The end of Archie: Iconic comic book character will die saving gay friend

After nearly 75 years with Veronica and Betty and Reggie and Jughead, Archie Andrews will die this week. And he will die saving his gay friend from an assassin’s bullet.Screen shot 2014-07-14 at 11.09.52 AM

Archie Comics officials announced in April that the “Life with Archie” series about the gang from Riverdale would end this year with Archie Andrews’ death. Archie Comics Publisher and CEO Jon Goldwater told AP Archie will die in Wednesday’s installment of “Life with Archie” and that he “dies heroically. He dies selflessly. He dies in the manner that epitomizes not only the best of Riverdale but the best of all of us. It’s what Archie has come to represent over the past almost 75 years.”

Kevin Keller, the first gay character in the Archie Comics world, was first introduced in 2010 in the Archies Comic spinoff “Veronica.” He appeared later in a solo title, and then in the “Life with Archie” series, Kevin Keller is a married military veteran and newly-elected senator who is pushing for more gun control in Riverdale after his husband is involved in a shooting. Goldwater wouldn’t say who it is that pulls the trigger and ends up shooting Archie, only that it is a stalker who wanted to take down Keller.

Goldwater said Archie will die in “Life with Archie” No. 26, and that issue No. 37 will jump forward a year to tell the story of the rest of the gang remembering Archie. Goldwater said that the comic’s authors “wanted to do something that was impactful that would rally resonate with the world and bring home how important Archie is to everyone. … Metaphorically, by saving Kevin, a new Riverdale is born.”

—  Tammye Nash

News: Archie Comics, Miners, Sarah Palin, Dinosaurs

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Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

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Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

Towleroad Interview: Archie Comics’ Dan Parent

A few months ago, Archie Comics writer and artist Dan Parent announced that the comic book publication giant will introduce it's first openly gay character in the pages of Veronica. Dan chatted with me about the character Kevin Keller, who will make his debut next month, and how he went about creating him.

Dp SP: What sparked the idea of introducing a gay character into the Archie Comics world?

DP: It all started in an editorial meeting.  I had an idea about Veronica going bonkers over a guy who was gay, and the powers that be liked it.  It coincided with our desire to expand diversity in Riverdale, so before long the idea became a reality.

SP: How did you come up with the final visual design of Kevin?

DP: Well, I tried to give him characteristics that some of the other guys didn't have, like wavy hair.  And there aren't many blonde guys in the group either. He's good looking, but has to be to catch veronica's eye. 

SP: How much did you think about stereotypes when creating Kevin?

DP: I was aware of them.  I didn't want him to be clichéd, but I also didn't want to run in the other direction either.  He's the boy next door. He's just gay.

SP: Were any gays or lesbians consulted during the creation of Kevin?

Yes, some gay friends of mine and Archie's were shown early versions of the story.

SP: What kind of feedback did they give?

DP: My gay friends liked where we were going with the story.  They felt that it was important to use the word "gay", and not skirt around the word.  Of course we used the word, thankfully, without hesitation.

Read the rest of the interview, AFTER THE JUMP.

Kk SP: How did the higher ups at Archie Comics react when they learned you wanted to introduce a gay character to the series?

DP: They were fully on board.  This couldn't have happened without them.

SP: Is there talk of giving Kevin a romantic interest?

DP: Right now, I'm still getting Kevin through the door in Riverdale!  He still has to start school and meet a lot more or our cast of characters.  And he does have friends from his hometown that may be brought in.

SP: You've said that you're trying to showcase the contemporary and diverse world of Archie. What other kinds of diverse people can we expect to see introduced in the pages of the comic book series in the future?

DP: Everybody.  Different nationalities, faiths. The door is open to everyone.

SP: Have you or anyone at Archie Comics received criticism since the news was released that a gay character would be introduced into the Archie Comics world?

DP: The response has been extremely positive.  For every negative comment, there are a hundred positive ones.  We seem to be in a much more accepting place in society, which is a step forward for every kid out there who may feel like an outsider.  There's a place for you in this world, including Riverdale!


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

Archie Comics Writer: Gay Character’s Sexuality Is A ‘Nonissue’

Back in April, Andy wrote about the impending introduction of Kevin Keller, the first openly gay character in the Archie comic book series. Keller pops up in the pages of “Veronica” next month in an issue titled “Isn’t It Bromantic?” 

VeronThe cover for the landmark issue is now available. There's also a lengthier explanation of Keller's character from writer and illustrator Dan Parent. Apparently, his sexuality will be no big deal to the other characters in the Archie world – as it shouldn't be. He tells the Colorado Springs Gazette:

"The introduction of the character also comes as Archie Comics has been working to bring more diversity to Riverdale."

"'We’re trying to show that Riverdale is contemporary, and that it is a diverse and accepting place,' Parent said. 'At some point, you have to address these subjects.'"

"To the kids at Riverdale High, Kevin’s sexual orientation is a nonissue, Parent said. 'Their reaction is very nonchalant.' It’s a reaction reflective of the real world, he believes. 'My daughter is that age, she’s 16. I see in her high school that there are a lot of openly gay kids. It’s not even like a big deal.'”

"One character who quickly becomes Kevin’s friend is Jughead, but that doesn’t say anything about Jughead’s sexual leanings, Parent said. Kevin and Jughead are fellow foodies."

"'The reason they’re friends is because Jughead is the character you would befriend first, because he’s so accepting of everyone.'"

But don't expect Keller to get involved in any hot action. Says Parent: “We don’t get into sexual situations with the straight characters, let alone the gay characters. It’s still a safe place for kids.”


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright