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Gay marriage comes to Archie's Riverdale
December 21st, 2011
03:00 PM ET

Wedding bells to ring for Archie Comics' gay character

By Stephanie Siek, CNN

(CNN) - One of Archie Comics' archetypal all-American teens is getting married – and it isn't to girl-next-door Betty Cooper or scheming sophisticate Veronica Lodge.

A year after introducing Riverdale’s first gay character, Kevin Keller, Archie Comics is showing his marriage to an African-American physical therapist named Clay Walker. The issue with their wedding, "Life with Archie #16," debuts at comic book stores January 4 and newsstands January 10.

It's part of a series that imagines the gang five or six years after graduation, with two alternate timelines - one in which Archie married Betty, another in which he married Veronica. Kevin's wedding appears as part of a story showing Archie and Betty's married life.

Kevin Keller is shown to have followed in his Army father's footsteps - in images released to CNN, readers learn that he served in the military and was injured while serving in Iraq. He meets Dr. Clay Walker while in a hospital’s rehabilitation unit.

Clay helps Kevin regain his ability to walk, and the two become friends. But it's not until a chance meeting in an airport that they start dating.

Archie Comics CEO Jonathan Goldwater said it's part of a concerted effort to make Archie's universe mirror the diversity and complexity that today's readers encounter in their lives. Archie's first comic book appearance was in 1941, and the core "gang" of Archie, Jughead, Betty and Veronica had, for the most part, changed only cosmetically.

"Riverdale, Archie and the gang are set in high school, and we ran a risk, unless we reflect what's going on with kids today in the real world, of becoming irrelevant," said Goldwater, the son of Archie creator John L. Goldwater.

Archie is far from the first comic book to introduce a gay character - gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender characters have played leading roles in superhero and alternative genres for two decades. The Comics Code Authority, an industry body, explicitly banned any mention of homosexuality in comics until 1989, although writers sometimes hinted at a character’s sexuality. LGBT readers often identified with superheroes’ double lives and feelings of being somehow different.

But Riverdale is still a pop culture symbol for all things wholesome, moderate and Midwestern, and Kevin Keller's success seem to indicate that readers think he fits right in.

Goldwater said the creation of Riverdale High's first gay student resulted in only seven canceled subscriptions, and "hundreds and hundreds" of new ones. Archie Comics sold out of Kevin's four-issue miniseries. Kevin is also getting his own title, published every other month, in February. Creator Dan Parent said dating will be a major part of his storyline - as it is in every Archie character’s narrative.

"And of course it won’t be as smooth as you think it will be, because it’s an Archie comic," Parent said. "The story really revolves more around Kevin preparing for the date, and the influence of the gang helping him in going on his date."

Part of the reason Kevin has proven so popular may be the fact that his sexuality is handled just like that of the heterosexual characters – as part of their storyline, not a gimmick.

"Sexuality is a trait that’s a facet of a character, but is not the single defining characteristic when the writer is doing a good job," said Bob Bretall, co-host of the Comic Book Page Podcast. "I applaud Archie for creating a character where being gay isn't a pejorative and showing that it's possible for the Riverdale characters to interact with Kevin as they would interact with any other person."

Matt Kane, the associate director of entertainment media at the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation , said he’s pleased with the way Kevin's life has been handled so far. He said it's important for teens to see a future in which loving relationships – be they same-sex or opposite-sex – can be recognized and celebrated.

"Riverdale is this picturesque vision of American life, and when you see yourself reflected in that, you have a role in even the most idealized version of the reality you live in," Kane said. "That’s the difference between feeling like a rejected outsider and feeling like you’re a part of something."

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Filed under: Pop culture • Race • Relationships • Sexual orientation • Who we are
soundoff (477 Responses)
  1. whyowhy

    I always thought Jughead was the gay one.
    On another note, I'm sure soon enough they will have issues that will cover the local pedo priest.

    January 16, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ocekit

    It's interesting how much the Bible and Archie Comics have in common. The Bible is a book of fiction, just as Archie Comics is. Both are collections of works done by various authors and both have had multiple reinterpretations and rewritings within their own respective canons.

    I haven't read an Archie Comic in a while, but I may check this one out.

    January 10, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  3. daniele

    The first Archie comic I ever read dealt with hit-and-run driving. They have always been contemporary and cutting edge, while still giving us great characters. I'm glad to see Mr. Weatherbee is still alive. ;)

    December 28, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. OS2Guy

    Couldn't be prouder of Archie Comics. As a gay man legally married to another man (who was straight before we met), Archie Comics is simply looking at society and keeping pace. My husband and I were married in 2004 and now seven years later we have a 4YO son. I'm French, my husband Irish, so the inter-racial marriage of Kevin and Clay is very appropriate. The Archie writers have created this character with great style and reality and the world, on the whole, should be very proud of the job Archie Comics has undertaken. We literally gave gift subscriptions to Archie Comics to our friends and neighbors and will continue to support Archie Comics.

    December 27, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aaron

      Congratulations man!!!! Its really great that you have a husband and god bless your kid- hoping for the best!

      January 10, 2012 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Arkinsawyer

      Mebbe your "huzbin" has heard tell of those two famous Irish gays that were married for 37 years. Their names were Patrick FitzGerald and Gerald FitzPatrick....it th' shoe(or whatever) FITZ.......

      January 13, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ListentowhatIsay

    With all of the **** going on in the world today, this isn't surprising. Its a bit sad though because archie used to be a good comic written by talented individuals. This latest project of theirs is just another unfortunate example of today's society giving in to the pressures of trying to conform with a "modern" and "enlightened" point of view. A society which is slowly degenerating into a selfish animal like existence which is devoid of any sense of shame. To all of you out there who still have a conscience, don't give in to the pressures of the evil that has permeated our world. Be grateful that you possess a wisdom which is worth more than gold.....

    December 27, 2011 at 5:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Heard wot u say

      Right on, Buddy. I agree 110%. God bless the good old (Normal) U.S.A.

      January 13, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Yepyep6598

    pop

    December 26, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. atcdude11

    how is thjis news?

    December 24, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. well...

    In the words of Margret Cho::
    "It's these christian groups that have LOST THEIR MINDS! Even satanists are saying 'Wow, you guys are being really mean.' Their always up to something. I'm like 'Aren't you supposed to be preparing for the rapture or something?' They have no right to call themselves Christians, because they have no Christianity to them. They have no kindness, no compassion, no charity. I want Jesus to come back and say 'THAT'S NOT WHAT I MEANT!'....They need to read the scripture in Matthew chapter 4 verse 17 it says 'Shut the fu*k up,'....That's King James Version. Because they get a riled up about how gays are going to get married and move into their neighborhood.......as if we would ever live in a trailer park."

    December 24, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yepyep6598

      You need to shut the F^^k up why are you Di*k sukking Mutha F**kkas Bootay hole punchers everybody doesnt accept ypur lifestyle. You cant force it on anybody and you get angry because that is their belief. Just like some people will never accept black as their equal and white liberals are guilty of this. as an african=american male SHUT THA F U K K UP.

      December 26, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
      • McRolly de Eyes

        point made. lol

        December 27, 2011 at 7:46 am | Report abuse |
      • Tom Nunnery

        Wow. How Cristian of you.

        December 27, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Myohmy

      What gets me is anytime there is a blogging of gays the gays get so defensive. Why? I can only agree with the guy with the language because he is sick and tired of the gays getting so defensive about someone else "free speech" What about the saying "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me" well go back and re-read what you gays have wrote and and you must like stones over words.

      December 28, 2011 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
      • Oz

        @myohmy – "free speech" is one thing. Denying a section of the community, basic human rights is something else completely, and if you're rights were restricted, I bet you would get defensive about it too!

        December 28, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  9. David

    What is not mentioned in the article is that many people would be, will be, more offended that it's an inter-racial marriage, tna a gay "marriage". And this comment is made by a gay man.

    December 23, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fairypixiedust8

      I was thinking the same thing. :)

      December 23, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. just me

    If you don't teach your children satan will.

    Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old, he will not depart from it.

    Deuteronomy 6:4-7 Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be upon thy heart; and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

    December 23, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fairypixiedust8

      Maybe you need to go back & re-read your Bible that you love to quote from. It also says "Judge not thy neighbor." & that HE made us in HIS image. There is nothing wrong with 2 adults who love one another. LOVE IS LOVE. God Bless you & may HE have mercy on you for when you come up for judgement in front of HIM.

      December 23, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
      • Wayne

        A-MEN!!!!!!!!!!!

        December 25, 2011 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
      • Yepyep6598

        @Fairypixiedust8
        You people, you F A G G O T S will take an excerpt from the bible quote it and dont know what it means because you dont study the bible, study that verse look at the context and research its history B U T T F U K K A.

        December 26, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
      • Yepyep6598

        @Pixieshyt so you are dismissing Adam and Eve?

        December 26, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
      • Rev. Right

        Sermon on the Mount:(not THAT "mount", either) Jesus said:"For this cause shall a MAN leave his FATHER and MOTHER and shall cleave unto his WIFE, and they twain shall be one flesh." What part of this do Bible-quoting Liberals have trouble understanding. Everything in this word-picture appears to be VERY traditional.

        January 13, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Candyman

      Deuteronomy also says you should: Stone women to death who lose their virginity outside wedlock, commit genocide against people who are in "your god given land", and no eating camel or rabbit... pretty rational arguments right? So get stoning and slaughtering people if that's your views, no picking and choosing quotes!

      January 7, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Mrs. Morals O' Majority

      Yep. We need a good case of good ol' fashioned MORALS here in the good ol' USA. " Spot on," as the Liberals love to say.

      January 13, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Marian

    I for one, am very proud of Archie Comics and the progress they have made over the years. I still have many of my comics from the 80's and 90's, which I will be passing down to my future daughter. I will be adding the Kevin Series as well in her library.

    December 23, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fairypixiedust8

      That is amazing that you kept your old comics & that you will be teaching your daughter love is love with the Kevin series. I wish you the best of luck with your future child & with ya'll's lives. Bless you.

      December 23, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bozo mann

    THis is nice. As long as the follow it up with the HIV issue and the anal cancer issue.

    December 23, 2011 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • James

      LMFAO hilarious, but you might be right

      December 23, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fairypixiedust8

      I hope you realize that ANYONE can contact HIV & that 3 out of 5 people that have the disease don't even know they have it. Furthermore, African American women have the highest rate of acquiring this disease. "No glove, no love."

      December 23, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ithaca

      bozo man. Hmm, you are aptly named, sir.

      Colon cancer can befall anyone. HIV is not a gay disease. This isn't the early 80s any longer.

      I

      December 24, 2011 at 4:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Lise Quinn

      Actually, they should do an issue on heart disease, it is the number one killer of humans, above and beyond any other disease.. and then next prejudice and willful ignorance, it seems to be on the rise everywhere.

      December 25, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  13. NOW CHILDREN LETS NOT GET YOURSELF IN A TIZZY

    GROW UP MORONS

    December 23, 2011 at 2:49 am | Report abuse |
  14. Jonathan

    When the gay lifestyle creeps into my entertainment, I do what every mature adult should do, turn the channel, get a different book (or comic in this case) or find a different game. Then, I make a mental note to never buy from that source again. Sure, its a small thing, but when enough people do it, it adds up.

    You ever been ignored by a large group of people? No? Well, its not pleasant.

    December 22, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • jena

      This is the appropriate response to something you don't like. But did you miss the bit in the article where they only had seven cancelled subscriptions and hundreds of new ones? Apparently they won't miss those who choose to ignore them.

      December 23, 2011 at 4:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Ric

      You, not supporting it , will not stop it..It's just not meant for you and that's fine..Just don't dictate to others or expect that everyone in the planet will follow suit...

      December 25, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lise Quinn

      Speaking from experience?

      December 25, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Phil

    Hey, I did 90 days in the Riverdale jail with Big Moose as a cellmate. Let me tell you, the gay agenda is nothing new in Riverdale.

    December 22, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • BIG MOOOOOSE

      OH, Fill, oops I mean Phil. Midge jus' cant do th' trick for me no more, Honey Bunches. .....Duh, duh. Y'know, ever since that week we spent ...well, y'know..duh..TWOgether...I been duh..drool.... thinkin' bout makin uh, duh....Home runAND uh touchdown AND uh tackle wit you...Duh...

      January 13, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • BIG MOOOOOSE

      Man I wuz jus' in the River Dale slammer for uh week. Duh. Who eltse you bben wit, Baby Cakes?

      January 13, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Xenos

    Archie comics is a filthy bed of liberal propaganda. Their acceptance of those people and promotion of them on their covers is disgusting. To think that these comics are trying to teach that accepting such people into our society is simply wrong. It is a sin against all goodness on this Earth. To think about those people being in relationships is simply disgusted. Where in the bible does it tell me to love and respect those around me? These Archie comics are a blasphemy. They are created by degenerates trying to push their agenda to accept their kind into our good and just society. I think society would be better off without these people. Such people are an abomination.

    When is America going to accept the plain fact,

    Gingers simply are not people!!!!!!!!!!!!! ; )

    December 22, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • rick

      Wow....what a rant. Now take your bible and a 5 gallon jug of KY jelly, and have a merry christmas

      December 22, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
      • MarkMcD

        I believe that rant was a joke, son. It was about Gingers. You know. Redheads. Like Archie

        December 22, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • Elfangel

        Rick, I think and hope you misunderstood a well done piece of satire. The last line is a give away. Gingers are what the British call red heads.

        December 22, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • greatwhitenorth!

      Wow, really? I hope your comment was suppose to come across as sarcastic. Its a friggin comic book !!!!!

      December 22, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christine

      I would rather accept them than a small minded, ignorant, delusional creature like yourself.

      December 22, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
      • James

        First it was a joke get over yourself...and if you want Gay rights dont resort to name calling when someone doesnt accept the Gay agenda theyre trying to shove down our throat (no pun intended lol)

        December 23, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • phenom

      Wow, three people respond and not ONE of them gets the joke?? LMAO–talk about "small minded"....

      December 23, 2011 at 6:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Fairypixiedust8

      LOL, I was super upset at first, until I saw the last line...lol. I love me some Gingers, they DO have a SOUL!!! LOL. My philosophy is, love everyone.

      December 23, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tigerbeer

      Brilliant!

      December 24, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ric

      This is a reflection of the real world that actually exists outside of your hateful little box. No "agenda" here..

      December 25, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  17. ProperVillain

    I always thought there was some undertones with Archie and Jughead. I guess I was wrong....

    December 22, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Sherrie

    Sick..guess this is the end of archie comics for my son..the world condones too much already and this is absolutely ridiculas and shameful

    December 22, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • miriah

      Perhaps you missed the empathy/tolerance teaching in your life, right around the time spelling was being addressed as well. Typical... bigotry and ignorance keep such close quarters.

      December 22, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • CHEEFSFURY

      THERE ALL READY IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOURE SON IF HE ENJOYS ARCHIE COMICS

      December 22, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • CHEEFSFURY

      THERE ALL READY IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOURE SON IF HE ENJOYS ARCHIE COMICS

      REPLYD TO THE RONG PERSON SORRY

      December 22, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • CHEEFSFURY

      THERE ALL READY IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOURE SON IF HE ENJOYS ARCHIE COMICS

      I FAIL AT INTERNTS TODAY

      December 22, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
      • greatwhitenorth!

        I think you failed more then internet class...I'm thinking you failed spelling and grammer also !

        December 22, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
      • Mariah

        @CHEERSFURY and you FAIL with your horrid caps lock SHOUTING habit. So nice to know that you think gays should stay in the closet, hide who they are, live lonely lives and not dare tell anybody, especially a person like you who would look down on them in total disgust because you truly believe they are subhuman and you are so lucky you got to be born hetero. Glad you dont get your way, now have a nice day!

        January 1, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      Sherrie: if we are not to condone it, what are we to do? lock them up? ban the comics?

      December 22, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      Sherrie,

      So don't tell your son that there should be equal rights for all. Maybe he'll decide that we should go back to the days when women couldn't vote. lol.

      December 22, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fairypixiedust8

      I'm going to assume that you're a religious person who believes in God/The Bible & that's why you think this is wrong. You may want to go & re-read The Bible, because I'm pretty sure it states..."Love thy neighbor." & "Judge not thy neighbor." Your way of thinking is only breeding hate, which I know HE is against whole heartedly.

      December 23, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
      • Yepyep6598

        @PixieShyt go study your bible you cant twist the word of God I can love my neighbor, but I dont have to accept his behavior if he is beating his, I can love my son but I dont have to accept his behavior if he is beating his girlfriend, loving someone has nothing to do with accepting thei immorality. Try again.

        December 26, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
      • Yepyep6598

        dog i mean

        December 26, 2011 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ric

      Your son is proabably more tolerant and educated than you are it sounds ..I work with young people and am seeing that the younger generation is not as hateful as their parents are..

      December 25, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
      • Yepyep6598

        @Ric wats hateful, I dont understand you people you act as if what you are doing is normal, you get angry when it goes against thei belief.

        December 26, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
      • Savior2000

        The problem is that Yepyep6598 has a child and will have more children. The last thing we American tax payers need are more poor and uneducated trash to promote The Bible. I mean really... a "man" who uses terms like" SHUT THA F U K K UP." to make a valid statement is quite sad. Seriously, he means business because he is getting into ALL CAPS, you know he really is intelligent. ***rolls eyes***

        December 27, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Pan3

    How wonderfull!

    December 22, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Agnes

    Since when has Archie been about "values"? Old-fashione? Maybe. Archie has always been a two timer with two chicks.

    December 22, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Loren

      Sorry, Agnes, but Archie was not a two-timer, but merely torn between two young ladies having different personalities. They knew about his dilemma, but still chose to be friends with him. Anyway, it's just a comic, an even dumber one now, but just a comic.

      December 22, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
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