Someone in Riverdale is Gay (No, Not Jughead)
Archie and the gang are about to find out there's a gay student at Riverdale High School.
No, it's not Jughead. It's not Big Ethel or Dilton Doiley either.
Stop guessing. It's no one you've met before. His name is Kevin, and he'll be showing up in Veronica comics later this year as as the would-be object of her affection.
That's right. The seductive Miss Lodge is finally going to encounter a Riverdale boy she can't make weak at the knees.
Hilarity reportedly ensues.
"The introduction of Kevin is just about keeping the world of Archie Comics current and inclusive," Archie Comics CEO Jon Goldwater tells the Washington Post. "Archie's hometown of Riverdale has always been a safe world for everyone. It just makes sense to have an openly gay character in Archie comic books."
Goldwater's father, John L. Goldwater, founded MLJ Comics (later known as Archie Comics) with Maurice Coyne and Louis Silberkleit in 1939.
The elder Goldwater created the character of teenager Archie Andrews in 1941 -- inspired by the Andy Hardy character Mickey Rooney played in a series of movies.
Ironically, during the mid-1950s, Goldwater was a major industry force behind the comic book censorship guidelines known as the Comics Code Authority.
The code initially banned references to homosexuality. However, it was amended in 1989 to allow non-stereotypical depictions of gays and lesbians.
However, he's not the first gay character in mainstream comics. The Rawhide Kid rode out of the Old West (and the closet) in Marvel Comics in 2003.
The lesbian character Batwoman debuted in DC Comics in 2006. Her appearance was a bit of poetic justice for the gay community.
Batwoman (and her alter ego Kathy Kane) were originally introduced in comic books in 1956. She was created mostly as a love interest for Batman to disprove allegations that he and Robin were gay. The allegations were made in a general attack on comic books by Dr. Frederic Wertham in his 1954 book "Seduction of the Innocent."
Many other characters, mostly in the world of superheroes, have come out of the closet in recent years.
Still, a gay character in Archie Comics is nonetheless groundbreaking. The mere suggestions that there might be homosexuality in Riverdale was the stuff of comedy in director Kevin Smith's 1997 movie "Chasing Amy."
"Archie and the Riverdale gang were a pure and fun-loving bunch!" Jason Lee's character Banky rails indignantly to the idea that Archie and Jughead were lovers. "You can't find dysfunction in those comics because they were just flat-out wholesome!"
Times have changed in Riverdale. Archie has given up on Betty and Veronica and is currently dating Valerie Smith, the African-American member of Josie and the Pussycats.
Dan Parent, a writer and artist for Archie Comics for more than 20 years, says in an interview with the website feastoffun.com that nothing ever gets too risque in Archie Comics. Most of the readers are still between the ages of 8 and 12.
Washington Post reports the storyline featuring Kevin debuts in September in Veronica Comics No. 202 in a story titled "Isn't it Bromantic?"
"Everyone seems to know where Kevin is coming from except Veronica," Victor Gorelick, editor-in-chief of Archie Comics, tells the Post. "They don't tell Veronica. They let her stew in it for a while. But he hangs out with Jughead. They seem to have a connection as far as food goes."
And no, for the last time, Jughead is not gay.
"I think Jughead is more into food," Dan Parent says in the feastoffun.com interview. "He's straight. He's more interested in being with food."
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