The Usual Suspects #39
Welcome back for another edition of The Usual Suspects. This week I wanted to look at books related to The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Gearing up for season 2 which drops in 2 weeks on April 5th, I figured I would take a look at some key books related to little old Sabrina Spellman.
I’ll admit that I wasn’t a huge Sabrina the Teenage Witch fan when it was on. It just wasn’t my jam. I was more of a Clarissa Explains It All kinda guy.
That said, I will admit that I was intrigued when I first heard that Netflix was bringing Sabrina to Netflix. And that they were going to adapt the new darker version of the character. I had picked up a few issues of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina cheap because I liked the Robert Hack covers. So my interest in the series was piqued.
After I heard that they were adapting this run, I ran out and finished my run before prices jumped. So glad I did it then because some of these issue are just tough to find in the wild. At this point I hadn’t read the books yet, so I had no idea what to expect. I just knew that I liked the casting because I really enjoyed the bluntness that was little Sally Draper.
Fast forward a few months and I still hadn’t gotten to reading those books. It was October and Sabrina was dropping on Netflix annnnd I never got around to it. You know how life has a habit of getting in the way. So it got filed in the mental “to watch” folder along with Mr. Robot, Luke Cage Season 2, Iron Fist Season 2, and Legion Season 2. I’ll get around to it.
I have since caught up on just about everything on that list except Legion Season 2. You’re next, after Sabrina. That said, I didn’t actually get to Sabrina until this past week. So I’ve been binging the last few days so I can to watch the 1st season before I drop this article.
Not sure I’m gonna be able to swing it though. I still have two episodes left and I am, well, writing what you are reading. But we’ll see what happens.
But regardless of if I finish the last 2 episodes or not, I’ve seen enough to know I dig it. I like the characters, their interactions with each other, and their development. I really feel like I have a sense of their motivations and point of view pretty quickly without it just being based entirely on TV trope clichés. That said, I think my favorite secondary character may be Ambrose.
No, not that guy. The amusing one. Though an argument could be made that this guy is amusing as well…but no, this one.
I just find him entertaining; and outside of Sabrina’s Aunties, he’s one of the more interesting supporting characters on the show. Granted I haven’t finished yet, so unless he turns heel like the other Ambrose, I’m looking forward to seeing if he can get free of his house arrest for his plot against the Vatican.
Anyway, this isn’t all about my viewing of the 1st season of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. In fact, it’s not solely just about that series either. The character of Sabrina the Teenage Witch has been around for decades.
Since her 1st appearance in 1962 she’s appeared in Archie books, a few of her own titles, multiple animated series, and live action shows. I really didn’t realize how many iterations of Sabrina there have been over the years.
Even without really diving into those other iterations, I feel confident in saying that this darker take is more up my alley. I’m all for good fun, but I feel this show has a nice balance of high school drama and hijinks juxtaposed against some truly creepy and disturbing ideas.
I loved cheesy high school dramas like Dawson’s Creek and The O.C., but I never would have imagined Joey Potter pledging herself to the Dark Lord at a dark baptism, or teen orgies as the last wish of the soon to be feasted upon volunteer Summer Roberts, or Seth Cohen having a nightmare about losing the favor of the Devil because he fed him the wrong type of child. Who knew I was missing that type of show in my life?
And remember to keep an eye out next week as Archie Comics is bringing us a new Sabrina the Teenage Witch series. Lots of covers and most likely lots of copies. This book isn’t sneaking up on anyone. Lots of buzz on this book leading in as there was a store variant for the Hughes that sold out quick and has been selling for quite the premium. So much so that they did a B&W virgin version too.
Like I said, everyone knows about the Adam Hughes cover, but there will be plenty out there. I think my favorite is the Bewitched homage. Remember what that Die Kitty Die Bewitched homage did a while back?
But before we get to that, let’s take a trip back to Riverdale 1962 and see where it all started.
So with that said…let’s get into it.
1st appearance of Sabrina, the Teen-age Witch
So this is where it all begins for Sabrina the teenage witch. Who would have thought that this potential one-off side-story in an Archie funnybook would have grown into an arguably more popular character than Archie? I’m just saying, sure everyone knows Archie. However youngsters today may only know Archie as “One of” the many characters on Riverdale, whereas Sabrina is headlining her own series. I’m just gonna leave that idea there.
But regardless, this issue introduced us Sabrina the Teen-Age Witch. Her character is really feels like a product of her time. Lots of parallels with the 60’s and today’s climate, so the show fits right in as a half hybrid throwback and modern time show. It’s near timeless, or at least hard to nail down exactly when the show is taking place. Kind of like Gotham.
You aren’t seeing things like smart phones. The tv’s are the old bubble televisions. Bookstores still exist. It’s a world that isn’t defined by any specific timeframe. That’s the current show. The original comic however is straight up sixties.
Check out the mod style furniture and bob haircut. If you don’t know what a bob haircut is just check out Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias.
Yes, I like Steel magnolias. What of it? You have a problem with Steel Magnolias?
Active Listings: Only 4 copies available of this one on the market right now. All copies are graded. We have 2 copies at 5.0 with a CBCS asking $1,800 and a CGC looking for $1,200. Following those we have another battle of 4.5’s with a CGC looking for $1,111 while a PGX only wants $800.
Personally PGX would make me nervous for an older book like this as I have heard stories of them missing restoration. But to be fair I have also heard stories of resto being missed at other companies too. So be wary if you are buying to press and re-grade when dealing with older books like this.
Market Analysis: Overall sales are up on this book. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina was a hit for Netflix so it’s not a big surprise that books have jumped over the last year. And with Season 2 right around the corner, I don’t expect a drop anytime soon.
Netflix is bucking the trend of TV spec dying following release, as these Sabrina books may have slowed a touch, but many are still selling strong. Maybe not Umbrella Academy levels, but strong movement nonetheless. Besides, this 1st appearance is a classic key on its own, regardless of the current series. Last raw sale was for $1400 last month. You won’t find this one for cheap anymore.
1st solo series
Following regular appearances over the years in Archie’s TV Laugh Out, Sabrina finally received her own comic title in 1971. What I find interesting is that this followed her appearance on her own animated show. Yes Sabrina had an animated show in 1970.
Running near concurrently, Sabrina also received her own solo comic title as I mentioned. The title ran for 77 issues until 1983. Now I’m not the smartest man in the world, but this must mean this title did not have a regular publishing schedule because a monthly book that ran for 12 years should have had closer to 144 issues.
Now I could go on and on about the series but honestly I don’t know much about it except that it’s pretty much your standard misunderstanding hinjinks.
Bunch of stuff goes down including Sabrina bewitching Archie, Veronica not having it, Veronica getting obliviated, and some malts before our resolution.
Active Listings: Another one that only has about 4 copies available for this book. Top listing is a CGC 7.5 for $280. Following that books is a raw copy from MCS for $135. Then you have a pair of cheap reader listings with one raw advertised as VG for $45 + Canadian shipping costs, or a $25 reader that is missing a page.
Market Analysis: Not a whole lot of sales on this book with only a dozen total sales tracked by GoCollect. A CGC 9.8 of this book actually sold last month for a solid $2,200. But as there are no other 9.8’s and no other tracked sales of that book, there is nothing to compare it to. It’s got be cool to own the only CGC 9.8 copy though.
After that, prices bounce all around so there isn’t a solid market average you can hang your hat on with so few sales. So if you are looking, just make sure it’s a price you are comfortable paying before you close the deal.
Melissa Joan Hart partial photo cover.
Fast forward over 20 years and a new one shot comic debuted following the premiere of a new live action TV Show. So following her stint on Clarissa explains it all, Melissa Joan Hart got cast in this new TV movie about Sabrina the Teenage Witch that quickly evolved into a popular TV series that ran for 7 seasons until 2003.
My wife felt that it was important to note that we were also given Ryan Reynolds in probably his biggest role since that Canadian show Fifteen in the Sabrina TV Movie. Look at Deadpool in all his Zack Morris early 90’s awesomeness complete with left ear only earring. Remember when that was cool? Yeah me either. Sorry Harrison.
Anyway, this TV movie quickly became a series that eventually gave us Milo Ventimiglia with the same haircut but this time in a sheik black. I don’t think they were the same character but I can’t be sure.
As I noted before, I didn’t actually watch Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Apart from her role as Clarissa, I would tell you her next best role was in Drive me Crazy where she starred opposite Vinny Chase.
Active Listings: So we have half a dozen copies of this one shot partial photo cover on the market at the moment. The CGC 9.8 listed for $200 is obviously the top listing. And considering it is one of only 5 copies with no other sales, which seems like a reasonable starting point.
Too steep, then you can have any of the other raw copies that can be had from anywhere between $6 and $26. And most copies are listed as F condition if they say anything at all, high grade is probably tough on this book. I gotta imagine that most Sabrina collects from back in ’96 were bagging and boarding their copy for preservation purposes.
Market Analysis: Very, very little movement on this book. Only one tracked graded sale and that was a CGC 9.6 that sold for $69 way back in 2016. And there have only been 4 raw sales the last 3 months on eBay with sales between $1 and $12.
After another short layoff from the TV series that ended in 2003 as well as the 2nd animated series that ran concurrently from 1999 to 2000 for 65 episodes, we were reintroduced to a new and slightly different Sabrina Spellman.
But before we get to that new and darker take on Sabrina, I find it quite interesting that this animated series ran during the Live Action show run. And the voice of Sabrina was provided by Mellissa Joan Hart’s younger sister, Emily. And that MJH voiced Auntie Hilda on the animated show while she was still the live action Sabrina.
So by this time Archie was trying anything to drum up interest. So why not have Archie go with a dark take and turn Riverdale into a zombiefied version of itself. And with that reimagining came a much darker take on Sabrina. It was a natural extension of this darker universe. Why not, right?
Active Listings: Plenty of copies available on this one. Top listed is a PGX 9.9 up for $300 for the B cover. Those are followed by a raw copy of each cover that are each up for $250 apiece.
Anyway, once you breeze past another PGX 9.8 for $150, you can see that there are some CGC 9.8’s up for $130. Then you have some raw B covers up in the $50-60 range, or you could just scroll down to some sets of both covers that are up for only $20. Point being that there are affordable copies if you simply scroll a bit through the active listings. But buy what you want.
Market Analysis: As far s the actual market goes as it relates to sold copies, you can pretty much grab a raw of either cover for $10-$15. A couple Graded sales of CGC 9.8’s show the A sold for $110 last Fall , while a CGC 9.8 B cover sold for only $64 just a couple weeks ago.
This new version of the character was so popular that t went on to become its own series. This first issue had tons of variants. So many, that I can’t even list them all. There was a LCS version, where many comic shops had their own store logos inserted into the cover of the comic. For our purposes I will start with Cover A (shown above) & B which was a Rosemary’s Baby homage.
Then we had some of those LCS variants I mentioned.
Despite Midtown having a copy like those above, they also had a J Scott Campbell variant as well that is pretty popular.
Active Listings: A lot of covers means that there are a lot of copies available. Over 200 listings based on my search. Top asking price is $140 for a CGC 9.8 of JSC’s Midtown variant. But that isn’t by much as CGC 9.8’s of the other covers are also in the $116-$140 range.
The Halloween Comic fest and 2nd prints seem to have the highest asking prices in raw copies as they both share a similar skull cover that reuses Sabrina’s head that was peeking out the window of cover A. The Halloween Comic fest came out in Oct 2015.
Market Analysis: Okay so we have a lot of different covers that each command their own market. So check out the chart below for more details.
But a couple of highlights are that the recent auction sales are way down. CGC 9.8s selling for under $30. That’s pretty close to grading cost when you factor in shipping and insurance. The Midtown JCS seems to be the winner as far as prices go, but I still probably like the regular cover A best as far as cover art goes. Unless you count the 2nd print which I did not cover in full here.
This issue came later in the run and has become a bit tougher to track down than some of the earlier issues. The story focuses a bit on the cat, Salem, as evidenced by both covers. What I find slightly amusing is that on the original TV show, Salem was a witch who was turn into a cat as punishment for going all Pinky & the Brain.
But on the current Netflix show, that storyline was sort of given to Ambrose as he is under house arrest for plotting to blow up the Vatican. The current Salem, is a familiar, which is a supernatural entity in the shape of an animal employed as a witch's domestic companion. So this Salem doesn’t talk, like the 1996 version that was voiced by Nick Bakay.
So as I said, Salem’s back story and snark have seem to be given to Ambrose on the current series. And I for one, prefer that dynamic. It definitely helps maintain the darker atmosphere as it isn’t thrown off kilter by a wisecracking kitty.
Active Listings: Now these Chilling Adventure books with the multiple covers seem to sell a lot in sets. Whether it be full or partial runs of the 8 issue series, or simply cover sets of a given issue. Example, the top listing for this issue being a set of A & B for $37 plus shipping from Canada. So that’s in excess of $50.
Individual copies of this cover are listed as high as about $30 each. Even the cheapest listed copies are still $20 for the A and $15 for the B. hard to find later issues at work people.
Market Analysis: No graded sales and only 4 in the Census. Prices average in the $20-$25 range but the last 2 sales were bargains at $10.50 each.
Next up is another hard to find late issue in the Chilling adventures run. This one gives us our choice of an awesome B cover or a Robert Hack that features a James Brolin looking Mr. Spellman. You know, Thanos’ dad who rocked a pretty sweet beard back in Amityville Horror.
Granted I keep finding more covers than I know what to do with for these books. #7 for instance had another Hack cover that I did not cover price-wise because I didn’t see any sales. Truth be told I’m not 100% positive this is an actual cover, but it pretty cool and you really should pick up any copy regardless.
Active Listings: No graded copies so no graded listings. Maybe about a dozen listings at best that aren’t part of a larger lot. Top asking prices seem to be $30 for the B and A close behind at $27. The cover A seems more plentiful as you can grab a BIN for as low as $10, where the cheapest BIN B is $25.
Or you can try your hand at some auctions that are currently under $10.
Market Analysis: This is a consistent seller around $15 in both covers, but biding your time you could score either for $10 as shown by the most recent sales of each.
Finally, I present my favorite cover of the series, the Robert Hack A cover. This sells for quite the premium and it’s well-deserved in my opinion. The faux price tag is a nice touch, and that loose homage to Chamber of Chills is pretty cool.
I almost feel bad for the B cover being so outshined. It’s pretty nice, but it’s just not in the same league as the A cover. It would like comparing the talent of Joey Fatone to Justin Timberlake. Yeah there are in the same group, but on their own, one shines a bit brighter than the other, and that’s not so much a knock, but a testament to how good the other is.
Yeah I like J-Tim, what of it? You got a problem with that?
Active Listings: Okay this gem has a top listing of a CGC 9.8 at $300 or a raw for $60 in cover A. Whereas the rest of the raw cover A’s are $30 and up, the Cover B tops out at about $25 but can be had for double cover. Huge disparity as illustrated by the prices there is a clear winner.
Market Analysis: Only one CGC 9.8 in the census right now and that bad boy is on the market. Let’s see if it can move at $3 bills. Raw averages are at about $25 and rising for Cover A and only $10 and dropping for cover B.
Ok that’s it for this week. I realize I may have meandered a bit off topic, but that’s par for the course. That said I have a couple extra articles on tap the next couple weeks, starting with my 2nd edition of Wizard Rewind coming early next week. So…
Now it’s time for another double shot for Last Call.
One Shot – Covers A, B, & C
Well if you saw the season 2 trailer for Sabrina, then you probably saw the Werewolf. So naturally that has everyone expecting that we will see Jughead as a Werewolf, who first appeared as one in this one shot which had 3 covers.
Now chances are that this will just be a werewolf, and not specifically Jughead. Too many complications with Riverdale to do that direct crossover. But hey you never know.
Regardless, this is a pretty cool book so I would grab it if you haven’t already.
Typical Sales Data:
Raw A – $10.00 on 3/4/19
Raw B – $9.99 on 3/7/19
Raw C – $24.95 on 3/4/19
Stadium Comics Variant
Following the One Shot was the start of a current ongoing featuring Jughead as a werewolf.
This was a store variant from Stadium Comics. Typically I don’t buy into to store variants due to the sheer volume of options and the high buy ins. This however is an exception as it is a pretty sweet homage to Werewolf By Night #32, 1st Moon Knight as well as being the only store variant with 500 copies that costs only $13. I have no ties to Stadium Comics, I just think this is a good cover. IMO
Typical Sales Data:
CGC Census 9.4 – 1, 9.2 – 3, 8.0 – 1
CGC 9.2 – $50.00 on 3/7/19
Raw – $12.99 available from Stadium Comics
…That’s All Folks!!!