Friday, July 30, 2004

Sabrina's Manga Makeover

I've never had any interest in Archie's Sabrina comic. While similar in style of story telling to the other books by the company. Its rather simplistic focus on more fantasy elements didn't hold my interest.

Yes Archie, Betty, and Veronica stories can be simplistic at times, yet at their heart they are teen drama stories that I could understand and relate to. Sabrina's life just seemed too weird for me to have that same level of connection, given that on any page any type of magical solution could be just whipped up.

So when I heard the series was getting a manga makeover, I shrugged even given my love of those type of comics. Because I'd seen what American comic companies like DC and Marvel thought manga meant -- big eyes, spiked hair, and panty shots--- and thought that was silly.

Yet when I saw the first issue I decided to give it a try just for the heck of it. I'm really glad I did too!

One of the things that made the series bland to me was that its art style was the Archie house style, with closed panels and a typical figure work that just seemed dull. The manga style Tania Del Rio brings, provides such a fresh, more open style that sets it apart and brings the magical stuff to life in a way not seen before.

The writing seems much sharper as well, Sabrina and her world seems more well rounded and the love triangle established in the first issue already has my interest as much as the Archie/Betty/Veronica one ever did.

I'm not sure what to make of the night charm school stuff yet though, as it at times strikes me as being too much in the vein of Harry Potter. I guess by the basic concept that the similarities are unavoidable, yet I wonder if there aren't ways to cut those down as much as possible. Though given its popularity, such similarities might be something to purposefully strive for.

One of the big changes, is that for the most part Archie's series of comics are more like their comic strip cousins in being short self contained stories. Yet here the stories are all issue length, and has some plotline carryover from issue to issue.

Will this take be popular, and perhaps change things for the other Archie books? Only time will tell, but I do know that I am enjoying it so far.

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