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Sabrina, The Teenage Witch

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Sabrina, The Teenage Witch

Sabrina the Teenage Witch
Publisher Archie Comics
Format Ongoing series
Genre Teen humor
Publication date April 1971-January 1983 (volume 1); May 1997-December 1999 (volume 2); January 2000-? 2009 (volume 3)
Number of issues 77 (volume 1), 32 (volume 2), 104 (volume 3)

Sabrina the Teenage Witch is a comic book series published by Archie Comics about the adventures of a fictional teenager named Sabrina Spellman. Sabrina was created by writer George Gladir and artist Dan DeCarlo, and first appeared in Archie's Madhouse #22 in October 1962.

The series' premise is that Sabrina, a "half-witch" – her mother is an ordinary human, or "mortal" as witches refer to them, while her father is a witch – lives with her two aunts, Hilda and Zelda Spellman, both witches themselves, in the fictional town of Greendale, which is located somewhere near Riverdale, the home of Archie Andrews. Also living with the three women as the family pet is Salem Saberhagen, a witch who's been turned into a cat as punishment for world domination attempts.

Most of Sabrina's adventures consist of Sabrina either trying to use her powers in secret to help others – witches generally are not allowed to tell mortals about their abilities or existence – or dealing with the day-to-day trials of being a teenager. A recurring theme in Sabrina's stories is her learning more about the proper use of her powers, either through her aunts or from trips to a magical dimension that is the home of various magical/mythological creatures, including other witches. Various names are given to this dimension; the late 2000s comics refer to it as the "Magic Realm,"[1] while the live-action sitcom referred to it as the "Other Realm."

Sabrina's primary romantic interest is her mortal boyfriend named Harvey Kinkle who, like nearly all the other mortals in Sabrina's world, is unaware his girlfriend is a witch. (In the live-action sitcom, Harvey would eventually learn Sabrina is a witch on his own.)

The comic's characters have also appeared in various other media formats. One format was a long-running live-action sitcom series. Earlier, there had been an animated series produced by Filmation Associates. Another format was a series of paperback novels (see list below) written by various authors, including Nancy Holder, Diana G. Gallagher, and Mel Odom, as well as a 2000s animated series in which Sabrina discovers her powers while in junior high.

Publication history

Sabrina the Teenage Witch debuted in Archie's Madhouse (the logo sometimes given as Archie's Mad House) #22 (Oct. 1962). Created by writer George Gladir and artist Dan DeCarlo.[2] She first appeared in that humor anthology's lead story (the logo then spelled "Teen-Age"),[3] and eventually became one of Archie Comics' major characters, appearing in an animated series and a television sitcom. Gladir recalled in 2007,

"I think we both envisioned it as a one-shot and were surprised when fans asked for more. We continued to do Sabrina stories off and on in Mad House until 1969 when we were flabbergasted to hear it was to become an animated [TV series]. When it came to naming Sabrina I decided to name her after a woman I recalled from my junior high school days ... who was very active in school affairs, and who assigned a number of us to interview prominent people in the media. In addition, the woman's name had a New England ring to it. Some years later I recalled the woman's name was not Sabrina, but actually Sabra Holbrook."[3]

Sabrina made regular appearances in the comic book Archie's TV Laugh-Out. The title was published from 1969 to 1985, and consisted of 106 issues.[4]

The comic book Sabrina The Teenage Witch was published from 1971 to 1983, and ran for 77 issues.[2][3] A new "Sabrina" comic series was introduced shortly after the debut of the 1996 live-action sitcom. This series ran for 32 issues, between 1997 and December 1999. The new series incorporated elements from the live-action sitcom, including modernized fashions and appearances for the aunts, and Salem's personality and backstory.

Starting in January 2000, Archie rebooted the series from #1, this time based upon the 2000 animated series (the final issue of the 1997-1999 series had acted as a transition between the two adaptations). This new title was simply titled Sabrina and lasted for 37 issues; issue #38, published in late 2002, again acted as a transition issue, as the series was retitled Sabrina The Teenage Witch and resumed the conventional high school setting. However, elements of the live-action sitcom (Salem's backstory, the modernized appearances of Hilda and Zelda) were retained, along with the name of Sabrina's hometown (Greendale) from Sabrina the Animated Series being incorporated into the comics. The conventional setting lasted until issue #57, published in 2004, when the comic underwent a manga makeover (see below).

Sabrina also occasionally appears in other Archie Comics as a visiting acquaintance of Archie, Betty Cooper, Veronica Lodge, and Jughead Jones. In Jughead #200 (May 2010), Sabrina reveals to Jughead that she's a witch, which is made use of in a follow-up story.[5]


Issue #28 of Sabrina, as well as the Sonic Super Special Crossover Chaos, featured a crossover with Sonic the Hedgehog, in which Sonic was brought to Greendale from Mobius by one of Sabrina's enemies and subsequently brainwashed into attacking Sabrina herself. In this issue, it is mentioned that Salem is a fan of Sonic and has all of his comics and watches Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog.

Manga-inspired version

In 2004, beginning with issue #58 (in the second Sabrina the Teenage Witch comic book series), the comics were taken over by Tania del Rio with her manga-inspired art and design style. Concurrent with this, the comic ceased to be connected to either the live-action or animated Sabrina series. The comics were then released featuring new characters and a slightly more serious, continuity-heavy plot. The manga Sabrina story wrapped up at issue #100 in 2009,[6] albeit with a few unresolved subplots.

Issues #58-61 of the 'manga makeover' series were reprinted as Sabrina- The Magic Revisited.[7][8]

Issues #58-67 of the 'manga makeover' series were released as digitally as Sabrina Manga #1–10, then were reprinted as Sabrina the Teenage Witch: The Magic Within 1 in grayscale instead of full-color.[9][10][11]

Sabrina the Teenage Witch: The Magic Within 2 was reprinted in grayscale instead of full-color.[12][13]

Stories of Young Salem

A four-issue spin-off mini-series featuring Salem as a young boy (predating his attempts at conquest later in life and his transformation into a cat) was published in 2009. The miniseries was written by Ian Flynn and illustrated by Chad Thomas.[14] The mini-series continued directly on Sabrina's regular series beginning with issue #101, albeit with a different title known as The Magical Tales of Young Salem.[14] This was done as a method to cut newsstands costs.[15] The new series is partially based on a two-part story which occurred during the manga Sabrina series issues #93 and #94, which was a flashback about Salem's near-rise to power.[14] As of issue #104, the first The Magical Tales of Young Salem mini-series was concluded, but apparently the comic book series was subsequently suspended for internal reasons[15] with no further Young Salem stories announced.

Present status

As of 2013, the Sabrina the Teenage Witch comic series remains on hiatus, albeit the characters (based on their pre-manga designs) have been appearing in classical and generic new stories in other Archie publications, sometimes making appearances among the Riverdale gang whilst they remain oblivious to Sabrina's world and her magical powers. For example, Sabrina and Salem make a notable appearance in the 2012 Archie issue #636, where Salem, as a plot device, performs a twisted spell (much against Sabrina's desires) that gender-bends the entire town of Riverdale, and the characters did not even realize it.[16]


This is a list and description of the characters that appear in the Sabrina comic books. For information about the characters from the live-action TV sitcom, see List of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch characters.

Main characters

  • Sabrina Spellman: the lead character of the series. In the early comic series, Sabrina is a well-meaning girl, but she struggles with constant pressure to be "bad" from all the other witches around her, especially her aunts, as well as learning to master her powers. Later comics incarnations (and media spinoffs) present other witches, including her aunts, as largely "good," though Sabrina still struggles to fully master her powers.
  • Hilda Spellman: Sabrina's aunt. In the earlier comics, Hilda is portrayed dressed as and behaving in a more stereotypical witch manner, including being cranky, disliking mortals (particularly Harvey), and prone to using her powers for revenge or resolving petty disputes. The 1990s comics toned down Hilda's cranky behavior and modernized her clothing and physical appearance.
  • Zelda Spellman: Sabrina's aunt. In the earlier comics, Zelda (like Hilda) also was dressed in stereotypical witch's clothes, but unlike Hilda, was the more compassionate and kindly of the two. The 1990s comics modernized Zelda's clothing and physical appearance. In the earliest comics, she was supposed to find a husband within a year or else lose her powers.
  • Harvey Kinkle: Sabrina's boyfriend, a mortal who is unaware of Sabrina's being a witch. Harvey is presented as being sweet and loyal, but also accident-prone (similar to Archie).
  • Salem Saberhagen: the Spellmans' American shorthair cat. Salem was formerly a witch, who was turned into a cat as punishment by the Witches' Council for plotting to take over the world. Salem has the ability to talk and possesses a sarcastic and somewhat self-centered attitude. The name "Salem" refers to the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. Comics published before the late 1990s presented Salem as an ordinary orange-colored cat unable to talk. Since the late 1990s, Salem inherited the elements of his live-action sitcom counterpart, including the backstory of formerly being a witch, the ability to talk, and being colored black. Since the late 1990s, reprints of earlier Sabrina stories in Archie digests usually recolor Salem as black.

Other recurring characters

  • Witches' Council: A council of powerful witches that oversees the other witches.
  • Enchantra: The Queen of Witches, and head of the Witches' Council.[17]
  • Della, the Spellmans' head witch. A strict, short-tempered authority figure, Della does not approve of Sabrina using magic to help others. Della largely appears in the earlier comics.[18]
  • Ambrose: Sabrina's cousin, a witch. He had an acute sense of fashion and showmanship and, in the Filmation animated series, an effete voice and mannerisms. Ambrose doesn't appear in any of the later media spinoffs; his role in the comics since the 1990s has largely been replaced by Salem.[19]
  • Esmeralda: Sabrina's younger cousin from the comic book series who is also a witch, but has an obnoxious, bratty attitude. Her character is similar to Sabrina's young cousin Amanda from the live-action TV sitcom (who was played by actress Melissa Joan Hart's real-life younger sister, Emily Hart).[20]
  • Rosalind: Sabrina's arch-enemy in the original comic book stories from Archie's Mad House. She was constantly fighting with Sabrina over the same boys. In later stories, their adversarial relationship is dropped. Instead, Rosalind is depicted as a teenage witch and is much more friendly with Sabrina.[21]

Characters from the Gravestone Heights stories

A 1990s storyline saw Sabrina and her aunts relocate for a time to the town of "Gravestone Heights," which is populated by various monsters and creatures.[22]

  • Eye-da: A student from Riverdale High with one enormous eye where a head should be. She appeared at least twice in the late 1950s in Archie stories, usually as only an unexpected visual punchline at the end of a typical story featuring Betty and Veronica. However, she became a significant character many years later in one incarnation of Sabrina the Teenage Witch. When Sabrina and her aunts moved to Gravestone Heights, a city inhabited by witches, ghosts and monsters, Eye-da (who seemed less out of place there) became one of Sabrina’s best friends.
  • Cleara Glass: One of Sabrina's best friends in the Gravestone Heights series. Cleara is an invisible girl.
  • Milton: Sabrina's vampire boyfriend. In the original cast list of Gravestone Heights, Milton is listed as a friend of Sabrina's that is a mummy who is "all wrapped up in himself", while Sabrina's "very vein" vampire boyfriend is named Drac.
  • Ms. Reaper: A teacher at Gravestone Heights "whose tests are deadly".

Characters from the manga stories

  • Batty Bartholomew: Called "Batty", as a nickname because when his memory was originally erased he went kind of crazy. One of the original Four Blades leader. Was Sabrina's tutor and helped her become good again after using the dark side of her wand. Sabrina restored his memory. The "new Four Blades" have joined forces with the "old Four Blades" once Sabrina and the other "new Four Blades" realized the true intentions of the Four Blades movement.
  • Libby Chessler: A cheerleader, Sabrina's arch-enemy. Libby always is trying to steal Harvey from Sabrina. Libby was introduced in the live-action TV series and is similar to the original version of Rosalind from the comic book series. She was later integrated into the comic books.
  • Galiena: Wizardress, Czarina of Decree (i.e. chief enforcer) of the Magic Council. She was Sabrina's "boss" when Sabrina interned there for a summer.
  • LLandra da Silva: Another teenage witch and Sabrina's best friend. Also lives in the mortal realm, but goes to a different high school. Was, but is no longer, dating Shinji Yamagi.
  • Professor Lunata: A satyr who is one of the teachers at Charm School.
  • Narayan: A teenage merman and LLandra's current boyfriend. He was given the ability to walk on land by Sabrina. He joined the Four Blades after that to get closer to LLandra and also became friends with Sabrina and Shinji.
  • Amy Reinhardt: Amy is a popular girl at Sabrina's high school who often competes with Sabrina in various forms, but most notably for Harvey's attention. Amy appeared mostly in the comics in the 1990s and 2000s, though her character is similar to Libby from the live action TV series, and Katy from the 1996 TV movie.
  • Gwenevive Ricci: A mortal goth and wannabe witch who is a friend of Sabrina's.
  • Queen Seles: Elven sorceress and Queen of the Magic Council. After Seles was "rescued" by Nocturna and Salem, she went around the magic realm with a "family", but that never included Salem, Nocturna read his mind believing that he loved her, but she realized all his thoughts were of war and destruction. She tells Sabrina what the Four Blades really did, as well as her story of how she lost all her magic, and why the Mana Tree is dying.
  • Shinji Yamagi: A teenage witch whom Sabrina met while attending a spellcasting school. He tries to compete with Harvey for Sabrina's affections.

In other media

Filmation animated series

In 1970, CBS debuted a Filmation animated Sabrina, spun off from its popular Archie franchise. It included shorts with her Universal Horror-inspired cousins, the Groovie Goolies, and ran for four seasons, with the Goolies spinning off into their own series in 1971.[23]

Live-action TV movie

In 1996, the comic was adapted into a live-action made-for-TV film of the same name. In this version, Sabrina lives in Riverdale (fictional hometown of the Archie characters), rather than Greendale, as it was in the comic books. Her last name is Sawyer instead of Spellman, also it is said that both her parents are witches.[24]

Live-action sitcom

In September 1996, the live-action TV movie spawned the Sabrina, the Teenage Witch television series. Both the TV-movie and sitcom starred Melissa Joan Hart as Sabrina. The fictional home of the series was moved to Westbridge, Massachusetts.[25] Her last name was changed to Spellman, and her mother was stated as being mortal. The sitcom ran for seven seasons and included two television movies and one soundtrack release.[26]

Sabrina, the Animated Series

In 1999, Hart provided the voice of Sabrina's two aunts for Sabrina, the Animated Series. This series lasted one season and produced 65 episodes, the television/direct-to-video movie Sabrina: Friends Forever, and the continuation-spinoff series Sabrina's Secret Life.[27]

Sabrina: Secrets of a Teenage Witch

Main article: Sabrina: Secrets of a Teenage Witch

In 2011, Archie Comics announced plans to produce a new animated series based on Sabrina the Teenage Witch to be released in late 2012. The show will feature CGI animation that will be produced by MoonScoop, and a brand new look for the Sabrina characters.[28] As of October 2012, The Hub has picked up the series,[29] and they finally debuted it on air twelve months later.

Upcoming theatrical film

Sony Pictures announced in April 2012 that they would be producing a live-action film that will re-imagine Sabrina as a superhero. Until 2013, Paramount Pictures was originally planning to make the film. [30][31]

Paperback novels



External links

  • Official Archie Comics website
  • Toonopedia entry
  • Archie Universe

Template:Archie Comics titlesde:Sabrina – total verhext! la:Sabrina Saga Iuvenis

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