The comic book industry is experiencing a huge surge in witch books these days. We have Harrow County, Wytches, Rachel Rising, and Sabrina, among others.
What sets Sabrina apart, besides its use of Archie properties, is the huge, Satanic overtone of the work. The Devil himself appears on these pages, and boy do Aunt Hilda and Aunt Zelda call out “Hail Satan” a healthy handful of times. Sabrina is a period piece as well, taking place in the 60s, aligning with the publication of both the original Sabrina books and many classic horror pulp comics of yesteryear. Just like Afterlife with Archie, Sabrina is a hit. It reads much like Gaiman’s Sandman and while not quite hitting those same epic highs, the first volume sets itself up for one heck of a story.
After bringing the reader up to speed with the sinister circumstances of Sabrina’s birth in the early 1950s, the story jumps ahead to the mid-1960s, with Sabrina now of age to accept witch-hood and join the coven. While this IS a story about a teenage witch, and her standard supporting characters are present (aunts Hilda and Zelda, boyfriend Harvey Kinkle, cousin Ambrose, rival Rosalind, and cat/familiar Salem), this is definitely NOT a comic for kids. It’s more reminiscent of pre-comic code horror, with murder, mutilation, cannibalism, the torments of Hell, and Satan-worship, but there’s still room for some comedy, dark though it may be.
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s writing keeps you interested on the story and each page makes you want more. Robert Hack was a very inspired choice for the title’s artist. His soft lines are unusual for a horror comic, but I suppose that’s what makes the atmosphere all the more unsettling. Also, the earth tones in his watercolors give the impression of an eternal October. I was skeptical that Archie Horror would be able to pull off another winner, but Chilling Adventures of Sabrina far exceeded my expectations. While there are many good horror comics being published today, this title is one of the best.
JQ gives this book a 8/10. You wont be disappointed.