After becoming a hit with readers in his debut, Archie’s first openly gay character Kevin Keller is receiving his own run in a four-issue miniseries this June. Creator Dan Parent introduced Kevin as a new student in Veronica #202, and his instant popularity with fans led to that sold-out comic becoming the first in the publisher’s history to go into a second printing, as well as earning a GLAAD Media Award nomination for Outstanding Comic Book this year.
While Kevin is the first openly gay character in over 70 years of Archie comics, little attention was paid to his orientation at Riverdale High. Rather, he’s welcomed into the Archie gang due to his pleasant and gregarious nature, instantly hitting it off with Veronica and Jughead and joining in on their hi-jinks.
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Regarding Kevin’s popularity with the characters and with readers, Parent explained, “I think Kevin’s appeal lies in the fact that he’s your all-American kid, the boy next door if you will. And the fact that he’s gay is important, but doesn’t make him much different from most American teenagers…. He comes out to the gang, and it’s no big deal, because the Archie gang is accepting and tolerant.”
Due to Kevin’s popularity with readers, Parent will also be bringing him back to Veronica’s storyline in issue #205, in addition to his own spin-off arc exploring Kevin’s youth, including coming out to his military parents and the struggles he faced in junior high with bullying. Veronica #205 is available now, and the Kevin Keller miniseries will launch in June.