Perennial high school student Archie has spent decades trying to decide between Betty and Veronica. Some things never change in Riverdale. But some things do.
In a press release issued a few days ago, Archie Comics announced the introduction of the first openly gay character to join the student body of Riverdale High School. Archie, Betty, Veronica, Reggie, and Jughead are about to meet the new kid in town, Kevin Keller.
Jon Goldwater, CEO of Archie Comics put it this way, “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.”
The story line centers around the ever-popular and beautiful Veronica. Apparently the only one unaware of his sexual orientation, she sets her romantic sights on the handsome but unresponsive newcomer. Set for a September release, Kevin’s introduction comes in an issue titled, Veronica #202 “Isn’t it Bromatic?”
Watch this FeastofFun.com interview with Archie writer and artist Dan Parent:
Personally, I’m not a big comic book fan. I read some Archie comics as a kid, but haven’t given the gang much thought since then. Like I imagine is the case with a lot of folks, I was first inclined to wonder what all the fuss was about.
There are plenty of people like me who see sexual orientation as but one part of who we are as human beings. It does not define our character or say anything at all about the kind of people we are. People who are gay are interesting and dull, funny and sober, intelligent and ignorant, honest and dishonest, introverted and extroverted, kindhearted and mean-spirited… well, you get my point. As impossible to define as heterosexuals. Of course, not everyone agrees.
Take a spin around the blogosphere and you’ll find that even comic books are not immune to anti-gay sentiment. There is fear of “indoctrination” and the “liberal agenda” of trying to get us used to “gayness” and diversity when we’re young…
The word controversial is also being used, but I don’t see why it has to be. Kevin is just another kid at school, with his own unique attributes. The fact that he is gay really shouldn’t make much of a difference. Pick out any high school. There are gay kids attending, whether you know about them or not. They’ve always been with us and they always will be with us. Why shouldn’t they be able to pick up a comic book and see a character who just happens to be gay? Getting used to diversity is not a bad thing.
Real flesh and blood high school kids who happen to be gay are still having a hard time with acceptance in the year 2010. Witness high school girl Constance McMillen’s story. It began with her wanting to attend her high school prom and lead to death threats.
And Care2 writer Steve Williams’ own coming out story:
High school shouldn’t have to be that difficult. It’s only a comic book, but the in-crowd at Riverdale High will make sure that it’s not that difficult for Kevin.
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