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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.”

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Comments

  1. Ah... Poor Kevin... "teh onlee gaaay in the village..."

    Posted by: jexer | Aug 22, 2010 3:26:11 PM


  2. So it's okay to have a gay chracter as long as he doesn't have any other gay men to interact with, befriend, or date? Talk about reinforcing the notion of LGBT people as sexual "others".

    I know the "Archie" staff are trying to help, but I don't find it useful to create gay characters who are asexual loners sporting frosted hair and plucked eyebrows. What are his storylines even going to revolve around - shopping with Veronica? Unrequited crushing on Archie? How depressing.

    Posted by: sheeple | Aug 22, 2010 4:35:03 PM


  3. That last comment about keeping the strip "safe for kids" doesn't make me hopeful about the realistic portrayal of an openly Gay student at Riverdale High. Sterile tokenism never did much to raise a minority group's profile, much less promote understanding.

    Posted by: Stuffed Animal | Aug 22, 2010 5:02:02 PM


  4. the only affection shown in these comics are hugs, kisses and hand holding. So I think its safe to say that he'll get a love interest within a year. Although unless he gets his own series, it won't be to the forefront since this comic is about how Veronica interacts with characters and situations and how she's affected.

    As for him shopping, thats pretty much the shallowness of the situations in these series. Maybe an ice cream bandit who dunnit mystery case at some point.

    Posted by: B | Aug 22, 2010 5:36:51 PM


  5. I don't get why are people so down with the introduction of a gay character just because the publishers aren't currently planning on dealing with a romance for him. The core idea of the comic revolves around the love triangle between Archie, Veronica and Betty. The supporting characters' lives aren't really dwelled upon, I believe, and this has gone on for over 30 years. And so why should this new character get special treatment? The very idea that a gay character has been introduced represents a huge step towards acceptance and that is called inclusion. Let's just be happy to be represented.

    Posted by: Tom | Aug 22, 2010 7:08:26 PM


  6. I always thought Jughead was gay.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Aug 22, 2010 9:05:56 PM


  7. >I always thought Jughead was gay.
    >Posted by: David Ehrenstein

    ^^Dumbass^^

    Posted by: GrabbinNewscum | Aug 22, 2010 9:37:08 PM


  8. The comments priunted here say nothing that warants the knee-kerk disillusionment posted here. As B posted, none of the characters engage in "hot action" (which is the behavior in question). We don't know yet if his character will eventually develop the low-grade vanilla interactions in which the other secondary and tertiary characters engage.

    @GrabbinNewscum: Actually, Jughead's lack of interest in girls has for years been a subject of speculation and joking in the comics community. It must be hard not to choke on your own toxicity.

    Posted by: BCLance | Aug 22, 2010 10:17:26 PM


  9. Nobody's talking about "hot action". I am talking about the implausibility that the gay character will be featured in any meaningfully "gay" scenarios (dating, flirting, "testing the waters" with straight classmates).

    Posted by: sheeple | Aug 23, 2010 12:18:06 AM


  10. "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."

    Suddenly this has become "Chasing Amy, Part Deux". (I loved that movie, by the way. LOL)

    Posted by: Stephen | Aug 23, 2010 1:00:11 AM


  11. Dan Parent spoke on the Gays In Comics (Year 23) Panel at Comic-Con this summer, and he was pretty cool!

    Archie Comics, while geared toward kids, is pretty progressive. Achie's girlfriend (Valerie Smith from Josie & The Pussycats) is black, but they didn't give him a "black girlfriend" out of nowhere. It happened organically as Archie/Josie storylines played out.

    Kevin is a supporting character like many in the comic, so while I don't see him getting a storyline that didn't have to do with one of the main characters, I could foresee Parent including him in the background holding hands with another guy or at a diner or the prom because that is something we would see similarly with other background characters. (Parent did seem very aware and willing to portray diversity in Riverdale.)

    It's more likely in the world of Archie Comics that Kevin would just show up with a date/boyfriend just like anyone else, rather than having a whole story about him dating a guy.

    Posted by: Aman Chaudhary | Aug 24, 2010 2:07:44 PM


  12. smells like a publicity stunt to gain more attention to a dying comics line. whats next? a gay wedding between Jughead.


    I can see the headlines now...

    Posted by: that guy | Aug 28, 2010 5:29:50 PM


  13. Does anyone else find it ironic that the gay male character is introduced by seeing how much meat he could eat? I wonder if that was done on purpose (funny if it was) or by accident (lack of judgement and not funny.)

    Posted by: colossus | Sep 1, 2010 12:02:28 AM


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