Archie Comics, an illustrated parable about an ordinary young man who is inexplicably irresistible to women of every hair color and economic class, is getting its first gay kiss. Yay! But also, it's about time — the comic series introduced Kevin Keller, its first openly gay character, in 2010, so the poor youth has been loitering, unloved, in giant makeout party that is Riverdale for about three years now.
In 2011, the company created a bit of controversy by giving Kevin a spin-off set in the future, in which he married (obviously) a man. This is how the controversy went: One Million Moms, a band of irritable, probably khaki-clad homophobes that is nowhere near a million strong, demanded that Toys R Us not display Life With Archie No. 16 near its checkout aisles. Toys R Us refused to heed their request, and the issue went on to sell out its print run.
According to Dan Parent, who wrote and drew the issue, the gay kiss plot arc is meant to be a "playful poke" at the protest. The issue, Kevin Keller No. 10, will feature a similar public outcry and subsequent debate: a local mom "gets very offended and kind of pitches a bit of a fit" after seeing Kevin kiss his boyfriend in Pop Tate's diner, according to Parent. Veronica records the fit and uploads it to YouTube, which fosters a town-wide discussion. YouTube scandals and multi-dimensional gay characters who undergo realistic obstacles? Very commendable, and surprisingly "with it" for a story whose central conflict occurs in an old-fashioned milkshake shop.
"Archie Comics' gay kiss a poke at real controversy" [USA Today]
Images via Archie Comics.