Sabrina the Teenage Witch (2019-) is a new comic book incarnation of the epic story settings of its namesake, written by author Kelly Thompson, artists Veronica Fish and Andy Fish, and letterer/author Jack Morelli. Readers can expect, delightfully, a contemporary imagining of the long-time universe of Sabrina The Teenage Witch, her two spell weaving aunts, and their speaking cat Salem, plus a whole ton of high school drama that is just as much a part of the series as anything. This review of Volume 1 covers issues #1-5 of this series, or in other words, Volume 1.
Sabrina the Teenage Witch: Bubble, Bubble
These past few decades have seen some serious infusion of Sabrina’s presence from, probably most commonly, the 90’s television series starring Melissa Joan Hart, the original derivation from Archie, and most recently a terrifying yet crowd-loved macabre series Chilling Adventures of Sabrina–which has a graphic novel and Netflix series starring Kiernan Shipka. This version, called (proverbially,) Sabrina the Teenage Witch meets all of those somewhere in the middle, and it is delightful.
When I was looking through comic series’ for a suitable title for this first comic review, I wanted to find something I knew I could gobble up like bite-sized candy, since I’m prone to distraction. I did many a doubletake of this one, since while a fan of the series, the Chilling’ reboot was a little terrifying for me. Hmm, something I can just chill out chuckle at, alright!
So, when I realized what this was, a terrific frame work for all of those styles, I dove right in.
Toil and Trouble
The series reads like a very thought out first episode. All the introductory cues are there and you get to meet everybody majorly involved before the plot starts to unfold. A recurring theme of Sabrina’s hair is a common source of re-grounding as it fluctuates between white and blonde, I suppose because she’s a witch and it is a magical quality, but I’m not really sure.
You should know that despite high school crushes and casual shenanigans, the story is pretty mature, or at the least slightly above TGIF specials in the late 90s. Most of Sabrina’s fans are probably in their 30s now, but I’m uncertain of the Chilling’ series crowd. Mature in the sense that the foes and enemies of this town are as hyped up as Buffy and Hogwarts. This brings on a new observation.
I just loved the system of magic in this. And not just in this but all the Sabrina’s. It’s core to a lot of the bubbly pleasant witch aesthetic out there, and it’s because it just makes a person grin. A clever little poem, a flick of the finger/or a stir of the cauldron, and boom, we got this. It is helpful if when you read the spells you think about them and read them almost as sort of a little song. M.J.Hart. was very helpful for that back in the day.
Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble
Things will probably not end up how you expect in this volume. No stone is left unturned in this story though. You’ll delight in how the character art pays attention to every character’s mood. Without it, you might Harvey a bit of oaf, but with it he’s not an oaf, he’s thoughtful! So, that’s something to consider.
I’ll advise you, there is a strong cryptid theme in this. If you like that sort of thing, and you like Sabrina, you’re probably going to like the comic. The artists’ style is very chill and friendly. And you are going to friggin’ love seeing what happens to Salem the cat a little later on, no spoilers but it is hilarious and cute.
So, what else can I say really that doesn’t spoil? It’s all there, Sabrina, Buffy, Hagrid… okay not those last two. This is a lot of fun and goes beyond what I have experienced thus far. Once again comics and video games can portray things in a way unique to them. You don’t eve have to sacrifice one format for the other!
This series is easy to find. It’s available digitally as well as physically. It’s around 140 pages, but they go by nice. I finished within around an hour or two. A volume 2 looks possible at some point, but the great Bladerunner year of 20/20 has obscured that somewhat. I’d vote this for a full TV reboot though!
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