Sabrina the Teenage Witch: The Magic Revisited

It’s about time! Archie finally got around to collecting the first four issues of this title’s revamp, Sabrina #58-61 (2004), as a digest. Although the content is strongly manga-influenced, it has little else in common with that format — this book is color, it’s only 112 pages (a little more than half the length of most manga), and it’s priced halfway between Tokyopop’s young readers price point ($6) and the “regular” manga cost of $9-11.

Sabrina the Teenage Witch: The Magic Revisited cover
Sabrina the Teenage Witch:
The Magic Revisited
Buy this book

In fact, what it resembles most is DC’s superhero digest format for young readers, and I find it interesting that this finally appeared after DC and Archie began cross-selling advertising.

I found it especially odd that the back cover feels the need to explain what manga is and that Sabrina got a makeover in her 42nd year. The text seems calculated to turn off the readers that would be most interested in this material. What does the new reader, attracted by the manga look and feel, care about how old the character is? In fact, isn’t there a risk of them being turned off by being reminded of how long the character had been around and that she needed to be freshened up? Won’t they dislike being talked down to about what manga is?

Poor packaging decisions aside, the character is very well-suited to the style, and Tania del Rio’s work has lots of energy. It also reduces well, along with the lettering, a major concern when comic book-sized work is reprinted in a smaller format. The bright candy colors have plenty of punch, and the lack of traditional gutters creates full, active layouts.

The plots involve Sabrina learning when to use and not use her magic, whether she’s trying to keep Shinji from blowing his cover in the mortal world or trying to balance conflicting responsibilities. There’s lots going on in the stories, with plenty of choices for Sabrina: romance with mortal Harvey or exotic wizard Shinji? studying in high school or learning spells at charm school? Then there’s the need to hide her abilities from rival Amy. The creator keeps things hopping, with new twists every few pages. The subplots and character bits make the book seem like a good value, and plot twists range from comedy to meaningful life lessons.

(A complimentary copy for this review was provided by the publisher.)


13 Responses to “Sabrina the Teenage Witch: The Magic Revisited”

  1. MangaBlog » Blog Archive » Listening for reindeer Says:

    […] Johanna has been busy lately. At Comics Worth Reading, she compares the three versions of Train Man and reviews vol. 1 of Emma, vols. 1 and 2 of Mushashi #9, vol. 1 of Penguin Revolution, vol. 8 of Gals!, vol. 1 of ES (Eternal Sabbath), and the trade paperback edition of the manga-fied Sabrina the Teenage Witch. […]

  2. Kiki Says:

    The back cover hasn’t turned off the girls here in the elementary library. As soon as the copy is checked back in, it goes out again. Granted, a couple have been repeat readers, but they seem to be enjoying Sabrina as is and not worrying about her history. Now if they’ll just collect the rest of the issues a little faster. :)

  3. Matthew Craig Says:

    Skinny, isn’t she.

    //\Oo/\\

  4. Journalista » Blog Archive » Dec. 26, 2006: Christmas in Dullsville Says:

    […] Johanna Draper Carlson looks at the long-overdue first volume of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, as re-interpreted by Tania Del Rio and inker Jim Amash. […]

  5. Jess Says:

    I love Sabrina the Teenage Witch. I watch the cartoon every Saturday morning on DIC. Check out http://www.secretslumberparty.com. It is sooooo cool!

  6. Abbie Says:

    I love Sabrina and i am trying to collect them all so i can be updated on everything going on! I watch Sabrina every time and opportunity that i have every day!

  7. Heroes Con 2007 First Day » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] had lots of kids come by her table, which she enjoyed. When I asked about her continuing plans for Sabrina the Teenage Witch, I was glad to find out that she’d charted her exciting story all the way to issue […]

  8. Mangaka America » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] del Rio (writer/artist of Sabrina the Teenage Witch) follows up along similar lines. The book was produced and edited by Steelriver Studio, who is del […]

  9. Special Online Offers » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] be selling signed and numbered limited editions, and they’re starting with 300 copies of the Sabrina the Teenage Witch collection. They’re available only through Archie’s online shop, and as a special […]

  10. normal reader who is mad Says:

    I read the latest sabrina in the manga art.
    I WAS VERY DISAPOINTED!
    The new art is terrible!!
    What was wrong with the original manga that they had to change it?
    Now it looks like a BAD 10 year old t.v show! Like that terrible “kapa mikey” t.v show my little brother watches!
    I am 14 and love the manga sabrina but this new sabrina is just disapointing, sad, and a waste of time and money!

  11. Johanna Says:

    I’m hoping it was just a one-issue fill-in, because I agree, it wasn’t as good as it usually is.

  12. Interview With Tania del Rio on Sabrina Plans, OEL Manga » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] asked Tania del Rio (Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Mangaka America) some questions recently about what she’s been […]

  13. Sabrina Manga Ends » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] capitalize on it sufficiently to capture a manga fan audience; they should have done more than just one slim reprint collection. They also never seemed quite comfortable with either the idea of manga or doing something so […]




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