WARNING: This article contains spoilers for the FCBD 2018 issue of Riverdale by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Ross Maxwell, Will Ewing and Joe Eisma.
On the surface, Riverdale is a tale of young love, high school drama and tenuous parent-child relationships. Of course, scratch that veneer a bit and you learn it's also a tale of mystery, dark motivations and murder. Yes, it has Archie dating Veronica, Hiram Lodge coercing others into doing his bidding, and the intrepid Betty chasing the truth. But if you look closely, if you look deeper, beneath the drama and the blood, you can find a note of the supernatural.
It's never made explicit on the show, but there's enough to make you wonder. There was Cheryl Blossom dreaming of her zombified brother Jason, there are mentions of Greendale, home of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and there are repeat references to Lovecraftian mythology. With the dark horror overtone increasing throughout the series' second season, from the gruesome murders of the Black Hood to the dubious dealings of Hiram Lodge, many fans wonder if the show will ever embrace dark magic and go full-on mystical. Well, if the latest issue of the Riverdale comic book is an indicator, it just might.
This past Saturday saw the release of 2018's Free Comic Book Day issue of Riverdale, featuring tales cooked up by the series' showrunner, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. Told entirely from the point of view of Pop Tate, the beloved owner of Riverdale's famed Chock-lit Shoppe diner, the issue plunges the mythology of the CW series deeper into the supernatural.
The comic, which takes place in the same universe as the television series, sees Pop Tate tell an inquiring Betty spooky stories from the diner's past. He starts with the dark tale of a visit from Bonnie and Clyde, before diving into the waters of the urban legend of Sweetie, Riverdale's own Loch Ness monster. But it's the last (and longest) story that's most intriguing. In it, we learn that for a time, the diner's survival was threatened by stiff competition from another restaurant. And, unbeknownst to him, Pop Tate made a deal with a man who could only be described as the Devil -- a deal that would see the Chock'lit Shoppe thrive once more.
This man, who visits the diner annually, on the Winter Solstice, is clearly depicted with a reflection showing horns. What's more, he says he comes to town while on his way to Greendale, where he has business with a couple of women, a clear reference to Sabrina's aunts. The pair are part of a coven of witches that worship the Devilin Aguirre-Acasa's other Archie Comics series, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. While there is a Chilling Adventures of Sabrina live-action television series in the works over at Netflix, it has been repeatedly confirmed that it will not crossover with the CW's Riverdale. However, that doesn't mean that a different Sabrina doesn't exist in the Riverdale universe.
The Riverdale comic is an extension of the television series, which means that both the Devil and Sabrina's coven now factor into its mythology. Hopefully, their existence will not be confined to the comic book page. As the television series gears up for a third season and new mysteries to unravel, now would be the perfect time to go into uncharted, mystical territory.