Comics · Queer

A to Z: Kevin Keller

I love Archie Comics. I love that light Archie tone — realistic, but a very stylized version of real life, if that makes sense. It’s cute, it’s funny, it’s retro, it’s a look into how we’ve imagined ideal life to be throughout the years. It’s a piece of Americana that most people are aware of, whether they’ve ever read it or not. With that in mind, what I’m about to say is understandable: I’ve mentioned media reactions before in this series, directed toward Green Lantern and Hulkling in particular, but those don’t hold a candle to the “Archie’s gay wedding” controversy.

Kevin Keller coverOkay, people. First of all, Archie didn’t marry a man (although that would’ve been an interesting ending to the eternal Archie/Betty/Veronica love triangle). Second, the gay man in question, Kevin Keller, had already been around for several years. And he is awesome. Creator Dan Parent did a fantastic job of depicting a well-rounded gay character in that classic Archie tone — he has realistic struggles sometimes, and people react to him in a variety of realistic ways, but you still know everything’s gonna be okay by the end of the comic. It’s still friendly, inviting, positive, and just homey in a way no other comic could be for me. Some reviews have said they don’t think Kevin is relatable because he has it too easy, and that’s a valid feeling, but I don’t feel that way. I think Riverdale has always been a safe place, and it’s appropriate to show a happy gay character there. What’s more, I like positivity and I don’t want LGBT+ characters to be miserable all the time, (although the fact that being happy is “less realistic” ought to tell you something about reality).

Kevin appears as a teen in the teenage comics and an adult in the adult-Archie comics. He’s been in the military, and subsequently elected to the US Senate. He sold out his first appearance, causing the first reprint in Archie history, and he also sold out his wedding issue. So, it may be a bit depressing that his existence is newsworthy, but on the other hand, there’s concrete proof that people love him and want his books!

Recommened Reading:

EssentialKevin Keller by Dan Parent (pub. 2012, ISBN 9781879794931).This’ll get you his introduction and essential early storylines, and it’s delightful.

Wedding issueLife with Archie #16. This thing sold out in a heartbeat and is way hard to find if you’re a paper-comic collector. We’re talking $80 if you can find it at all. Fortunately, you can get it digitally on Comixology for $4! Be aware, there are two storylines — one where Archie married Veronica, and one where he married Betty. Kevin gets married in both, but the story’s barely about him..

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13 thoughts on “A to Z: Kevin Keller

  1. I have never read any Archie comics, but I heard a lot about them. I feel like as a person in PopC, I am obligated at this point to acquaint myself with this piece of Americana… *adds to Free Comic Book Day wish list* 😉

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary – Epics from A to Z
    MopDog – 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

    Liked by 1 person

        1. And horribly lacking from my brain… working on solving that.

          In chapter one my whole life was made plain to me. I have been and ever will be a comics fan…

          My history thesis was on William Hogarth and Hogarth’s Act, you see. Which was referenced in Understanding Comics 😀

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  2. I love him, and I haven’t even read his books – yet! And what’s wrong with having it easy? How can there be too easy? Characters are like people, and we are such diverse and interesting creatures. Some people, no matter what their circumstance, are just happy go lucky – it’s part of their charm. I know so many people like that 😀

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    1. Quite so! My experience is more like Kevin’s than any of the other characters on this list, I think. Not perfect, but pretty okay. I’m aware that I’m luckier than a lot of other LGBT+ people, but that doesn’t mean my life is unrealistic!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. lol – I’d settle for less realism sometimes! But you hit the nail on the head (as always). It’s great that your experiences are mainly positive, and that will have something to do with your outlook on life, and the confidence in your identity. The worst thing is when people make assumptions about a person (or a character) based on preconceived ideas. Everybody experiences the world differently.

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