After his debut in “Veronica” No. 202 caused Archie Comics to do a second printing for the first time in its history, its first openly gay character is getting his own storyline this summer.
The character, Kevin Keller, has connected with the comic book publisher’s fans, said Dan Parent, who is writing and drawing the four-issue series that comes out in June.
There have been and are gay characters in other comics, but Keller’s role as a friend to Archie, Veronica and the others at Riverdale High is part of the company’s push to keep the story relevant and contemporary.
“I think as time marches on, gay characters in comics will become more commonplace and it won’t be a big media event every time a gay character is introduced,” Parent said.
In recent months, Archie Comics has published stories about Archie getting married and the death of teacher Geraldine Grundy, who succumbed to cancer.
“The world of Riverdale has to reflect contemporary culture and to show it is an accepting, diverse place,” Parent said.
“And that’s why Kevin is important, to show that everybody is welcome in this all-American town we’ve embraced for over 70 years.”
He said the series will focus on Kevin’s friendships, his strong bond with his father and his coming out to friends and family.
“We’ll see Kevin getting involved at Riverdale High, his ongoing friendship with Veronica and the rest of the gang, and more background on who Kevin is and how he came to be,” Parent said.
Part of that story will include a series of flashbacks on the teenaged Kevin’s childhood, including his experiences growing up as an Army brat, and the relationships within his family.