Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #1

by Forrest.H on October 08, 2014

Spooky and spellbinding

Writing: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Artwork: Robert Hack
Publisher: Archie Comics

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Robert Hack offer up their continuation/spin-off of the Afterlife with Archie series today in the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and much like Archie, it's a surprisingly fun and shocking read even for what some people may consider a "novelty". 

It's the teenage witch we all know and love but darker, sleeker and scarier. Born half-breed of a warlock father and a human mother, Sabrina is cursed to live a life of shunning  from both her new highschool and totally human "friends" and her own witch-kind under the protection of her witch aunts and her familiar talking cat, Salem. The storytelling and imagery is all fittingly somber. Aguirre-Sacasa does a great job of twisting the familiar story into something more sinister while keeping the relatibility and recognizability of the original stories. Especially so, when each issue of Chilling Adventures will feature an original Sabrina tale in the back to show just how much things have really changed in these new (and chilling) tales making both the old and new enduring in a way. It never feels like Sabrina is totally out of reach even for a witch girl haunted by demons and literally hunted, she feels like a real girl growing up... albeit with witchcraft and demonology thrown in for good measure. It feels a little shallow and novelty-esque at times but at the same time who can say it isn't meant to?

Hack's art is a revelation akin to the symbology of the final book of The Bible itself. Bleak and cold sepias and oranges hold dominion over the pages, casting a spell of fall, October, and Halloween on all of it. The early images in the book dealing with a brutal attack at the hands of a flesh-hungry cult and the latter pages of the same issue, detailing the rise of a demon are all brutal and enthralling. It's a kind of Lynchian-Lovecraftian surrealism that is grounded very much in the witch tales of old totally works. 

There's no mistaking it, this is a horror book, and, it's definitley not for kids or teens like the Sabrina and Archie books usually are. This is a dark, forboding tale for the aged minds of readers familiar with the simpler times. Yeah, it's without a doubt a novelty but that doesn't mean it doesn't have its own merits. October is the perfect time to do something like this and it's more than rewarding to see Archie Comics doing this to their ever-popular books. Even if it does seem a bit shallow in issue one, I can see this kind of experimentation really paying off not only for writers and artists but for readers too. 


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