Jason Tseng

Archie Comics Gets First Gay Character

Filed By Jason Tseng | April 23, 2010 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: Archie comics, Jughead, Kevin Keller, stereotypes

I've never been an avid Archie reader, but for a comic to have one of the longest publishing runs in the industry (since 1939) you've got to give some props to that kind of longevity. We all know that comic book characters are essentially static archetypes. Any kind of aging in comics always seems to be accelerated from 12 to 18 and profoundly slowed after that. I'm pretty sure that Lois Lane has been 29 for a good 70 years now.

So it's no surprise that Archie characters are slow to change. Archie will always be the bumbling adorkable he always is, Jughead will always be the side-kick comic relief, and Veronica will always be chasing the boys. So the thought of any kind of dramatic cultural shift happening in Archie is pretty far-fetched (they even tried to get Archie to FINALLY get married, but that ended up being a big publicity stunt dream sequence). So when I heard about Archie getting a gay character added to the cast, I was highly skeptical.

But low and behold, Kevin Keller, the only gay in the village (of Mamaroneck, where the series is set), is a reality.

Catch previews of the issue after the jump:

Kevin's entrance to the cast is pleasantly non-sensational. No surprise coming out scene, no tearful confession, no secret homo crushes. Kevin is simply new in town, and while not closeted doesn't wear his sexuality on his meticulously pressed sleeves. His good looks and dashing smile attract the attention of perpetually man-hungry Veronica. Kevin doesn't know how to mention his queerness, and is advised by the scheming Jughead to "let her down slowly," who secretly wants to humiliate Veronica in return for all the times she has refused his advances.

While perfectly harmless and a shade adorable, the storyline is just so Melrose Place circa 1992. I'll be waiting for the Archie pride issue where we'll hopefully get to meet Kevin and his boyfriend making out on the top of the Pride Parade Marshall's float. That'll be the day!

(Crossposted at Scarlet Betch)

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The folks who produce this are all good people. Kevin may not be a regular character in the book, but I'd bet he'll show up more often than not. Just so every one knows.

Mamaroneck? Are you sure? I read a lot of Archie comics growing up and the town everyone lived in was always Riverdale.

you're right rebecca. Riverdale is where it's set, and Mamaroneck is where the publisher is based. Damn me and my overly speedy wiki-ing. I just really wanted to make an "only gay in the village" joke... :P

I'm curious - when did Jughead start making advances towards Veronica? To the best of my knowledge, he only kissed her once, as part of a school play. Besides, as I recall the comic, his intense loyalty to Archie wouldn't allow him to make advances to Veronica.

I think he was always my favourite, as the "nonconformist" of the group.

I'm glad the marriage turned out to be a dream...

Yours, dorkily.

I'm still waiting for Johnny Hart's "B.C." to have a gay character.

But then, I've always been a little weird...

B.C. is drawn by a right-wing Christian. Don't hold your breath.

Johnny Hart died years ago. Now it's in the hands of corporate America.

I'm coming out of the closet... as a former childhood Archie Comic addict. :)

I used to love these comics and must say it is great to see the creators branching out in terms of making the comic look more like modern society. Plus, the cartoon Kevin is kind of cute! But then again, I have a thing for Disney Princes... LOL

Now I have to shove my inner dork back in the closet and continue with my day.

I doubt he will make it to the newspaper strip, which is too bad; newspaper strips are notoriously more conservative than other parts of the same franchise (Spiderman's a good example).

For better or for worse had a gay character, and that got michelle malkin and the right all mad. And at least FBOFW was written by a single author, making it more edgy.