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Comic Book / Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

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After the success of Afterlife with Archie it became clear that Archie Comics really could take a well-known, family friendly franchise and give it a horrifying twist. So why not try it again with their other popular series?

Born to a human mother and a warlock father, Sabrina is a teenage girl being raised by her two aunts, Zelda and Hilda. While hiding her powers from her mortal peers, she must juggle being a witch with love, friendships, and all the hardships of being a high schooler.

The series, written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, is a horror twist on the original Sabrina the Teenage Witch mythos. Characters like cousin Ambrose are brought back and the overall story is more similar to the pre-sitcom incarnations, but with a darker mood.

A television adaptation of the comic aired on Netflix for four seasons. It was originally announced as being in development at the The CW, where it would serve as a spin-off to their other Archie Comics series Riverdale. Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men) played the title character.

This Comic Book Provides Examples Of:

  • Adaptation Dye-Job:
    • Zelda traditionally has green hair but here it's black.
    • Salem is larger than usual and has longer fur.
  • Adaptational Villainy: The aunts weren't originally the most heroic characters but here their comedic side is nonexistent and their creepiness is dialed up.
  • Alternative Continuity: To the original comic series and to Afterlife with Archie despite sharing the same character of Sabrina the Teenage Witch and head writer.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Cousin Ambrose is brought back into the limelight after being Demoted to Extra in the main comics.
    • After they appeared in cameos in #1 and #4, Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge returned and played a major role in the story, first by bringing back Madam Satan and later Edward Spellman's spirit in Harvey's body.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy:
    • Janet Leigh was apparently a witch.
    • Ann Margaret was a witch,
    • Giles Corey, a victim of the Salem Witch Trials, is stated to have been an actual warlock.
    • Rudyard Kipling is implied to be another example. Turns out he's Ambrose's uncle and the one who gave him Nag and Nagaina.
  • Body Snatcher: Edward Spellman takes over Harvey's body after he dies.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: The entire witches' council is portrayed this way due to their worship of Satan. Things like driving mortals insane, bringing back the dead, cannibalism and goat slaughtering to summon Satan is part of a witch's routine.
  • Came Back Wrong: Harvey, who came back with Edward Spellman wearing him as a skinsuit.
  • Cats Are Snarkers: Salem, who is probably the character least changed from previous incarnations.
  • Cats Have Nine Lives: Salem says he would have killed himself nine times if he had no hopes of returning to his human form.
  • Darker and Edgier: While the comedic edge is still present to some degree, this series is very clearly a horror story.
  • Day in the Limelight: Issue #6 focuses on the backstories of Salem, Nag and Nagaina.
  • Deal with the Devil: Edward Spellman tried to summon Satan but eventually decided to summon a shapeshifting demon to trick the witch community. As payment, the demon took the soul of a dark priest who was an obstacle between Edward and his goal.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The 1960s attitude about race, women, single mothers, and homosexuality is frequently mentioned in the story.
  • Dogs Are Dumb: Referenced. Zelda states that dogs aren't smart enough to be familiars.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Edward is seriously twisted, but he draws the line at using his current disguise as Harvey for the sake of Villainous Incest.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Salem would have killed himself if he didn't have any hopes of returning to human form.
  • Godiva Hair:
    • Madam Satan, in her nude scenes, and whenever her breasts aren't conveniently in shadows.
    • Same with the naked witches who curse Samuel/Salem.
  • Glamour: According to Sabrina Glamours are Vanity Spells Fairy Magic Ambrose corrects her and explains that Glamours are Protection Spells And that Witches not Fairies invented them
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Sabrina's aunts are heavily implied to eat fresh human corpses.
    • Edward-in-Harvey's-body kills and eats Harvey's parents. It ain't pretty.
  • Imagine Spot: After Harvey is killed, Sabrina imagines how their lives would have been if she chose the mortal side of her heritage.
  • Magic is Evil: The series gleefully embraces the "witches = Hollywood Satanism" paradigm that non-Chilling Sabrina generally avoids.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Veronica mistakes Madam Satan for a lesbian at first, who implies that many witches are mistaken for gay women.
  • Mythology Gag: The title is a reference to an otherwise unrelated 70s Sabrina series named "Chilling Adventures in Sorcery as Told By Sabrina", which also had horror stories in it.
  • Naked on Arrival: When we first see Madam Satan, she has just been summoned up from Hell, and wanders around naked for a while until she finds a blanket to wrap herself in.
  • Only Sane Man: Salem has a tendency to slip into this role. He even Lampshades it:
    "Since when did I become the voice of reason? ...I don't enjoy it."
  • Period Piece: Written in The New '10s but it takes place in The '60s.
  • Polly Wants a Microphone: In issue #2, a man named Martin Coslaw is killed (indirectly) by Madam Satan and brought back as her familiar, a talking crow.
  • Precision F-Strike: After her husband steals their infant daughter from her arms after her failed attempt at escaping him.
    Diana: Damn you, Edward, she's our daughter!!
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Zig-Zagged a little with Ambrose's snake familiars, Nag and Nagaina. They're a little creepy and don't seem to have much of a conscience, but they're really no worse than any of the other familiars in the series, and are downright affectionate towards Ambrose.
  • Same Character, But Different: In the older Sabrina comics, Ambrose was stout, mustachioed and middle-aged, and the calm, reasonable counterpoint to the short-tempered, impulsive Hilda. In this comic he's slim, clean-shaven, teenaged and impetuous, having been expelled from boarding school for magical Disproportionate Retribution over a minor prank.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The three thugs that attempt to chase down and stab young Harvey Kinkle share their names with three of the gang members in Stand by Me and the novella it was based on: Billy and Charlie retain their first names with the characters from the latter, while Johnny Merrill lost his "Ace" nickname but kept his last name. The relations are also similar, with one of the goons being the older brother of the victim's best friend, and the younger brother telling the protagonist about the thing they're searching for (dirty magazines vs. a dead body).
    • Appropriately enough, Nag and Nagaina are the names of the cobras in Kipling's "Rikki-Tikki-Tavvi".
  • Snarky Nonhuman Sidekick: There are four in the comic so far. There's Salem for Sabrina, of course; Nag and Nagaina for Ambrose, and Martin Coslaw for Madam Satan.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Sabrina resembles her mother quite a bit, more so when her hair was still blonde.
  • Was Once a Man:
    • Salem was once Samuel, an immigrant who came to live in Salem and was transformed by a witch before the infamous witch trials.
    • Nag and Nagaina were once a prince and princess who were betrayed by a warlock who set them up for a plot to murder their stepmother (which they actually did intend to do). The warlock turned them into cobras and they were eventually bought by Rudyard Kipling, who gave them to Ambrose.