Gay ‘Archie’ Character Kevin Keller So Popular He’s Getting His Own Monthly Comic Book


The NYT reports that Archie Comics' gay character Kevin Keller, introduced in Issue 202 of 'Veronica' last September, is a hit and will be getting his own series:

Keller The series, titled Kevin Keller, will follow a four-issue mini-series starring Kevin that began in July and has started filling out his background, including his relationship with his father, who serves in the military and is supportive of his son’s desire to follow in his footsteps. Like those for the other Archie characters, Kevin’s series will deal with his life in high school. “He’s going to be the class president,” said Dan Parent, the writer-artist who created Kevin. But it won’t all be a good time. “Even the most popular kids are not popular with everybody,” Mr. Parent said. “There’s some adversity he’ll have to deal with.”

Now, if Archie Comics marketers were really clever they would produce an "It Gets Better" video to promote the new series.


  1. Paul R says

    An It Gets Better clip for what? Showing a cartoon character in high school who has a nearly idyllic life? Isn’t the point of It Gets Better to say, Look beyond your hellish junior high and/or high school? Wouldn’t showing a cartoon character defeat that purpose, not to mention be a bit insulting, if not absurd?

    “Look! On paper your life could be great! Just get other cartoon characters to like you and the real people will stop slamming you against lockers and calling you faggot!”

    Sorry, Andy, I don’t get your point. I’m glad this series is popular, but it seems based on fantasy for all too many kids. The only way I was able to stop torment was to fight back physically (which a lot of young gays can’t do), have a lot of female friends as cover (aka fag hags), and work hard so that I could skip grades to escape high school (an approach now frowned on by many counselors, the morons, and isn’t an option for many kids).

    The series is popular because it provides fantasy for troubled teens (and, likely, quite a few adults) who cannot create this scenario in real life. Cartoons aren’t life. LGBT teens can’t write the next panel.

  2. Fenrox says

    It gets better shouldn’t be used as gay advertizing. Also, Please don’t tell me this is how dumb history is going to think of gays in this era, as super normal soldiers fighting to be exactly the same…

  3. ohplease says

    Obviously, the Archie comics marketers are doing just fine on their own without the free (and bizarre) advice. Besides, this character isn’t waiting around for “it” to get theoretically and magically “better”. He’s making his own life better right now. Isn’t that an infinitely better message to LGBT kids, anyway?

    For that matter, why doesn’t this blog ever cover the Make It Better Project, the LGBT youth organization that empowers high school kids to take control of their own lives while they’re still in high school instead of waiting out any torture and torment?

    If anything, Kevin Keller would be doing a Make It Better video, as he’s not living the life of a passive, helpless, hopeless victim.

  4. Tone says

    I had such a crush on Reggie Mantle when I was ten, I wasn’t even sure why at that age, I just knew I wanted to “get with” someone like him.

    It is gratifying to see kids today having touch points in their cultural landscape that validate their emerging sexual identity. Most of us never had that. It can only get better with such positive examples as this.

  5. luminum says

    It’s important to balance depictions of real-world struggle and messages that your life won’t be an abysmal hell hole if you’re gay.

    I’m thrilled for youth materials like this or David Levithan’s “Boy Meets Boy”, which are happy to show gay teens living happy lives where their every waking moment isn’t rolled up in fear and torment.

    We should always shine a light on the harsh realities of life for contemporary gay youth, but we should be careful that shining the light on what’s happening to many gay teens now doesn’t become a diagnosis for what all gay teens WILL face tomorrow, the day after, or years from now.

  6. luminum says

    And by the way, my own experience being gay in high school was coming out and being confident, and chalk it up to progressiveness in the early 00’s, but no one messed with me. People who I barely even knew stuck up for me, my teammates all supported me, so did the faculty I knew. I was able to start a Gay Straight Alliance, which was approved by all but one student on student council of 25, with a good number of active members and a faculty liason…and I wasn’t even a popular kid in school!

    I’m not trying to push Paul R’s experience aside. It happened and it does happen. Things are still bad for gay teens, but not everywhere. My own experience isn’t unique or one in a million. Things have been getting better and are getting better. More gay teens have accepting parents (mine weren’t, but my gay peers’ parents were. Some even became crazy active in PFLAG.) Not all teens have to fight off bullies, hide in a gaggle of gal pals for cover, and punch the express ticket through high school. And from the way things look, eventually, fewer will have to.

    And that comes through our own advocacy, from showing the difficulties gay teens have to face, but it also comes through depictions like these, that show that gay teens can and do have happy lives with their families and friends. It dispels stereotypes, rumors, and misunderstandings for gay teens, their parents, their friends, and future parents and friends of gay teens.

  7. James says

    “Youth material”? Gee, I’d like to see the stats on who is actually buying this comic.Has anyone been into a comic store recently? Most comics are bought by males between the ages of 24 and 45.

  8. Chris in Kansas says

    James, that may be true, but the demographics for Archie skew much younger.

    I only wish they could find a better artist to represent Archie nowadays than Dan Parent. His stuff is really sloppy and ugly. If only Dan DeCarlo hadn’t passed away.

  9. Brian in Texas says

    The first issue of the Kevin Keller mini series was the first comic I ever purchased. I will continue to support it and am thrilled he is getting his own monthly book.

  10. says

    “Now, if Archie Comics marketers were really clever they would produce an “It Gets Better” video to promote the new series.”

    If they did that, they’d be dumb, not clever. Quiet as it’s kept, life is still a b*tch for most LGBT kids in this world, even in these oh-so-progressive United States. Urban, White, Blue State elitists have a lot of nerve peddling that “it gets better” sh*t to those of who aren’t urban or white or who live in the reddest of Red States. Towleroad, stop kissing up to Dan Savage!

    As to Archie art, I agree that Dan Parent’s work looks sloppy, and you know why? He tries to ape Dan DeCarlo too much. DeCarlo’s work was uninspired during his last years. The best Archie artists were Bob Montana (the strip creator) and his associate Harry Lucey. I wish they’d bring back that 1940s/50s style of drawing.

  11. Paul R says

    @Luminum: I entirely respect your views, and am glad for the generational change. (I’m 39, so ages away from you.) But things remain awful in a lot of places.

    That said, I’m glad you received such support. To be perfectly honest, not many people messed with me in late high school because I was fairly built and had a reputation as being bright. And I could kill with a withering (not bitchy) comment. Just saying that not all kids have such resources, and many live in awful places!

  12. Paul R says

    And racing through high school was among my better life decisions. It was dull. Junior high I’d like to cancel out entirely.

  13. Jon says

    It’s true that customers at comic shops are not kids, but Archie is the one U.S. comics company that still has wide distribution at grocery stores, pharmacies, and convenience stores. If “Kevin Keller” is distributed in the same venues, it could reach lots of kids.

  14. testintgon says

    how can these comics still exist? there are really enough people in the world that buy Archie comics that it is still profitable to print them? As soon as I was old enough to read I knew they were stupid

  15. Ted C. says

    Kevin’s getting his own title? Wow, that’s pretty impressive when you consider that Reggie, who has been in the comics forever, doesn’t have his own title.

    Kevin’s now up there with Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead.

  16. Travis says

    I’m anxiously waiting for the porn version of this to surface.

    & it will.

    I just wonder if the artist/s will make Kevin cut or uncut…