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Posted at 1:01 AM ET, 04/23/2010

'BETTY or VERONICA...or KEVIN?': First gay character enrolls at Archie's Riverdale [UPDATED]

By Michael Cavna

Note: This post was originally published Thurs., April 22 at 12:01 p.m.


The way Archie Comics artist-writer Dan Parent tells it, Riverdale High is getting ever more diverse.

Archie's already dating Valerie from Josie and the Pussycats. The House of Archie is discussing a "Jersey Shore" influence. And according to Parent, a new gay character will enroll at Riverdale later this year.

Suddenly the ol' "Betty or Veronica?" question just got potentially more interesting. (And a lot more like a story-line from, say, the '90s film "Clueless." Or an echo from Hooper's line in Kevin Smith's "Chasing Amy": "Archie and Jughead were lovers"; in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Smith cheekily speaks to this tonight at DC's Sixth & I Historic Synagogue.)

With some comics, this would qualify as non-news. But in the historically less-diverse world of Riverdale, in the longtime land of white-walled jalopies and conspicuously vanilla malt shops, this registers as notable.

"The introduction of Kevin is just about keeping the world of Archie Comics current and inclusive. 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," Archie Comics honcho Jon Goldwater said in announcing the news.

In a C2E2 interview (clip below) with Feast of Fun, Parent said that the comic is striving for more diversity and that the new character, Kevin Keller, reportedly will appear in Veronica Comics (#202) in September, in an issue titled "Isn't It Bromantic?" (To see character art of Kevin, you can check the blog "Robot 6.")

In the "Bromantic?" issue, "Everyone seems to know where Kevin is coming from except Veronica," Victor Gorelick, editor in chief of Archie Comics, tells Comic Riffs. "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."

Judging by Gorelick and Parent, there's nothing more to be read into that last statement. Sometimes a malted is just a malted.

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(images courtesy of Archie Comics)

Gorelick says none of the creative talent working on the Kevin story line is gay. He notes, though, that Parent has a daughter in high school and is able to draw -- literally -- from a range of experiences at her school.

That might explain why Riverdale High will also see an influx of 50.students this fall, according to Gorelick. "Another school will be shut because of budget cuts, and that closing will have a ripple effect," he tells 'Riffs.

As for those readers who are confused because they thought Archie was now married to Veronica -- or Betty -- Gorelick says that flash-forward arc from last year will transition into a monthly magazine: "Life With Archie: The Married Life."

Back in the Archie Comics and Veronica Comics stories, though, Archie is still single (he's just begun to call Pussycat Valerie his "Sugar, Sugar"); the "Betty or Veronica?" question rages on; and Jughead and Kevin will bond over banana splits.

As for whether any other Riverdale students will be gay, Parent says: "Traditional Riverdale characters won't be coming out."


By Michael Cavna  | April 23, 2010; 1:01 AM ET
Categories:  The Comic Book  | Tags:  Archie Comics, Comics, Dan Parent, Jon Goldwater, Kevin Keller, Victor Gorelick  
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Art imitating Life. It's about time!

Posted by: bobbarnes | April 22, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Archie is just like the Washington Post. They have become wonderfully "diverse" and politically-correct - but no one reads either any more.

Posted by: pgr88 | April 22, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Jughead should hook up with Kevin

Posted by: MarilynManson | April 22, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

The operative word here is "openly". Click on the link for an article from last August with a cartoon of Veronica, Archie, and Betty, three straws, and a malt. (This image will appear on a postage stamp in July.) Now notice that Betty, with hearts over her head, is clearly looking at Veronica and not at Archie.

Posted by: GordonCash | April 22, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

I think you're dreaming, GordonCash--Betty's eyes are clearly on Archie. Try Betty's pose yourself--you won't be looking in Veronica's direction, cute as she is.

Posted by: TM12 | April 22, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

yeah right, anything in the name of....whatchamacallit?..."diversity"

Posted by: eaglestrk01 | April 22, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

PGR88: So true, so true!

Posted by: pmendez | April 22, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

>> pgr88:

Now that you mention it, the new character IS a "burgeoning journalist"...


Posted by: Michael Cavna | April 22, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Did I miss something? Wasn't it recently breaking news (of a sort) that Archie and Veronica were a "couple", that they were going to get married, and that Betty was on the sidelines? Now he's dating Josie? Exclusively? Not dating Josie and Veronica and Betty? Anyone want to let me know what I missed? Or is this like an all-of-a-sudden change of story line as if nothing happened regarding the wedding?

Posted by: Dungarees | April 22, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

I loved this comic until I grew up and realized Betty Cooper is a doormat and should read a little Betty Freidan. And Veronica was not so bad.

Posted by: 411Tibby | April 22, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

more PC BS/

Posted by: pofinpa | April 22, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

C'mon, Archie Comics, let Jughead out of the closet, finally and let him find love with something besides cheeseburgers.

Posted by: elizestrada | April 22, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

The gay lobby at work trying to plug their agenda anywhere, what's next?, a gay Batman?, ridiculous.

Posted by: eaglestrk01 | April 22, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

@eaglestrk01, yep we're gunning for the paranoid, like you.

Posted by: bobbarnes | April 22, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Huh. All this time, my gaydar was way, way off. My money was on Dilton Doiley.

Because: "Dilton Doiley."

Posted by: gweldon | April 22, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

eaglestrk01, yes, the "gay lobby" has really been putting lots of effort into getting a gay character into Archie comics. They've had gay lobbyists stationed outside Archie headquarters in Riverdale around the clock, really filling the campaign coffers of the illustrators from both sides of the aisle. Between them and the malt-shop PACs, at least they're no longer in the pocket of Big Jalopy.

Posted by: justin_timberwolf | April 22, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

>> Dungarees:

I spoke with Archie Comics big-cheese Victor Gorelick today and he says Archie's "other life" will continue in a monthly magazine titled "Life With Archie: The Married Life."

As one colleague said: "Archie is even two-timing Archie Comics."


Posted by: cavnam | April 22, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

This is child abuse in its simplest form. Might as well hand the kids a Hustler magazine or whatever and quit playing around the bush.

Posted by: hueygunner69 | April 22, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Is there a future issue when the new guy contracts HIV and is refused medical treatment by the Socialist Obamacare System and is moved to the Death Panel wait list?

Posted by: ANTILIB | April 22, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

What? Dilton Doiley wasn't gay enough for everyone?

Posted by: invertedmordent | April 22, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Given the poor economic state of comic business in general, I wonder how Archie can manage to stay in circulation.

Posted by: moebius22 | April 22, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Who even reads this comic??! And, I'm sorry but adding gay characters just to appeal to the minority gay population (well, really trying to appeal to Hollywood which promotes the minority gay population) is just the politically correct thing to do. Not to mention, gross. No one wants to watch two gay guys in love. And most of the gay characters on tv are STRAIGHT actors. It's all a fake show.

Posted by: kaylancor | April 22, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

You guys who think Dilton is gay are nuts. Remember, Dilton is a freaking genius. The girls think he's so harmless they even let him hang out in the girls bathroom with them. Meanwhile, he's amassing an incredible collection of upskirt videos.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | April 22, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

They are really striving for "diversity" in this comic, which always represented the most "traditional" aspects of conservative Middle America. As evidence of this new push, just look at who it is that Archie has decided is hotter than either Betty or Veronica:

Posted by: seismic-2 | April 22, 2010 10:04 PM | Report abuse

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