Thursday, April 22, 2010

Archie Comics Enters the 90's, Gets First Gay Character

I've never been an avid Archie reader, but for a comic to have one of the longest publishing runs in the industry (since 1939) you've got to give some props to that kind of longevity. We all know that comic book characters are essentially static archetypes. Any kind of aging in comics always seems to be accelerated from 12 to 18 and profoundly slowed after that. I'm pretty sure that Lois Lane has been 29 for a good 20 years now.

So it's no surprise that Archie characters are slow to change. Archie will always be the bumbling adorkable he always is, Jughead will always be the side-kick comic relief, and Veronica will always be chasing the boys. So the thought of any kind of dramatic cultural shift happening in Archie is pretty far-fetched (they even tried to get Archie to FINALLY get married, but that ended up being a big publicity stunt dream sequence). So when I heard about Archie getting a gay character added to the cast, I was highly skeptical.

But low and behold, Kevin Keller, the only gay in the village (of Mamaroneck, where the series is set), is a reality. Kevin's entrance to the cast is pleasantly non-sensational. No surprise coming out scene, no tearful confession, no secret homo crushes. Kevin is simply new in town, and while not closeted doesn't wear his sexuality on his meticulously pressed sleeves. His good looks and dashing smile attract the attention of perpetually man-hungry Veronica. Kevin doesn't know how to mention his queerness, and is advised by the scheming Jughead to "let her down slowly," who secretly wants to humiliate Veronica in return for all the times she has refused his advances.

While perfectly harmless and a shade adorable, the storyline is just so Melrose Place circa 1992. I'll be waiting for the Archie pride issue where we'll hopefully get to meet Kevin and his boyfriend making out on the top of the Pride Parade Marshall's float. That'll be the day!

Catch previews of the issue after the jump:

3 betches:

Anonymous said...

Minor correction: Archie is set in Riverdale (the company that owns and publishes Archie and it's myriad titles is based in Mamaroneck).

It's nice to see Kevin befriend Jughead, who unofficially, filled the queer spot in Riverdale , what with this "blech to girls" attitude and his fashion choice; he wears a crown, for chrissakes!

Jason said...

Ah... see this is what happens when you skim wikipedia entries. haha!

I wanted to make a "the only gay in the village" joke so bad that I guess I had a momentary lapse!

Thanks for the correction!

Kuhnsy said...

When the news of the "Archie Wedding" dropped i read an article that said that a similar storyline had happened in the past. Evidently Archie's wedding dream stems from his memories of the publicity stunts he pulled in the '90's!

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