Archie Comics Launches Its First Openly Gay Character!

Archie Comics, despite many attempts to modernize, has always seemed locked in a late forties/early fifties vision of teen life:  Hot rods, malt shoppes, and sock hops.  In the Seventies, they tried giving Archie longer hair and flares …  it didn’t last.   Other similar attempts in decades since have been equally misguided.

More on the latest changes after the jump.

However, the latest attempt isn’t just a surface change.  They’re introducing  Kevin Keller the strip’s first openly gay character.  (It’s funny how all the news stories emphasize first openly gay character.  Jughead, we’re looking at you!).   The character makes his first appearance in Veronica #202.

This comes on the heels of other social modernizations in the series, such as the first interracial relationship.  The publisher Jon Goldwater (son of company founder, John L. Goldwater) announced his reason for these types of changes last year:

One of the things that we immediately identified is that we had to make Archie culturally relevant … I sat down with all the writers, and all the creators, and all the artists, and said, ‘Look guys — you’re completely unshackled. Go do what you want to do. Make it as fun as it can be.’”

We feel that unshackling comedy writers is always a good thing.  But much of the appeal of Archie Comics has always been their timeless quality.  The sense that they exist in some nether world.  Not the present.  But not entirely the past either.   And so far attempts to go against this haven’t been widely embraced.  Of course, just because something hasn’t worked in the past doesn’t mean it won’t work now.

And, frankly, this hasn’t only gotten people talking about Archie again.  But it’s given us a hankering to read a new issue of the comic.  So pardon us while we jump in the hot rod, and zip over to the drug store to buy a copy.  If you want to see us later we’ll be at the malt shoppe reading it!

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