Everything You Need To Know About Sabrina, From Archie Comics To ‘Chilling Adventures’
Our favourite teenage witch has been spellbinding for more than five decades.
'The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina' debuts on October 26.
Sabrina the Teenage Witch should not exist. But a brief cameo in Archie Comics in 1962 has turned into over 50 years of comic books, multiple cartoon series, and television shows. The latest iteration of the beloved series, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, debuts on Netflix on October 26.
So, what’s the deal with this witch?
Sabrina’s backstory is a little chaotic thanks to the different interpretations of the character, but in the first comic, she was created by accident when her Aunts Hilda and Zelda botched a magic potion.
Minor tweaks have been made to Sabrina’s story over the years, but the one constant has been a focus on her juggling the responsibilities of being a witch with a normal teenage life. Learning to use her powers is the perfect supernatural parallel to being a teenager and growing up.
So, where does Chilling Adventures of Sabrina fit into the equation?
Archie Comics: 1962 – Present
Comic book writer George Gladir and cartoonist Dan DeCarlo put Sabrina Spellman in Archie’s Madhouse #22 in 1962. Sabrina’s first appearance only lasts five pages, but it made an impression on fans. They wrote letters demanding more Sabrina. The teenage witch would appear steadily in Archie’s TV Laugh-Out (comic books had weird names in the ‘60s) before getting her own comic book in 1971, which ran for 77 issues.
The tales of Sabrina established the foundations of the character while making her one of the most popular characters on the Archie Comics roster.
The Sabrina the Teenage Witch Show: 1971 – 1974
Riding on the popularity of the comic, The Sabrina the Teenage Witch Show aired as part of the Saturday morning cartoon line-up in America. Made by the same animation studio that produced He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Sabrina was spruiked as “the grooviest teenage witch” and the show kept the light tone of the comics.
Sabrina the Teenage Witch: 1996 – 2003
The first significant live-action version of Sabrina the Teenage Witch – arguably the most-remembered to date – began as a TV movie in 1996 starring Melissa Joan Hart as Ms Spellman and a young Ryan Reynolds as the boyfriend material.
Shortly after, it got the go-head to be made into a TV series with Hart returning as Sabrina. The plot focused on Sabrina living with her aunts (played by Caroline Rhea and Beth Broderick) while attending high school and learning to be a witch. The series had a light, goofy tone and Salem the cat spoke in excellent puns and with the right amount of mid-90s sarcasm.
Sabrina the Teenage Witch ran for seven seasons and added two more telemovies: Sabrina Goes to Rome and Sabrina Down Under.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: 2018
Sabrina took a dark turn when comic book writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and artist Robert Hack released Chilling Adventures of Sabrina in 2014. The comic took its lead from Sabrina’s appearances in Aguirre-Sacasa’s comic, Afterlife with Archie, where a zombie apocalypse hits Riverdale. Archie Comics are wild.
Again, fans loved the return of Sabrina so much she got her own comic, but the sweet teenage witch from the past was gone. Aguirre-Sacasa’s take on the character leans hard into horror elements and grisly, gothic imagery.
Following the success of Netflix series Riverdale, producers were looking to expand the roster of characters from Archie Comics and looked at introducing Sabrina on the show. Instead, they came up with the idea of developing a new Sabrina the Teenage Witch TV series as a companion to Riverdale, turning to Aguirre-Sacasa’s comic for inspiration. Netflix swooped in and ordered two seasons of the series, with the brains behind Riverdale working with Aguirre-Sacasa, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men’s Sally Draper) was anointed as the new Sabrina with Miranda Otto (Lord of the Rings) and Lucy Davis (The Office, Wonder Woman) joining her as aunts Zelda and Hilda. Ross Lynch is on deck as Sabrina’s boyfriend, Harvey Kinkle, and Michelle Gomez (Missy from Dr Who) will play a mysterious teacher.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is a reboot of the iconic character with the horror amped up. Sabrina is living with her aunts in Greendale while coming to terms with her status as a half-witch/half-mortal while fighting the evil forces that threaten her and the mortals she loves.
And, after all these years, Sabrina is still as spellbinding as ever.
(Lead image: Netflix)
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina spooks up Netflix on October 26.