A Tale of Two Sabrinas: Kia takes a look at Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and the new Sabrina the Teenage Witch comics.
Hello readers and welcome back! I’ve been doing these blog posts for awhile. I’ve written about and recommended (or not recommended) several books, and it’s all been fun, games, and good times! But now it’s time to stop being polite and start getting real. This is a story of heartbreak, abandonment, and feeling like you’re just not good enough. It’s that age-old story – girl meets boy, boy woos girl, girl falls in love, boy meets prettier and more exciting girl, boy dumps first girl. It happens all the time. Some girls bounce back. Others fall to pieces. Well, this is my story of how I bounced back. This is the story of how I loved and lost Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
A few years back, I discovered that Sabrina, the teenage witch we all know and love, was getting a makeover. Her story was going to be much darker than the earlier comics and 90’s TV show, and that was evident right off the bat with the new title of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. It was to be written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa with art by Robert Hack. Admittedly, when I first saw the artwork, I wasn’t sure that I liked it. However, once I started reading the comic and saw just how dark it was, I realized that the artwork was a perfect fit. I loved this comic! I loved that it was so unlike the TV show I had watched as a kid; that Sabrina’s aunts weren’t just spinsters that happened to know a few spells; that Sabrina’s high school experience and social life were more Buffy the Vampire Slayer (especially the later seasons) and less Sweet Valley High. Sidenote: I’m not shading Sweet Valley High. I read Sweet Valley High, Sweet Valley Twins, and Sweet Valley University, and yep I watched the TV show. But I prefer my supernatural entertainment to fall a bit on the darker side. So after reading the first trade of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, I was very excited to see how the story would continue. I waited and waited and waited patiently, and then I waited and waited and waited not so patiently. Until I saw that there were new single issues that had come out but then had prematurely stopped. And then I learned that Netflix was doing a Chilling Adventures of Sabrina show. “Okay, that could be cool” I thought. I wasn’t threatened – the comic and the show could both exist at the same time and the comic would obviously be the source material for the show. But no – that’s not what happened. Instead, the comic was basically abandoned. I saw social media messages from readers asking when the next comic issue would come out only to be completely ignored. And then during a run to my local comics shop, I learned that a new Sabrina comic was coming out. And there it was. I, along with other fellow readers, had been dumped for a much more attractive love interest – a television audience.
Now don’t get me wrong – I really enjoyed the first season of the Netflix show and, I’m looking forward to checking out the second season (I’m a little late, I know). But I definitely watch the show with a bit of bitterness in my heart because I don’t understand why the show and the comic can’t both exist in the same universe. I don’t think it’s been officially stated that Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is done, but I would imagine that it is, especially since a new Sabrina comic has already hit the shelves. So let’s talk about that.
The new comic is under the Archie Forever banner and is simply called Sabrina the Teenage Witch – back to the basics. It’s written by Kelly Thompson, who brought us the very entertaining Jem and the Holograms comic, with artwork by husband-and-wife team Veronica Fish and Andy Fish. I’m not familiar with Andy’s work, but I like the work Veronica did for the relaunched Archie comic. When I heard who would be writing and drawing the new Sabrina comic I was looking forward to it, but I also knew that it would probably be a much more light-hearted take. And after reading the first issue I see that I was right. The artwork is much brighter. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is very dark – a lot of blacks and oranges. It just screams Halloween. The new Sabrina is very bright and colorful, which is a style I actually really like, but it lets me know that this comic is going in a different direction. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is rated “Teen+” for violence and mature content. The new Sabrina is just rated “Teen.” Chilling Adventures of Sabrina was done under the Archie Horror imprint, while the new Sabrina is not. That being said, I enjoyed Sabrina #1 and look forward to checking out where the series goes. I even added it to my subscription box at my local comics shop. It’s a fun read with great artwork, and the potential is definitely there for it to go to some dark (or at least shadowy) places. But Chilling Adventures of Sabrina will always be the comic that got away, and I would’ve loved to see where the story went. Maybe I’ll get some answers on the Netflix show, but us comic readers know that there’s a whole lot you can get away with in a comic that just won’t fly on a television show. But, despite my bitterness, I’ll still watch the Netflix show because it’s really good. And I’ll still read the new Sabrina comic because it’s really good. But I’ll miss reading Chilling Adventures of Sabrina because it was really great. Until next time!
Kia is a co-host of the Half Assed Horror Cast. Her favorite horror novel is Scott Smith’s ‘The Ruins,’ fave slasher is Freddy Krueger, and her favorite TV show of all time is ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer.’