Kevin Keller became a surprisingly successful addition to Riverdale’s cast of clean-cut kids when he debuted as Archie Comics’ first openly gay character last September in Veronica #202. The issue sold out, resulting in the first reprinting the company has ever done. And his self-titled miniseries received high marks as well.
The blond army brat will next pop up in Life with Archie #16 which imagines possible futures for the the eternally adolescent cast. Not only will he be a war hero like his old man, but he’s getting married to the male physical therapist who helped him recover from his war wounds. Gosh, it’s right out of Ernest Hemingway!
In February teen-aged Kevin will get his own ongoing title, Kevin Keller—but the Life with Archie issue arrives in January and has a somewhat more adult subject matter, writer Paul Kupperberg told CBR News. “Now not only is [Kevin] grown up, but he’s also a decorated military hero who has seen his fair share of action and been wounded in battle… The first scene I wrote for him involves Kevin reflecting back on his time in the Middle East, and as I was doing it, I thought, ‘He’s Sgt. Rock now! I’m not writing Kevin Keller so much as I’m writing Lt. Kevin Keller, United States Army.’”
Sure some may balk about injecting a gay-marriage story—to say nothing of an interracial same-sex marriage between a doctor and a military hero, but Goldwater states it simply: “Riverdale is a place where you are socially accepted. We don’t make any political statements around here.”