My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Back in 2018 Netflix premiered The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and fans of the original show from the 90s (myself included) rejoiced. It was apparent right off the bat that this newer version of Sabrina was hardly anything like the family-friendly version we remembered. It was a darker – much darker – filled with occultism, satanic rituals, orgies, murder, and the Dark Lord, Satan, himself.
I don’t know if everyone was pleased by such a huge shift in nostalgia, but I ate season one up. I enjoyed the newer, more twisted iteration of Sabrina, possibly even more than the original show. Back in the spring, Netflix released a second season, which, to my delight, was just as good as the first. It wasn’t until season two came out that I found out that the show was actually based on a comic series, set in the Archie universe. Recently, I picked up a copy of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: The Crucible (vol. 1) to see just how the two compared.
There are some major differences between the comic and the television show. The comic, believe it or not, is even darker and more mature than the show. The story arch is similar: Set in the 1960s, Sabrina is a half witch on the verge of turning sixteen. The eve of her dark baptism is approaching – the occasion in which Sabrina signs her name in the Book of the Beast and fully commits herself to Lord Satan – but, naturally, she has some conflicting feelings. Is she really ready to give up her friends, boyfriend, and all that she’s come to know in the mortal world?
I really liked the comic version of Sabrina. Her mortal friends and boyfriend were a little less present than they were in the show, which I actually preferred because I found them a little annoying at times. (Both versions of Harvey are boring and too white bread for me.) There was more Salem in the comic and he actually talked, just like the original 90s version. More talking cats is always a win for me. I also liked the crossover with Riverdale and Archie characters (I was also delighted to see Sabrina make an appearance in the Afterlife with Archie graphic novel.), although I don’t think this would have worked in the show. Sabrina’s backstory is quite different here and far more fucked up. Her parents aren’t dead this time. Rather, her mother is trapped in a mental hospital and her father is trapped inside a tree. There’s less misogyny than the show. We don’t really learn much about the coven the Spellmans belong to and there’s no Father Blackwood contending for a spot as the biggest douchebag in the series. Thankfully, Madam Satan (disguised as one of Sabrina’s teachers), is still present, following her own agenda and meddling in all of Sabrina’s affairs in a deliciously wicked way. Even without the brilliant performance of Michelle Gomez, comic version of Madam Satan is just as satisfying.
So far, there’s only one graphic novel and there’s some speculation as to whether or not there will be another. For now, I’ll keep my fingers crossed and just have to wait for Netflix to make another season to tide me over.