Archie Comics is introducing its first gay character later this year, in Veronica #202, one Kevin Keller.
In a move that I have to say I thought must have happened some time over the last twenty years but apparantly not.
The first appearance of the character also plays up on the decades of rumours regarding Jughead, famously averse to the ladies. Not only is Jughead the first person in Riverdale that Kevin tells that he's gay, Jughead doesn't bat an eyelid, he just sees mischief to be played with Veronica. And Jughead and Kevin then spend most of the issue hanging out together. Here's the big reveal;
A lack of gay characters in the Archie world in the past has certainly made a plethora of jokes over the age, mostly involving Betty and Veronica ditching Archie and going off with each other. And a desolate Archie been consoled, and possibly rimmed, by Jughead.
And it wasn't that long ago that Archie threatened to sue comic book writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa for putting on a play, Archie's Weird Fantasy, thatexplored, amongst thoer things, Archie sexuality.
And it's hard not to recall this dialogue from Chasing Amy;
INT BAR - NIGHT Holden, Banky, Alyssa and Hooper sir around a table drinking, talking, and smoking. BANKY Archie, alright! Archie and the Riverdale gang were a pure and fun- lovin bunch. You can't find dysfunction in those comics, because they were just flat out wholesome. HOOPER Archie and Jughead were lovers. (sips his drink) BANKY Shut the fuck up. HOOPER It's true. Archie was the bitch and Jughead was the butch - that's why Jughead wears that crown-looking hat all the time: he the king, of queen Archie's world. BANKY Man, I feel a hate-crime coming on HOLDEN He's got a point. Archie never did settle on Betty or Veronica. BANKY Because he wanted them both at the same time, you assholes! He never chose one because he was trying to get both of them into a three-way! ... Alyssa exits to the night. Holden stares after her. Two beats later, Hooper and Banky enter, holding an 'Everything's Archie' comic between them. BANKY You're insane. Archie is not fucking Mister Weatherbee! HOOPER Deny, deny, deny. (to Holden) Where's Alyssa? HOLDEN Huh! Oh. She left. She said she'd call you later. BANKY (off comic) He's just offering to help Archie with his homework! HOOPER Read between the lines. ... HOLDEN (beat) Mister Weatherbee wasn't really trying to fuck Archie, was he! They begin exiting. HOOPER Hell no. Weatherbee was Reggie's bitch.
Archie Comics states that this move is "is part of the commitment to keep Archie properties reflective of the current world of teens and teen media". But, I mean, no, that's never going to happen. In comparison to Archie, Glee is a raw and gritty look at the underbelly of adolescence. Because it's not just gaiety that the Archie world cottons onto with this issue, but also a turn of phrase that's rather 2008.
And the real challenge for Archie Comics will not be in introducing their first gay character – but their second. After all, there's not much point in inventing the telephone, if you haven't built two.
There now follows some hilarious Archie clips for bloggers to use as they see fit…