Friday, April 23, 2010

Welcome to the 21st century, Archie Andrews

I thought my last post about Archie would be all there was to say about the Riverdale gang, but our favorite 60-year-old ginger is back in the news. This time, Archie Comics is introducing its first gay character, one Kevin Keller. The press release says it's to keep the franchise current, which makes sense. In this digital age it's hard to compete with online comics, and keeping "Archie properties reflective of the current world of teens and teen media" is a smart move.

According to a CNN article, Kevin catches Veronica's eye after he beats Jughead in a burger eating contest. Veronica tries to snag "the new hottie" to no avail, and Kevin confides in Jughead that he's got nothing against Veronica; he's gay. There's a glaring problem here for fans of the series: anybody who beats Jughead at a burger eating contest doesn't catch her eye, he catches her disdain. However, he's presented as a hunk so it's likely that Ronnie would overlook his gluttonous behavior and go after him anyway. I'm sure she only redoubles her efforts to get him when he spurns her advances. I digress.

It's good of Archie Comics to inlcude a gay character, even if the introduction is made in an edition of "Veronica" and not "Archie." This makes me wonder if he'll be an occasional character they throw in once in a while for a taste of diversity, like Chuck and Nancy.

I've thought about this press release all day because it seems like coming out of the closet or having a gay character in a popular series just isn't a big deal any more. When "I Love Lucy" approached the subject of Lucy's pregnancy sixty years ago, it was a big deal but now it seems quaint. Sixty years from now, sending press releases about a gay character will also seem quaint, and our grandchildren will giggle and shake their heads at what prudes we are. We can only hope.

No comments: