I have already mentioned the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on The Nerdy Girl Express before, but I limited myself to only talking about the Netflix series. Today I thought I would share a little bit about the source material that inspired the series. Get your coven together and get ready to delve into the comics.
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is not only the showrunner of Riverdale and the creator of the Netflix Sabrina series, but he also was part of a number of horror focused Archie comics including Jughead The Hunger and Afterlife with Archie. I’ve read some of both of these series and had been debating about whether to check out the Sabrina comics when the Netflix series was announced. With that as motivation I tracked down what I soon realized was a very small number of comics focused on Sabrina. Only 8 issues were ever published of the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. The first 5 have been compiled into a graphic novel, but the other 3 can only be found as single issues. I was very lucky to find them on an online source called Hoopla. It allows you to borrow books by logging in through your public library account.
Surprisingly there are very few similarities between the comics and the Netflix series. Now there are some basic ones, Sabrina is half witch, half human and Salem is still her familiar. She also lives with Hilda, Zelda, and Ambrose, attends Baxter High, is dating Harvey, and her baptism does get interrupted. That’s about where the similarities end though. In the comics Sabrina has been told that her parents are both dead, but this isn’t entirely true. Her mother was made to forget that her daughter was born and is locked away in an institution and the reason behind this is Sabrina’s father. Yep, Edward Spellman locked up his own wife and in the comics he is vile. He is basically a magical con man and he has found ways to get everything he wanted, that is until Hilda and Zelda figure out that he’s been lying to the entire coven. Things get super complicated with Edward following a resurrection spell that is a bit like what happened on Netflix. Madam Satan takes part in it, but Harvey is the one being brought back to life. That’s right, the comics kill off Harvey, which I definitely don’t think would have worked with the show.
The show has a number of things that I love that differ from the comics. That includes Sabrina actually having friends outside of Harvey, Rosalind and Susie are so great and I can’t imagine them not being in the series, and The Academy of Unseen Arts. The school does get mentioned in one issue of the comics, but Sabrina apparently attended it as a child and we never see any of her classmates. That means no Nick and no Prudence and seriously how can you not have Prudence? Ambrose in the comics is also done very differently and I much prefer Netflix Ambrose to him. Ambrose is my absolute favorite in the series so the comic version could never really have compared. The one thing I do wish the show had that the comics include are backstories for the familiars. Not only does Salem talk, but in one issue we get to learn how he became trapped in cat form. Now in the show this is a bit different, but I am still holding out hope that he’ll get to talk at least a little bit. If you like the Netflix series you should give the comics a read, even if just to see what some of the base material was for what you’ve been watching. You should be able to find them in a variety of places, but if you have a library card you can always try Hoopla like I did.
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