A Twitch in Time: Sabrina the Teenage Witch

Most people have heard about the great ABC Family TV show from the 90’s, Sabrina The Teenaged Witch. It starred Melissa Joan Heart as the spunky, blonde witch being raised by her two kooky Aunts, Hilda and Zelda, and the Warlock Salem imprisoned in the body of her black cat.  However, a lot of people don’t know that she started out as a comic book character. Some of them did know she was a comic book character, as there was a serial comic that ran around the same time depicting Sabrina as a much younger girl. This comic was a tie-in to the Sabrina: The Animated Series show that became popular in the early 2000’s. However, that comic series and show came after, the live action show’s debut.

What most people don’t know is that Sabrina was actually introduced as a character back in the 1960’s as a guest star in one of Archie Comics’ special digests, Archie’s Madhouse. Due to the overwhelmingly positive reception of the character, Sabrina made more and more appearances within the Archie Comics’ digests until she was finally given her own series, Sabrina The Teenaged Witch, in 1971. The comic ran for a while until it finally ended in 1983. With the creation and success of the live action TV show, the comic series was resurrected, heavily drawing its inspiration from the live action TV show over its original, Archie Comics roots. The comic series once again ended in 1999, only to be reincarnated once again to draw from the new 2000’s Sabrina: The Animated Series show. This comic did not end, but rather hit a transition period with issue #38, where the art style changed from reflecting the animated show to a new style that placed Sabrina once again in high school. This version of the comic lasted until 2004, where in issue #57 the comic was transitioned once again — this time into a manga style. This transition was more complete than the last one, with issue #104 ending in September of 2009. Because of the magical nature of the character, the transition comics always proceeded with a spell of some sort, with the transition from Animated to Teenaged taking place as a magical accident planned by Della, the head witch of the Witch’s Council, to teach the young Sabrina a lesson. The second transition, from comic to manga, took place because Sabrina had been reading too manga as of late and wanted to live in that kind of world. She cast an elaborate spell which changed her entire world to have a manga art style, which no one outside of herself happened to notice.

Sabrina the Teenaged Witch is currently running as a guest character in the Archie Comics, almost as a call back to her original run with gang in the 60’s. There’s even a horror comic series running, Chilling Adventure of Sabrina, that calls back to the 60’s publications with more of an adult focus. Sabrina as a character is likely to keep being revived over and over again, which is something that I personally enjoy, as she is one of my favorite childhood icons.