Weirdly more than a year and a half after showing Kevin Keller’s wedding, Archie Comics is finally showing him kissing someone.
Keller, the company’s first gay character has earned the publisher its fair share of both criticism and accolades. It’s that criticism, though, that inspired this August’s issue. The story has Kevin kissing his boyfriend Devon (because of course it’s Kevin and Devon, why wouldn’t it be?) in a diner when, according to writer Dan Parent, a woman “gets very offended and kind of pitches a bit of a fit.” He goes on to say, “Kevin is kind of used to that, but Veronica records the whole thing and of course uploads it to the Riverdale equivalent of YouTube and that starts a bit of a debate.”
By the way, what kind of creepy perv is Veronica that she films people making out and puts the videos online? That is some weird voyeur shit that girl’s into.
Anyway, the woman’s reaction, and the fallout from the not-Youtube clip have a basis in reality. Parent was inspired to write the story by the protest group One Million Moms (actual Facebook members: 56,357) and their efforts to get Life With Archie #16 pulled from store shelves (Toys R Us was targeted heavily by the group, though they were by no means the only store). The issue sold out its print run.
Parent describes the upcoming Kevin Keller #10 as a “playful poke” at the protest.
Where this gets interesting is just how much of a big deal this kiss actually is. Archie comics, despite being so heavily based around teen romance, don’t really ever show that much kissing. As Publisher and co-CEO Jon Goldwater points out, “There aren’t that many on-panel kisses in the pages of Archie, but you often see the lipstick on Archie’s face afterward.”
He explained the decision to go ahead with the story:
We certainly pride ourselves on being contemporary, but that’s not the reason why we’re showing ‘The Kiss.’ Just like when Kevin first told Jughead he was gay, it was in the natural course of conversation. We are creating this in the same way. It’s just part of the story.
I like that Goldwater’s just, ‘Meh, it’s just where the story was going. Whatever.’
Kevin Keller #10 (and it’s awesome cover) goes on sale August 7.