Publisher: Archie Comics (Archie Horror imprint)
Creator(s): Gray Morrow, Alex Toth, Frank Thorne, Marvin Channing, Vicente Alcazar, Dick Giordano, Howard Chaykin, Dan Decarlo, Jim Decarlo, Bill Yoshida, Frank Doyle, Jon D’Agostino, Stan Goldberg, Mario Acquaviva, Don Glut, Phil Seuling, Carole Seuling, Larry Hama, Rudy Lapick, Steve Skeates, Mark Skrenes, Ed Davis, T. Casey Brennan, Carlos Pino, Henry Scarpelli, Bruce Jones
Long before the recent revival of the “Archie Horror” imprint, the company’s first foray into the horror genre took the form of CHILLING ADVENTURES IN SORCERY, an anthology-style series which brought some of the most talented creators of the time together to weave some spine-tingling tales. As part of an initiative spearheaded by Archie Comics letterer Jack Morelli, the original issues from the 1970s are now being reprinted in collected editions, and this volume collects the first seven issues of the series.
Each issue is reproduced in black-and-white in its entirety, from the cover to the enjoyable prose pieces that crop up from time to time. It’s interesting to see the format evolve, with the first couple of issues being introduced by Sabrina herself and drawn in the established Archie Comics “house style”. However, from issue three onwards, the series underwent a dramatic shift in tone and style as the book moved over to the “Red Circle” imprint. This led to a noticeably more serious approach and a style reminiscent of Creepy or Eerie. And while, in my opinion at least, some of the charm may have been lost following this transition, there’s no denying that the quality of the stories improved at the same time.
Each story only clocks in at around five pages, and while the standard anthology caveat of “quality may vary” definitely applies, there are far more hits than misses across the course of this collection. Sure, there are some dated references along the way, but that’s to be expected when you’re dealing with stories from 40-odd years ago. For the most part these horror yarns have a real universal appeal, and while it may not have managed to hit the heights of some of the other horror anthologies of the day, there were definitely a ton of hidden gems tucked away within these pages.
At the end of the day, nostalgia fans and lovers of classic horror will definitely get a kick out of this, and while some of the stories are perhaps a little tame by today’s standards, there’s a real charm to the storytelling that ensures this is still a thoroughly enjoyable read. And if you’re looking to find out more about what is a frequently overlooked chapter in the history of this family friendly publisher, CHILLING ADVENTURES IN SORCERY will provide you with a fascinating snapshot of the long-forgotten horror roots of Archie Comics.