Archie Comics Launches Comic Book Series Featuring Gay Character
September 23, 2011
Several comic series have recently begun including lesbian and gay characters, including the new Batwoman. But I have to say that my favorite new character is Kevin Keller in the Archie Comics. Kevin Keller, who first appeared in the Veronica series of Archie Comics in 2010, now has his own collection of four comics.
Army brat Kevin Keller is the first openly gay character to hit the franchise, and the opening comic of his series deals with issues regarding his sexual orientation. Kevin tells his new Riverdale friends the story of how he came out to his family, and a visiting childhood friend jokes about a crush she had on him before she knew he was gay.
The inclusion of a gay character in this rather traditional comic-book world was done fluidly and well. Kevin and his friends talk about being gay very naturally. The only time where the dialogue seemed stilted was an awkward moment where the writers appeared to be trying to address the recently repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy. Kevin’s father is a career military man, and while telling the story of coming out to this father, Kevin mentions that he has always wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and join the military. If the writers are referencing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, they never quite seem to get to the point.
Before reading Kevin Keller, I had expected the Archie writers to tackle the inclusion of a gay character in an awkward and unrealistic way—maybe because the Riverdale I read about as a child always seemed old-fashioned and silly. On the contrary, however, the Kevin Keller series more than does the franchise justice, by taking Archie Comics from a series that focuses on how many hamburgers Jughead can eat to one that can adeptly address contemporary social issues.