Friday, July 31, 2015


ARCHIE COMICS – @ArchieComics @ArchieHorror

STORY: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
ART: Robert Hack
LETTERS: Jack Morelli
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (September 2015)

“The Crucible” Chapter Four: “Harvey Horrors”

Rated Teen + (Violence and mature content)

When writer George Gladir and artist Dan DeCarlo created Sabrina the Teen-Age Witch and her world in the early 1960s, did they imagine or could they have imagined how much it would all change decades later?  It's a chilling thought.

The comic book series, Afterlife with Archie, is a re-imagining of the world of Archie Comics as a zombie apocalypse, and it is a hit with readers.  Last year, Sabrina the Teen-Age Witch, a traditionally lighthearted, Archie Comics publication, also received a horror comics makeover.  Now, we have Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, drawn by Robert Hack, and lettered by Jack Morelli.  It is a genuine and genuinely good horror comic book.  Say what!

This darker series is set in the 1960s, with the current story line largely taking place in 1967.  Sabrina Spellman is a 15-year-old who lives in Greendale with her aunts, Hilda and Zelda (two witches of the Satan-serving variety), and her cousin, Ambrose (a warlock).

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #4 (“The Crucible” Chapter Four: “Harvey Horrors”) opens after Sabrina's interrupted “Unholy Baptism,” in which she was preparing to accept the life of a witch.  Now, Sabrina's boyfriend, Harvey Kinkle, a fellow student and football stud at Greendale High School, is running for his life.

In the tragic aftermath, Sabrina struggles to accept what seems like fate.  In the meantime, her aunts warn her that she must face the coven.  However, a sympathetic teacher at Greendale High, Evangeline Porter a.k.a. Madam Satan, may have a way to make things better for Sabrina.

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Robert Hack have created a horror comic book that it is so good that they could make it work without using a well-known Archie Comics character.  That they have re-imagined Sabrina the Teen-Age Witch simply makes the book that much more wickedly divine and salacious.

The bucolic 1960s setting is appropriate as this comic book has the occult and ominous vibe of such 1970s occult films like Carrie, The Omen, Race the Devil, and Rosemary's Baby, among others.  Every time I read this comic book, I also think about Rob Zombie's recent half-ridiculous/half-brilliant, Satanic art movie, The Lords of Salem.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is mad and brilliant.  If EC Comics and the 1950s copy-cat horror comics that the publisher influenced had created graphic novels, they would look like this first story arc of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, “The Crucible.”  Sometimes, the witchery is so shocking in this comic book, I think that Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Robert Hack might need some inquisition face-time, or perhaps to be dunked a time or two.

[This issue includes a bonus Sabrina the Teen-Age Witch story, “Double Date,” from writer by Dick Malmgren and artist Dan DeCarlo.]


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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