I’ve watched both seasons of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, starring Kiernan Shipka, but I’ve only recently come across the original comic book that served as inspiration for the show’s creepier premise.
I really enjoyed “Book One: The Crucible”, which is what I’ve read so far, but I did notice that there were considerable differences between the source material and the television show. Here are a few notable changes, and my thoughts.
1. Sabrina’s Parents
In the show, Sabrina is an orphan, both of her parents having died when she was an infant in a plane crash. In the comic, it’s a little more austere. Edward Spellman is a more shadowy figure in the comics, while he is still dead. At the beginning of the story, it is clear that Sabrina is going to be taken away from her parents, and Diana is forcibly institutionalized by Edward. She recovers her sanity later, but it doesn’t paint Edward in the good light we see in the show. He even refers to Diana as a “vessel,” as though she is merely intended to bear a child. Overall, we get the impression that Diana was a mark and Edward is not to be trusted.
2. Madam Satan
While Madam Satan in the comic does pose as a teacher to gain Sabrina’s trust, she isn’t there at the behest of the Dark Lord Satan. Iola, as she is named in the book, is Edward Spellman’s first love, whom he spurned to marry Diana. After he left her, she killed herself and was consigned to hell. She is accidentally raised from the pit at the beginning of the book by a set of familiar-looking witches from Riverdale, Betty and Veronica. Iola’s motivation for tormenting Sabrina is revenge, rather than Lilith, who merely does the will of her master.
3. Roz, Harvey & Friends
In the comic, Roz and Sabrina are not friends, but rivals, and Roz doesn’t have the sight. She’s just a one-dimensional mean girl. Theo Putnam is also absent. Sabrina doesn’t really have any other friends, except Harvey.
Harvey is very different from his television portrayal. While TV Harvey is a slim and boyishly handsome artist, comic Harvey is a muscly, gorgeous football player. Of course, the greatest difference between the two is that in the comic, Harvey dies by Madam Satan’s hand, or rather, lips. Unlike in the show, when Harvey’s brother dies and is resurrected with gruesome results, Harvey’s body is resurrected, but he’s not in it- Edward Spellman is.
4. The Church of Night
While the elders of the Church of Night do hold a trial for Sabrina regarding the Harvey incident, there is way less of a presence in the comic than in the television show. Nor does Sabrina attend the Academy of the Unseen Arts. There is no Father Blackwood, nor do the weird sisters make an appearance. A lot of elements of Father Blackwood’s character seem to have been drawn from the portrayal of Edward Spellman in the comic.
5. Time Period
The comic book is set firmly in the sixties, while the television show doesn’t seem to have a set time period. Like Riverdale, which comes from the same creators, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina doesn’t seem to have a firm foothold in time, but does definitely have a retro vibe.
6. Nicholas Scratch
While he appears as a main character in the show, Nick has no presence in the comic book. This is particularly big, because Nick is Sabrina’s main love interest in season 2, and probably the driving force behind some major plot action in season 3, when he’ll be rescued by Sabrina and Co.
I have yet to get my hands on further issues, but I will say that I have enjoyed the comic as much, if not more, than the show. If you’re a fan, I’d encourage you to read it.