Tag Archives: gay comic characters

LGBTQ Review: Veronica #202 featuring Kevin Keller

10 Apr

Kevin's Debut Issue

Having posted about Archie Comics’ new gay character, Kevin Keller, I thought perhaps I should read the issue and see if it lived up to the hype. I got my hands on a copy of Kevin’s first appearance in Veronica #202 and was pleasantly surprised.

I was never much of an Archie fan, even in my 40-titles-a-month comic habit days. When I was young enough to be part of the target audience, the stories were too 50’s-ish and out-of-date. Frankly, I was surprised a couple of years ago when the comic blog I follow had an Archie Comics upcoming issues post, having thought the company was reduced to digest-sized supermarket reprints. Having not followed the characters in their updated (but familiar enough) issues, I can’t really put this story in context. (Johanna at Comics Worth Reading has a review that takes the continuity into consideration and finds the story a bit lacking from that perspective.)

What works well for me is that Kevin is just another teen in Riverdale. The story acknowledges that he’s new to town, gives him enough back-story to anchor the character (he’s a budding writer), and then shows him getting to know his new classmates. When Veronica and Jughead get into a typical squabble, wacky hijinks ensue. The central plot point is Veronica’s crush on the new kid and Jughead’s efforts to keep her from finding out that Kevin is gay.

The plot may be a bit thin, but it works as a kids-with-pretty-casual-problems kind of story. The great thing is that Kevin is so comfortable with himself – and so is everyone else. He is very matter-of-fact with Jughead and Betty about his sexual orientation and tries to be up-front with Veronica despite Jughead’s shallow ploys. It is this honesty that makes the story work for me. Kevin is just a new kid in town who happens to be gay. That fact allows for the somewhat goofy, very Archie plot to move forward, but not at the expense of Kevin as a potentially interesting character. This kind of light-hearted, easy-going approach to sexual orientation is exactly what kids need to see. It will be interesting to see how they build on this in Kevin’s own mini-series this summer.

I’m not going to start collecting Archie Comics as a result of this character or story, but they deserve great congratulations for creating a safe, happy space for LGBTQ kids who read their books.

(Bonus content: the inside back cover ad is for the American Library Association!)

Archie Takes Gay Character Seriously

29 Mar

Kevin Keller: Out in Riverdale

Regular readers of The Solipsistic Me will recall our posts about Kevin Keller, the first gay character published by Archie Comics. The company has just released a teaser of the first issue of Kevin’s own mini-series, due in June.

According to the publisher, these four issues will address important and relevant topics, including Kevin’s struggles with coming out to his parents and bullying. It’s impressive to see the commitment to making Kevin a real character in Archie’s world, not just a placeholder stereotype. As quoted in the New York Post, Archie co-CEO Jon Goldwater says, “This is the most important book this company has released in 70 years.”

We’ll see how the series shapes up this summer, but things look very promising for Kevin and for all the kids — regardless of their sexual orientation — who get to learn from his adventures in Riverdale.

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