By MATT MOORE
It’s a just quick kiss, but it’s a long step forward for Archie Comics’ only openly gay character Kevin Keller.
The Riverdale teen finds his life turned upside down after locking lips with his boyfriend, Devon, in Pop Tate’s diner, drawing the ire of at least one disapproving Riverdale mom.
The woman “gets very offended and kind of pitches a bit of a fit,” said Dan Parent, who writes and draws the issue, “Kevin Keller” No. 10 that is released Aug. 7.
For Archie Comics it’s a bit of art imitating life. Parent said he wrote the story after efforts to remove a comic magazine showing Keller getting married drew at complaints. One Million Moms, a project of The American Family Association, asked Toys R Us not to display “Life With Archie” No. 16 near its checkout aisles. Toys R Us did not, and the issue went on to sell out its print run.
Parent called the new story a “playful poke” at the protest.
Keller debuted in “Veronica” No. 202 in September 2010. It resulted in Archie Comics’ first-ever second printing. It was quickly followed by a four-issue miniseries and the current monthly title.
Publisher and co-CEO Jon Goldwater said the fact that any kiss is being shown in the pages of an Archie Comics book is a step in and of itself.
Goldwater said Keller’s character has let the company weave in contemporary issues to its imaginary world.
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