May 13, 2010

Archie Comics Unveils Kevin Keller, Their First Ever "Openly Gay" Character

Okay, so from New Look Archie to Archie getting married to interracial dating to going back to Archie being married in two separate series to Stan Lee working for Archie, the family-friendly comic book company has been making waves not just across the comic book Web, but generally the entire entertainment field. Archie's status quo, of course, remains as static as ever it will, but these stories offer the illusion of change, and I never thought anything was wrong with an ongoing series staying static so long as the stories are well-crafted and entertaining, which I'll admit, most of these new Archies actually are.

So, anyway, the most attention-grabbing headline they've produced thus far is that in this fall's Veronica #602, Riverdale will get its first "openly gay" character, an Irish-American named Kevin Keller. Now, when I first heard this, my initial reaction was, "'Openly' gay? Does this mean one of them is currently gay?"

Now I could get into a whole discussion about which current member of the gang is a closet homosexual (not Jughead), but that'd be totally pointless, so I won't do it. Besides, my initial reaction is obviously not the intended initial reaction that Archie Comics hoped to elicit from its readers. Such a move is, at its most altruistic level, meant to spur debate, and at its most practical level, meant to increase sales.

Now, only time will tell if they'll succeed with the latter (I think they will, any losses they have due to offended people will be more than compensated by the people the media bring in).But as for the former, I thought maybe I'd look through Archie's Facebook and see what some of the people had to say.

I'm leaving these posts anonymous, of course, but hey, Facebook stuff is in the public domain!

"I wanna enjoy Archie and Not have 2 read about this Guy having tha HOTS for Jughead and see them Making out...GRROSS!"

Wow. Well, aside from the utterly random capitalization, the solicitation clearly states that it's Veronica who has a crush on Kevin, while Jughead stirs up trouble. Way to jump to conclusions, madame.

"Goodbye Archie that I grew up with. The first time Kevin is shown making out with anyone of the same sex in an Archie Comic..I will never pick up another Archie Comic again. PERIOD."

Uhhh... okay. It's fine. We won't miss you. I'm sure some segregationists and racists thought the same thing when Chuck was introduced, and look, Archie's doing fine.

"i dont care if hes gay i dont even buy that comic"

One wonders why he's at the Archie page at all...

"We're just people who accept that in this world, there are men and women, whites, blacks, latinos, Asian, and many other ethnic groups, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, or Atheists, or whatsoever,... and, yes, there are heterosexuals and homosexuals as well... Open your eyes and look at the world where you live in, it's a mosaic."

See the ones in red? Yeah, I really don't see them in Archie Comics. Oh sure, I think I've seen a random Latino or Asian now and then, but that's it. I don't really think Archie's painting an accurate picture so much as being PC, something people were doing, you know, 15 years ago.

"Archie's Girls Betty and Veronica #14, Veronica is seen taking a shower with her back to the reader. We can, as the reader, see a very obvious tan line of Archie's arm on her (what was then) naked body. That to me is far mor risque then a gay character, but I'm sure the majority of you who are against Kevin will disagree."

Well, first of all, here's the image in question.

Uh yeah, miss, if it's not that well known (and I haven't seen it, so I doubt it is), it didn't make any news, and since this is a really old comic, and I think it was pre-Code judging from the art, so it was just a completely innocent mistake. In fact, at the time, putting the tan lines in would have not only killed the effect, it would also have brought even more attention to Veronica's naked body.


Ah, I love the Internet. Specifically, I love Facebook and how its "like" option has made people concise with their opinions.

In addition, I also love how despite all its advantages, the Internet still can't convey sarcasm.

"Well I have nothing against gays...but well archie is a comic character read all over the world by childrens and teens also (not only adults)...Having gay charactars in adult based comics is OK but for children and teens its truly wrong. This will affect the mindset of the kids? Don't you agree?"

No, I really don't. Try living in a country where the leading comedian is a flamboyant crossdressing homosexual and lighten up.

"'there was gays back way years back but did we include them into harmless kid cartoons???!!'
Actually, yes, you did. Every time Bugs Bunny put on a dress or someone simpered around talking with a lisp or in a flamboyant way, it was a slam at gay people, consciously or not."


"Too bad you didn't get the message of Archie over all these years: that many people make up your town or neighborhood or school and instead of finding what's wrong with them, picking on them, or shunning them from ignorance of what they're like, you should find your commonalities and celebrate that we live in such a diverse nation."

I'm not sure I can really count it as diverse when the only black adult in town is the father of the only black teenage male in town, who is dating one of the only two black teenage girls in town, and the other teenage girl just happens to have been there before on a side property of the company. Archie is as diverse as Friends.

"I cant believe people think their children are so BRAINLESS that just by reading a comic book would turn them gay~Well in this case I dont want my son to watch CARS because he might decide to turn in to a CAR ,... oh no what an epidemic!! children turning into comic book charecters!!"

Worst. Analogy. Ever.

"I've been reading the Archie comic Books for 20 years now and I LOVE al of the characters in the books but they should NOT ADD a Gay character to it, that will DESTROY EVERYTHING :( then Archie and his friends will Think that's it's ok to kiss another guy and I don't want them to think that :("

Apparently, a good-natured (it says so) gay character isn't fine, but a sarcastic, lazy, tricky, woman-hating bum is.

"i've read archie since i was 7 but now i really have no interest in reading them anymore if they're going to pull all this new stuff and new characters. i agree with you, archie used to be a fun escape from the real world, now i cant even escape to my favorite comic book. its ridiculous. unlike most poeple, i dont approve of homosexuality, and i dont believe that everyone shoule be forced to read about it, especially not in a comic. at least on tv i can change the channel."

I don't even have any words for the ridiculousness of this one. This girl has issues. The same girl later wrote:

"what i understand is that some people believe its ok to be gay, but i dont agree with it, no matter what anyone says. homosexuality is everywhere and people all think its ok and should be widely accepted. well i for one dont accept it, i dont have to accept it, and i shouldnt be subjected to the matter everywhere i go! in the streets, in the schools, on the tv, in the magazines, now in my comic. i dont believe in homosexuality, its not right, we weren't made to be with a person of the same sex. it spreads diseases, maybe because god is trying to punish them for going against nature! ever think of that? i have every right to oppose this issue. i know i'll get backlash for my comments, but im speaking my mind as well. i dont agree with it."

Uh, your comic? The hell? And also... uh... straight sex spreads diseases too. In short, girl, you're an idiot.

"Exactly. I LOVE Archie Comics! When I was two my parents found me holding an Archie Comic and looking at the pictures. Ive always found Archie Comics to teach good morals. But this whole homo thing is something that should just be left in the real world. I wouldnt want my children reading that. I would rather tell them myselfs than them find out from a comic book. Im sorry. lol"
Uh, then why don't you not buy them the comic? But good luck keeping it away from them when they want to watch cable.

"Agreed Heather. I love Archie's, but just stick to what was working. We don't have to turn everything in this World into something politically correct, etc." 
I'm so glad that straight white Americans have the option to say such things. I too wish to say such things, because I'd love to read about nothing but straight white Americans.

"Why, I imagine there was probably similar outcry years earlier back in the 1960's when they introduced African-American characters to the mix, but now can you imagine a world WITHOUT Chuck, Nancy, and Valerie?"
Sadly, it would probably still be the same. Those three are relatively inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. How many Chuck stories come out a year?

 How in the world do people like this find ANYTHING on search engines?

"well Im betting they lose a bunch of readers."


With the media publicity they get, I'm betting the number they lose is a fraction of the number they'll get.

"It's a new era. Archie Comics have big adding green earth situations for some time now. Recycling, saving the planet, etc."

Uh, okay. What in the world does that have to do with anything? On a side note, does Archie still print on recycled paper? That'd be cool.

"It's about the publisher using gayism to market their poroduct, hang the morals. It's about the bottom line. What is really strange is that the 'heterophobics' (gays) haven't taken up arms against the publisher for using gayism to promote bigger profit margins. Now that is strange."

What in the blue hell is "gayism"???

archie was not to reflect the world its to escape the world and there are many gay comics that way gays can have comics but why make non gays who dont want to read about gays read about them and yes that very confusing srry lol"

There are "many" gay comics?  QUICK! Name five, off the top of your head!  QUICKLY!

"They want to force their agenda onto everyone else. And something as innocent as Archie Comics, has now become mainstream, pop culture, leftist bias liberal agenda pushing, magazine."

I'd love to see Archie put Obama into the comic, effectively introducing a fourth black character into this "leftist bias liberal" comic. OH WAIT, THEY ARE!

for all the people who say where beeing childish we pay hundreds of dollars buying and collecting comics and if we dont want to read about some gay dude life then what choses do we have but not to read and there are archie based comics for gays so why mess up the orginal"

I don't even... understand... what this guy is saying. But HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS? HOLY SHIT! Where do I sign up for my Archie trust fund?

"Dislike. wont read ever again!"

Look, "dislike" strikes again. Good job, Facebook. Good job.

"isn't Riverdale perpetually in the 1950s? so that means we've got a 'happy' character"

Hehe. I like this one.

No other character is openly straight. If Archie going gaga when Ronnie bares a skimpy bikini (which he has been shown to be doing), then I fear what will be used to show KK going gaga over who, Moose, Jughead, the B?"

No other character is openly straight?? What? And really? You couldn't spell out "Bee"?

You appear young in your picture and were probably instructed that gayism is supposed to be acceptable - all promoted by a louder than loud minority. OK, accept it, but no one HAS to. And I won't."

Is there even a point arguing with anyone who uses the term "gayism"?

WAY YO GO?!?!?! NO!!!!!! Do you people realize how many children read these? THOUSANDS! They'll walk into the store, ask their parents( and of course the cover wont reveal anything bad,) and their parents will agree, then the children's lives are corrupted! "

Oh, for the love of God, gay people don't corrupt children's lives; stupid intolerant bigots like you do.

And for my final one:

"Why is Archie Comics putting a faggot in their comics? I thought you guys were a step above the rest. Now you're no better than DC, Marvel, Image, or Dark Horse. You guys ought to be ashamed."

You mean the top four comics publishers in the game today? The most commercially and critically successful? Why, yes, of course, Archie should not try to achieve that. Not at all.

In short, folks, Facebook breeds idiots. A lot of idiots. There were some people there with sound arguments, but they were few and far between.

Before I finish, here's a picture of George Perez's rendition of Captain Hero, Pureheart the Powerful, Evilheart, Superteen, and Miss Vanity!

Is there anything this man can't draw?


RaceForTaste said...

I so agree with the dude in Chasing Amy that said that Archie was a closeted homosexual and was in love with Jughead ("He was the queen of king Archie's world")...LOL! And how he never picked between Betty and Veronica and how he always had "detention" with Mr. Weatherbee...LMAO! It pissed off poor Jason Lee so much!

Peachy said...

I'd like to know if there have been incidents of children turning into cars after watching Cars. That woman may be on to something.

Duy Tano said...

Now now, Peachy, don't be promoting carism.

Jay said...

Off the top of my head, the only mainstream gay comic in the market has been DC's Batwoman and Marvel's Rawhide Kid. I never read the latter, though.

There are several gay characters in comics, of course, but aside from Detective Comics with Batwoman, they've never gotten any attention.

I don't really like the act of introducing a gay character for the sake of being gay, but the fact is, without the proper backing, it'll always be seen as something that's off-limits and radical by the mainstream audience.

Jericho said...

Gayism. Ahh, watching new words being created is as beautiful as seeing new stars being born from the cosmic uterus known as the nebula.

Will the wonders of the Internet never cease?

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