Welcome back, folks, and thanks again for tuning in. You are hopefully doing well, about to head to or from the local comic book shop to pick up an issue or two. Well, as I stated in my last post, I want to highlight some titles at the top of my pull list.
This week I wanted to recommend a new series that started a while back, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. It comes from an old-school company that’s coming back in a big way. I’ve heard nothing but great things about Archie Comics’ latest relaunch. Not being a fan, I found myself sitting on the sidelines waiting for something that might grab my interest. Then I was handed a copy of Sabrina.
It’s six issues in, and each installment is literally a saga in itself. The art feels as though it was drafted on blood-soaked parchment. I imagine myself reading an arcane grimoire when I’m curled up with an issue. The realism, pacing, and tone gives it a biographical tone, like actual witch lore.
Sabrina is an occult tale, and anyone that’s been reading my posts know I love supernatural stories. This title excels at building a dynamic universe around itself. The worldbuilding behind these witches is very immersive and makes you want to know more. The idea of a familiar was very interesting, the rituals and spells are treated with respect, and the introduction of cannibalism reminds me that this magic is not what I thought it would be.
My favorite parts thus far:
1) When Sabrina attends the ritual to become a full-blown witch. The depiction of the ceremony along with the depiction of the devil and the witches’ relationship to him was something I hadn’t read before, much less seen. As the devil is usually depicted as a clean-cut, silver-tongued gentlemen or a seductive female; this depiction shows the devil as a larger-than-life beast. Also he seemed to respect the witches rather than the classic ‘he’s using you’ story.
2) Not knowing anything about Archie Comics, I kept waiting for a love story to pop up out of nowhere. Once it reared its ugly head, I sighed and thought to myself, please don’t ruin the book! And the creative team did not disappoint — the love interest was eaten alive by witches for having witnessed Sabrina’s induction. He was chased down in a dark forest and murdered, with Sabrina and her family covering up the killing.
3) Another aspect I like about this title is that there is a witch court. That opens up the universe for arguments about what the magic realms would view as right and wrong. A magical justice system, if you will. I can’t wait for that to be further explored.
The story is written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who is currently CCO (chief creative officer) of Archie Comics. He has a handful of Marvel comics under his belt (notably Fantastic Four and Spider-Man), as well as some movies (the Carrie remake, most notably) and plays (surprisingly he penned a musical adaptation of American Psycho). He has also scripted a very successful run of Archie comics, which I might hunt down to take a read, Afterlife with Archie.
Robert Hack illustrates the series, a man who had never done interiors for comics, but had done some variant covers for the company. His retro style is very fitting here, allowing the creepiness to shine.
Sabrina is a great gateway into Archie’s new direction, and a fantastic horror story to boot. Are there any other creepy comics I should add to my list? Any recommendations are more than welcome!