puts the occult back into this witch-centered story. While Afterlife with Archie is a great read, Sabrina’s story makes so much more sense in horror-comic fashion. Thus far three issues have been released since last October. The story line doesn’t stray too far from the familiars (Hilda, Zelda, Salem and Harvy are all present), but the books have a noticeably darker tone that the sugary sweet fun of the original comics.

In the new comics, it is the 1960s and Sabrina is preparing to turn 16. As to be expected, her birthday probably won’t include a date with Harvey doesn’t seem to be in the stars. Instead she must prepare herself to declare her allegiance with Satan. Unbeknownst to her, there is Madam Satan on her trailer – a former jilted lover of Sabrina’s father and a character who had a brief appearances in Pep Comics. Robert Hack’s art is done in sepia tones which creates this soft, dark world completely unlike anything done with the characters before. It’s definitely new and different, and it definitely is something that works.

To some, this might sound like a massive change of direction and it kind of it, but this is telling the Sabrina story in a way that seems most natural. They are changes easy to accept and cope with (and she even gets to keep her iconic white-blonde hair). Expect plenty of witchcraft and less Halloween-fun.

No matter what incarnation of the teen, she’s always the most lovable half-witch in Greendale. And she’s a character that impeccably keeps up with the times. When Chilling Adventures ends, there is bound to be someone eagerly waiting to pick the story back up again.

IMG_0974Unfortunately, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina doesn’t really follow a monthly schedule, which is a bit frustrating. Three issues in over nine months can be slightly frustrating, but every issue has been well worth the wait. Issue #4 is awaiting a release date as of publishing.

 

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