Archie Comics Gets its First Openly Gay Character

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

There will soon be a new student at Riverdale High School to hang around with Archie, Veronica, Jughead and the gang. His name is Kevin Keller, and he's a homosexual -- the first openly gay character in the comic book's 69-year history.

Kevin will arrive when the new school term begins, in the September issue of "Veronica." The dark-haired beauty falls for him instantly. But she is stumped when Kevin doesn't succumb to her charms like every other boy. You can guess what happens next.

"They just like watching Veronica making a fool of herself, trying to get this guy to like her," said artist-writer Dan Parent said. "At the beginning of the book, Kevin tells Jughead first that he's gay. And Kevin feels kind of bad and wants to tell Veronica why he's not interested. But Jughead keeps saying, 'No, you should wait to tell her,' because he's enjoying watching Veronica's antics."



It's all in good fun. But Parent said they are serious about being diverse.

"In the last year or two, we've been introducing a lot of new characters: Diverse characters, characters with different ethnicities. With trying to be diverse, we wanted to have everybody at the table," Parent said. "We knew at some point we wanted to introduce a gay character, and when I came up with the story idea, we felt it worked in context with this story."

Archie Comics Co-CEO Jon Goldwater said most of the reaction since the news was made public has been positive. "Riverdale is a safe place for everybody. Everyone's welcome with Archie and the gang, and that's the message we're trying to send."