Season of the Witch: Sabrina the Teenage Witch Doesn’t Exactly “Harm None”

I’ve mentioned several times on this blog that I’ve never been into Western comics the way I got into manga. However, that’s not exactly the truth. When I was younger I was obsessed with Archie Comics—my family had boxes and boxes of the series running from the publications from the 90s to the re-prints of the older comics from the 50s. Riverdale may have been home to one of the worst cases of boring love triangles in the existence of everything, but for some reason I was enthralled. These days, I’ve fallen out of love with them—I barely even cared when the powers that be produced the “Archie finally got his shit together and married your choice of Betty or Veronica” specials—but I’ll always have a special place in my heart for the spin-offs they created, especially Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

sabrina-the-teenage-witch-filmIn the main canon of the Archie-verse, Sabrina showed up to cast a spell trying to help, only to have it go weird and the characters had to deal with the outcome. However, mostly it seemed to me like she played a sort of Addams Family role, which is to say that as a teenage witch she is living in extraordinarily weird circumstances, but her magic powers end up seeming normal compared to all the drama everyone else gets wrapped up in. She is, somehow, the normal one in Riverdale. More recently, Archie Comics published a new Sabrina series (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina), but I’m much more interested in the 90s film simply called Sabrina the Teenage Witch. As the 90s was the era for the girl power boom, I thought it’d be interesting to see how being a witch played off of that, or even how the film could have given life to the 1996 television series of the same name (which, in full disclosure, I have never seen and have only read the spin-off books of). However, despite my initial excitement, I found that the movie, while having some good messages, ended up becoming a victim to its time, and that time’s sexism.

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Throwback Thursdays: Josie and the Pussycats

Greetings, friends! If you’re tuning in for a theatre column, I have bad news for you: as Fiyero explained last week, we’ve phased that one out as our writer base has changed. That doesn’t mean we won’t post about theatre anymore, it just means we won’t be doing it every week.

The bright side of that change, however, is that it’s being replaced with a cool new column: Throwback Thursdays! Starting today, we’ll be celebrating old-but-awesome media. And to kick it off today, I’m gonna tell you all about why you should love the Josie and the Pussycats movie—a.k.a. fictional semi-dystopian Spice World, a.k.a. the most formative film of my childhood years.

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It’s Been A Big Week


It’s been a big week for the LGBT community. There’s been some truly awful news, like the apparent hate crime killing of Mark Carson.

There’s also been some quite heartening news. A Federal Court decision took effect this past Thursday, May 16, making marriage equality the law of Brazil. Francois Hollande, the president of France, signed a marriage equality bill into law and France will have its first gay marriages on May 29. The state of Minnesota, for its part, also legalized marriage equality, with its governor signing the bill into law on Tuesday. These are big steps forward.

When compared with these things, what I’m about to tell you will seem trivial, but I’ve deemed it worth mentioning. On August 7, Archie Comics will feature its first homosexual kiss.

kevin_keller_archie_gay_kissIt’s reported that the openly gay character Kevin Keller, who first came out to Jughead, will share a kiss with his boyfriend Devon. While this is certainly not a first for comics at large, there is the sense that this will make a few waves.

When Kevin Keller was first introduced as a character in September 2010, Veronica #202 (his debut comic) was so wildly popular that Archie Comics issued its first reprint everTwo years later, Life with Archie #16 featured Kevin’s wedding to a gay black man whom he met while serving in Iraq (the wedding was something of a flash forward. As of his high school years, he is dating Devon). One Million Moms, an arm of the non-profit hate group called the American Family Association, organized a protest, calling on Toys R’ Us to remove the issue from its shelves. Toys R’ Us did not, and the wedding issue went on to be almost as popular as the issue in which Keller first appears.

veronica202_archie_kevin_keller_gayThe August 7 comic, which is already making big news all over the internet, is in fact,a jab at this protest. Dan Parent, the artist for Kevin Keller #10, in which the kiss will appear, has referred to the comic as a “playful poke” at One Million Moms, with the NY Daily News reporting:

Parent said he wrote the story after efforts to remove a comic magazine showing Keller getting married drew at [sic] complaints. One Million Moms, a project of The American Family Association, asked Toys R Us not to display “Life With Archie” No. 16 near its checkout aisles. Toys R Us did not, and the issue went on to sell out its print run.

What’s exciting to me about this is that it serves as a reminder that organizations like One Million Moms seem doomed to fail. You see, for all their petty successes, their high-profile campaigns against businesses who have the audacity to treat LGBT people like human beings deserving of representation always seem to blow up in their face. Take for example, their opposition to Gay Day, an event which dares to expose children to homosexual couples “holding hands, hugging and kissing.” Or, take their widely publicized efforts against JCPenney’s employment of Ellen DeGeneres and general use of LGBT persons in advertisement. This failed, resulting in highly visible and very successful gay and lesbian Mother’s Day and Father’s Day ads. OMM continued to fight this battle throughout the year, again failing each time. It’s a losing battle for them.

JCPenneyAd0512 (2)Having Archie Comics in the fight for the respect and dignity of LGBT persons is heartening, if only because it’s a popular comic-printing company, with a 74-year history as a cultural institution in the United States. It’s a small victory, at least. I think the last few years (and even the last week!) have shown that we are making genuine progress toward LGBT equality in this country and around the world. So, perhaps there’s time for a little celebration of achievement.

And a moment of silence for Mark Carson, too.

Robert Lacayo/Twitter

Robert Lacayo/Twitter


For more, please check out:

The Atlantic Wire | The Murder of Mark Carson: A Hate Crime Where It Wasn’t Expected
The New York TImes | Hollande Signs French Gay Marriage Law
Daily KOS | #14 – Brazil – Marriage Equality Nation Wide
Southern Poverty Law Center | Active Hate Groups
Hollywood Reporter | Archie Comics’ Gay Wedding Issue Sells Out Despite Protest
Gawker | JCPenney Responds to Homophobic Boycott Calls with Gay Father’s Day Ad
NY MAG| JCPenney Actually Benefits from One Million Moms’ Ire