Can a gay teen comically get in trouble with Mr. Weatherbee, humorously strive to win a burger eating contest, make horrible puns and have trouble deciding who to date? At Archie Comics, the answer is yes, as they have introduced their first openly gay character, Kevin Keller. In the words of Archie Co-CEO Jon Goldwater, “The introduction of Kevin is just about keeping the world of Archie Comics current and inclusive. Archie’s hometown of Riverdale has always been a safe world for everyone. It just makes sense to have an openly gay character in Archie comic books.”
Kevin will appear in September’s VERONICA #202, in a story called “Isn’t it Bromantic?” Kevin Keller is the new hunk in town and Veronica just has to have him. After Kevin defeats Jughead in a burger eating contest at Pop’s Chocklit Shoppe, she desperately latches onto him. Mayhem and hilarity ensue as Kevin desperately attempts to let Veronica down easy and her flirtations only become increasingly persistent.
The press release notes that “the introduction of Kevin as an openly gay character is part of the commitment to keep Archie properties reflective of the current world of teens and teen media.” which is, gven some of the other weird stuff we’ve heard from major comics companies, a pretty progressive attitude for comics.
Also, note that all the PR mentions that Kevin is Riverdale’s first “openly gay character,” so everyone who has been wondering about Jughead all these years…keep wondering.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.