Monday, April 4, 2011

Gay in Riverdale

Kevin Keller came out. Now he's stepping out.

The first gay Archie Comics character, Kevin debuted last year in Veronica No. 202. The issue was so popular the publisher produced a second printing for the first time ever.

I'm curious whether Kevin hit it off with the comic book's usual fans, or his addition brought in a new crop of gay followers, some old enough to remember when Jughead ate his first hamburger.

Archie Comics now intends to devote a four-issue miniseries to Kevin. It's due out in June. Pride month. Coincidence?

Dan Parent, who's writing and drawing the series, told The Associated Press, "We address his coming-out and, while the story may be somewhat serious in tone in places, it's still entertaining and funny, since those are always a staple of a good 'Archie' story."

Readers will learn about Kevin's growing up as an Army brat and the strong bond he has with his father. The series will also focus on his friendships at Riverdale High.

I didn't see the first issue, and while it sounds like the creators want to make Kevin distinctly unstereotypical, I wouldn't be surprised if he and Veronica raid every boutique in Riverdale together.

Parent said, "I think as time marches on, gay characters in comics will become more commonplace and it won't be a big media event every time a gay character is introduced."

Thanks to the addition of Kevin Keller, that day is closer. Good work, Archie Comics. I wish I could lift a milkshake to you at Pop Tate's Chocklit Shoppe.