Saturday, August 13, 2016

Reader's Diary #1352- Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (writer), Robert Hack (artist): Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Book One

Remember that Running Man movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger, supposedly based on the novella by Stephen King's alter-ego Richard Bachman? The only thing it had in common with the book was the names and the loose premise that criminals were expected to fight for their life on national TV. Yet both were good in their own way. I sort of feel that way about Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

Sure the characters are the same as in the original Archie comics, and yes, she's still a witch, but it doesn't feel like the same Sabrina. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is also the writer behind the zombie-filled Afterlife with Archie comics and if I had to choose between the two, I think I'd stick to the zombies. In those comics, familiarity with the original Americana world of Archie comics are essential, giving this new, horrific world a more deliciously subversive flavour. Aww-shucks humour replaced with dark comedy. With the Sabrina series, it feels more like capitalizing on the brand.

It is, nonetheless, an excellent horror comic that works on its own and it does have an awesome old-school horror comic aesthetic. Sabrina, the daughter of a warlock and a mortal, has a complicated enough life as it is, trying to decide, at 16 years old, her life's path: to embrace her witch roots or to live as a mortal (which would open possibilities of true love). But then the vengeful Madam Satan shows up and things get worse. Much worse.

Aguirre-Sacassa does a wonderful job creating a fascinating Satanic witch culture, while Hack's art, not necessarily as great at Francesco Francavilla's Afterlife with Archie work, nonetheless maintains a creepy but vintage air, perfect for the plot and setting.

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