Kevin Keller (comics)
Veronica #202(September 2010)
|Created by||Dan Parent|
Kevin Keller is a fictional character in the Archie Comics universe. He premiered in Veronica #202, published in September 2010. Created by writer/artist Dan Parent, Kevin is the first openly gay character in Archie Comics history.
Character description and history
In Keller's initial storyline, "Isn't It Bromantic?", Veronica expresses interest in dating Kevin but he is uninterested. As he and Jughead bond over their mutual love of food, Kevin explains that he does not want to date Veronica because he is gay. Kevin also bonds with Betty Cooper and they become best friends.
Archie Comics co-CEO Jon Goldwater explained that including an openly gay character is a way to keep the world of Archie Comics inclusive and updated. "Archie's hometown of Riverdale has always been a safe world for everyone. It just makes sense to have an openly gay character in Archie comic books." Veronica writer Dan Parent concurred, saying "It shows that Riverdale is in the 21st century."
Keller returned in Veronica #205 and headlined his own four-issue miniseries, Kevin Keller, beginning in June 2011. The new series focused on Keller's life before he arrived in Riverdale, including his struggles in junior high school. It also establishes that he is an Army brat and introduces the characters Wendy and William, friends whom Keller had been previously seen texting.
In July 2011 Archie Comics announced that Keller would star in his own ongoing solo title, also titled Kevin Keller. The new series debuted in February 2012. Reportedly Keller will become president of his high school class but will also face "adversity".
Keller also appeared as an adult in 2012 in the title Life with Archie, which featured Kevin's wedding. Kevin's story began in issue #16, published in January 2012. Readers learned that Kevin will meet his future husband, Clay Walker, in a military hospital after Keller is wounded while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Later, after Walker is shot in a robbery attempt, Keller runs for and wins election to the United States Senate on a platform of stricter gun control legislation; the series concludes with Archie Andrews' death saving the newly elected Senator Keller from an assassination attempt.
Keller is also a character in the horror series Afterlife With Archie.
Kevin Keller's first appearance in Veronica #202 proved so popular that the issue sold out, prompting Archie Comics to issue a reprint for the first time in its history.
Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation then-president Jarrett Barrios praised Kevin's creation. "It’s thrilling to see Riverdale High welcome its first openly gay student, and give readers a window into the lives of gay youth today. As images of gay and transgender people become more frequent on TV and in film, people are embracing and expect to see images of our community across media platforms, including comic books." Parent was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award in 2011 for creating Kevin.
Parent has reported that fan reaction to Keller has been overwhelmingly favorable. "Not everybody's particularly happy about it, but from where I'm sitting it's been about 98% positive." He has noted the number of gay fans who have approached him at personal appearances to express their appreciation and explain what a difference a character like Keller would have made to them as they were growing up.
- McGinn, Dave (2010-08-30). "Archie and the gang welcome first gay character". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2010-09-16.
- Cavna, Michael (2010-04-23). "Kevin Keller debuts as first openly gay character in Archie's Veronica Comics". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-09-16.
- "Kevin Keller proves a diverse and popular asset for Archie Comics". USA Today. 2011-02-02. Retrieved 2011-03-12.
- Gene, George (2011-07-19). "Gay ‘Archie’ Character to Have His Own Comic Book". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-08-21.
- "Gay Archie Comics Character Kevin Keller to Meet His Future Husband In U.S. Military". Comics Alliance. 4 October 2011.
- "For fans of Archie, comic book character's sacrifice to save gay friend makes an impact". The Gazette, July 14, 2014.
- "VERONICA #202 earns first reprint in Archie history". Comiclist.com. 2010-09-28. Retrieved 2011-03-12.
- Ayers, Dennis (2011-02-03). "Kevin Keller's Bright Gay Future in Archie Comics". Afterelton.com. Retrieved 2011-03-12.