Archie, Veronica and Betty have a new friend in Riverdale, Kevin Keller. This isn’t exactly news, the Archie comics have been adding lots new characters over the years. The difference this time around is that the blond, blue eyed ‘hunk’ is openly gay.
The story, “Isn’t it Bromantic”, introduces Kevin to the Riverdale kids and predictably, Veronica is on the prowl for some new blood – wait, weren’t Ronnie and Archie getting married this time last year? At any rate, she has her eyes set on the newcomer, and will do anything to snag him for herself. Unfortunately for her, Jughead is the first person Kevin confides in regarding his sexuality and he is more than willing to let Veronica make a fool of herself trying to get a guy that totally resistant to her charms, probably for the first time in her life.
Writer/artist Dan Parent came up with the concept when trying to figure out what type of guy Veronica couldn’t get:
“Veronica is always chasing guys and I thought what would be the one guy Veronica can’t get? A gay guy. The story just progressed from there. What we’re trying to do is show how accepting Riverdale is.”
I think this is great news. I know a lot of kids who’s first reading materials are comic books. Both Sprout and Elfkin love reading Archie comics, and they are at an age where attitudes about gay people are coming out in school. Not so long ago I had to stomp on Sprout’s notion that two guys kissing is “gross” and wrong. And considering the problems that gay kids have been having of late, being prevented from going to prom for example, it’s nice to see homosexuality being portrayed as normal to kids. Says Parent:
“My daughter has openly gay kids in her high school and it’s accepted,” Parent pointed out. “Obviously this isn’t the case everywhere in the country. There are struggles that gay people have. But gay kids in high schools isn’t the big deal it used to be, and we want to reflect the way being gay is accepted in today’s society.”
This really surprises me because I was always under the impression that Archie comics were pretty conservative. As a matter of fact I have an issue that comes out in favour prayer in school.
Kudos to Dan Parent and Archie Comics! You’ve done something really great for kids everywhere. You should be proud.
BTW, could you send a few copies of this issue to Itawamba County School District?