Close your eyes and retrieve the memories of the wholesome family show Sabrina the Teenage Witch from the mid nineties. The show where a half-witch/half mortal played by Melissa Joan Hart dominated the hearts of the ABC Family audience as she pranced about her room magicking various outfits upon herself as her talking cat, Salem, makes some witty remark. There was a laugh track, pastel colored walls, and a pair of sweet doting aunts. With eyes still closed, imagine darkness steadily falling upon this serene show. Then peel it back to reveal the horrors just behind it. That is the current era of Sabrina with The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comics.
The Sabrina featured in this series is completely different than the ABC Family and Archie comics. She is more solemn, more composed, more aware of her growing powers. The doting aunts are replaced by a truly sinister pair who abide by a more natural and visceral witch life. While doting on Sabrina. Salem is still a talking cat, with a slight twist. It is a horror comics aimed to give you chills and struggle to remember the past, wholesome Sabrina. Although this Sabrina is way more entertaining to follow. As enjoyable as the innocent fun of being concerned with Harvey Kinkle (her mortal love interest) and surviving high school, Sabrina is still a half-witch. Witches are not always nice or clad in school uniforms.
Archie Horror, imprint of Archie Comics, has dredged the beloved Archie and company characters into the blood and twisted fates of horror. For Sabrina, gone are the giggles, the ditzy, the sparkles, and pastel. Sporting a bob of hair as bright as the moon, Sabrina is a solemn girl who has seen so much and yet is trying to live a somewhat decent lifestyle as she attends high school. How does a girl who is used to blood infused sacrifices, fires of hell, and the wrath of witches deal with the mundane life of high school? Not in a very mundane way. Don’t be fooled, this is no high school story of cookie cutter plots. With demonic encounters happening almost every day, what moral quandary does Sabrina have in doing a spell to cause Harvey to fall in love with her? And be her utter slave? No matter the consequences?
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is not meant for the delicate of heart. The aesthetic may be of a noir comic but the content is relentless in its horror. For this scaredy-cat, each page is a challenge not to close the pages and hope that I did not accidentally invoke some hell spawned creature. With every gulp of unease, the pages still turn for I must know what happens next. Reading a scary story is a the perfect cure for the summer heat. Goosbumps will give you refreshing chills, even in the brightest of days.
Whether the incarnation of Sabrina is smothered in pastel colors and bubbles or shrouded in darkness and blood, there is still a strong pull towards her. It is due to her half-witch status. She was one of the first human characters that had to divide her time between two different cultures. This half Asian dreamer related to the half witch in her struggles to appease both sides and yet find who she is. Even in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, her half status is still a huge part of identity struggle. Although the first arc of the story takes this identity struggle a bit more serious: Sabrina has to choose to be a witch or stay as a mortal forever.
The only downer to this series is how infrequent and inconsistent the series has been published. Issue #6 was published on April 2016 following up by Issue #7 in June 2017. Admittedly, issue #7 is the beginning of a new story arc but still. The greed for more The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is strong. Unnaturally strong. As if unseen forces are willing me to obtain more issues.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #8 is available now at your local comic book store or digital platform. Check out https://afterlifewitharchie.com for more up to date information.