A little more than a year after introducing the series’ first gay character, Archie Comics is celebrating its first same-sex wedding.
In Sept. 2010 the series introduced its first openly gay character, Kevin Keller, to much excitement (and some protest) in an issue of Veronica. Rather than make a big to-do about his sexuality, he rather matter-of-factly tells Jughead he’s not interested in Veronica because (sadly, for her) he’s gay.
Out now, Life With Archie No. 16 features Kevin Keller walking down the aisle, surrounded by friends and family, finally tying the knot. Keller met his now-husband Clay Walker, an African-American doctor, while injured as a soldier in Iraq.
Archie Comics has been making a valiant effort to keep with the times and stay relevant; the Life With Archie series features the whole gang in their ’20s, and features two timelines: one where Archie married Betty, and another in which he married Veronica. The wedding of Keller and Walker takes place during the Archie-Betty timeline.
The Keller storyline has particularly resonated with readers; the four-issue miniseries he headlined sold out in 2011, and he’s getting his own series in which he’ll become president of Riverdale High School in February, The Hollywood Reporter reports. The series also gained “hundreds of hundreds” of new subscribers after Keller’s introduction to the Riverdale world, Archie Comics CEO Johnathan Goldwater told CNN.
Keller has been treated like any other heterosexual character in the series, with ups and down in his dating life, a rich, detailed family life, and career aspirations—which has been praised by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and readers alike.
Bob Bretall, co-host of the Comic Book Page Podcast, told CNN, “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. 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.”
NewsFeed couldn’t agree more. Congratulations, Kevin and Clay!