Just as Netflix's Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is set to return this Friday, the original over at Archie Comics is prepping for a return... but with a "darker, more dangerous edge."
Sabrina the Teenage Witch writer Kelly Thompson and artists Veronica and Andy Fish are returning April 1 with Sabrina: Something Wicked. The first volume left readers with some heady cliffhangers to address now, including her half-Wendigo classmate confronting her about her secrets, a classic Archie love triangle, and a potential love interest for Jessa.
"Sabrina saved the day - saved her friends, her family - the whole town of Greendale really, and she should be riding high," reads Archie's solicitations for the first issue. "But things are never quite that simple. She's trapped in a love triangle, she's having trouble balancing the mortal and witch parts of herself, oh yeah, and she's being blackmailed. As if all that wasn't enough, while trying to help Radka and Ren with their...supernatural problem, her aunts suddenly starting to look like people she can't trust. What's a teen witch to do?!"
Newsarama spoke with Thompson and the Fishes about their return for a second arc, how the title will piggyback off the first series, a new haunting mystery that surrounds Greendale, and the potential for more volumes following this five-issue limited series.
Newsarama: Kelly, Veronica, Andy, what made you decide you wanted to do another chapter for the title?
Kelly Thompson: We honestly had such a blast on the first one. Veronica and Andy Fish are incredible talents and I was so energized by the work they did for Sabrina. You can feel their enthusiasm for the world and characters in every stroke of the pen. It can be tough as a comic creator to find collaborators you fit with so instantly. They are a dream to work with – and Archie is terrific as well – doing the first book was honestly a delight all around.
Veronica Fish: When they invited us back we were excited to jump back in, Kelly writes so much fun material and she gives us so many opportunities to go crazy with visuals.
Andy Fish: We have a roof leak and high property taxes so - no, actually I read Sabrina as a kid because it had an occasional monster in it, and I was always disappointed that it wasn't a little scarier, the Sabrina Kelly wrote was exactly the version I was hoping for. Veronica and I had so much fun on the first one we didn't hesitate to accept when they offered us the sequel.
Nrama: What was it like jumping back into the project?
Thompson: My schedule has been pretty insane since the fall, so I’ve been in a little stressed, but jumping back into Sabrina was a treat - felt like coming home again to get to play with these characters and collaborators again.
Veronica Fish: It felt pretty natural to get the next chapter going.
Andy Fish: We came into this series right off Blackwood for Dark Horse which is another horror series, so having Sabrina sandwiched around that really kept us in a sort of perpetual Halloween.
Nrama: Kelly, what can you tease about this new chapter of Sabrina the Teenage Witch?
Thompson: I think you’ll see a lot of the characters and charm you might expect after our first volume, but delving a little deeper and with a darker more dangerous edge. At least one person has discovered Sabrina’s secret and that puts her at great risk. Add to that a series of supernatural murders plaguing Greendale, Sabrina’s exploration of the mysterious witch council, and a love triangle with no easy answers and Sabrina’s got even more on her plate than last time.
Nrama: Speaking of, the first volume ended on a pretty big cliffhanger with Radka telling Sabrina that she knows what she is - how will you continue this thread in the sequel?
Thompson: We lean right into that. Radka isn’t a character that makes a move until she’s ready. So when she tells you she knows what you are, it’s because she wants something and she’s using that information for leverage. Considering Radka is sometimes a Wendigo and not terribly pleased about it, it’s a good bet what she wants has something to do with that.
Nrama: Will we see more magical creatures at Sabrina’s school?
Thompson: Possibly! Greendale is definitely a weird town full of surprises. But to be honest, Sabrina’s got even bigger problems this time than evil teachers and sometimes monstrous students.
Nrama: The first volume played with a classic Archie Comics’ love triangle. How will we see this continue in the sequel?
Thompson: Sabrina’s love triangle problems have gotten even worse as well I’m afraid. But that’s bound to happen when you have two excellent options to choose from – and both Harvey and Ren are interesting and good men. It’s a good problem to have but a problem nonetheless!
Nrama: Veronica and Andy, did you have to come up with any new character designs for the sequel?
Veronica Fish: We have a new teacher and we get to see the Witches Council.
Andy Fish: We're getting a little more into the town of Greendale, we want to make it feel like a real place, we're treating that like a character.
Nrama: Any magical scenes you can tease?
Veronica Fish: We open with a really creepy noir scene that readers might be shocked by.
Andy Fish: After we read the script and were figuring out who was going to start what pages, I really wanted to pencil that opening scene, Veronica really brought the whole sequence to life with some amazing inking-- I love horror and I think it’s a perfect fit for Sabrina.
Nrama: What do you enjoy drawing more the supernatural or high school slice of life side of the story?
Veronica Fish: I honestly like both because I get to jump between the magic and getting to do everybody's expressions.
Andy Fish: Supernatural all the way, but those quiet moments really define Sabrina and her world, and Veronica's a wiz at capturing a moment.
Nrama: What do you enjoy most about working with Sabrina and her cast?
Thompson: Sabrina’s world is a fascinating one. I love blending supernatural and fantasy elements into a real and recognizable world - the same way I love blending horror and comedy. I think, if you mix those disparate ideas correctly it adds fantastic tension and stakes to both worlds - and Sabrina’s world and characters are literally the perfect canvas for that mix. Sabrina especially, with one foot in both worlds, is just the perfect character in so many ways.
Veronica Fish: I loved the Melissa Joan Hart Sabrina show as a pre teen, at the same time I was reading Mai the Psychic Girl and Sailor Moon and this is an opportunity to put all of those things together. I honestly love what Kelly is writing, getting to draw her script is just an absolute blast.
Andy Fish: I loved Sabrina on the Groovy Ghoulies on Saturday mornings and this version that Kelly has built combines all of what I like about the character, and most of all she feels real, and that makes it so much fun to work on.
Nrama: Was there anything on the bucket list you wanted to add to this story?
Thompson: Yeah. I really wanted to flesh out some of the world building…not just of Greendale but of Sabrina’s witch world, so expect to find a lot more of that in this volume. Also hoping to get a bit more of Jessa and her secret crush into this volume!
Veronica Fish: A nod to Archie's Madhouse, the comic where Sabrina began, might be cool
Andy Fish: It would be cool to design some uncles or classmates who visually look like Wolfie, Drac and Franky [from the Groovy Ghoulies]. I'm hoping we get the flashy version of Cousin Ambrose from the old comics too-- he was like the Liberace of the Witches Council.
Nrama: What are you most excited for fans to see with this volume?
Thompson: We’ve got something pretty cool called Savoir Faire that we’re cooking up that I think fans are going to dig.
Veronica Fish: Getting more into Greendale, like Andy said we're trying to make the setting a character. I love drawing her house, or her room or hideouts, etc. I even want to make the forest a bit more distinctive.
Andy Fish: We're designing a lot of cool places, like the headquarters for the Witches Council, some shops in town, things like that.
Nrama: Would you like to do more after this sequel?
Thompson: If this volume goes anything like the last one I know I will want more. Hopefully the fans and Veronica and Andy and Jack and everyone at Archie will agree!
Veronica Fish: If they would like us back we'd be happy to do it.
Andy Fish: Archie is a really great company, we not only love working with Kelly but with the editorial team too - so a big yes!