Why writers care about Archie Comics new gay character Kevin Keller

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Kevin is gay and a big hit in Riverdale

Kevin is gay and a big hit in Riverdale

Don’t tell me you never read Archie Comic books, cuz I won’t buy it. I still read them, and am really pleased to see the always contemporary series is introducing a gay character to their engaging cast in Riverdale. The September issue of Veronica will feature girlish pursuit-turned-bromance when Veronica sets her sights on Kevin Keller, handsome, personable, highly engaging, and comfortably out of the closet.

I had a chance to interview Archie Comics CEO Jon Goldwater last week to get the scoop. Jon said the creative team at Archie always aims to be hip and current, to embrace issues that resonate with their audience, and to bring delightful entertainment to their books. Kevin Keller, the new character is likely to do just that, from the look of him.

Why Riverdale needs Kevin Keller

Any writer or artist can tell you keeping your themes fresh and your content timely is critical to success. Audiences get bored. The people who do Archie Comics, a series born in the 1940s, have always known the formula of success. You can’t keep an idea moving through three generations of readers, or sell a billion and a half comics by rehashing the same old same old, Jon told me.

Some time ago in a weekly production meeting, Dan Parent, writer/artist for ArchieComics, had a terrific idea. He postulated, says Goldwater, that Veronica always gets what she wants. She’s known for that, and we readers expect it. But. What if she didn’t? Suppose someone thwarted her and the results were surprising, yet believable?

Ok, said the rest of the crew to Mr. Parent, how you going to do such a thing? This is where burgeoning writers can take note. Spin is everything and will make the difference between selling your writing and just piling up a file called, “Stuff not sold.” Boy meets femme fatal girl. She conquers boy. Everyone else is jealous. So what?

Veronica comic #202 introduces Kevin Keller

Veronica comic #202 introduces Kevin Keller

The Veronica spin – writers’ perspective

So this time, Dan Parent decided a new character could foil Veronica’s seduction, without being a jerk, without damaging one of Veronica’s most endearing traits, and without seeming contrived. In walks Kevin Keller – blond, blue-eyed, gorgeous, a personality everyone just likes. Veronica has no idea Kevin is also gay, and quite at home in his own skin. He’s out. He’s got high self-esteem. He’s got a sense of humor.

And that is how talented, experienced writers spin a classic theme and put it smack on top of the most contemporary of issues, without being preachy. The story is full of laughs and full of the stuff that has always made readers turn the pages for more, Jon says. Kevin will hit newsstand the first week of September in Veronica # 202, but that won’t be the end of him. He joins the cast at Riverdale High as a recurring character. His family has moved to Riverdale for the long term.

Dan Parent drew and wrote the story and he feels Kevin will mesh well with the beloved group of diverse people hanging out in Riverdale. If you want to see how recasting a formula idea can make a story seem totally new, have a look at Veronica #202. Then drop a comment here about how you think Archie’s creative team handled the situation. Did they make it easy and natural? Did they miss the mark? Let’s hear from you.

The right spin will sell your writing

The right spin will sell your writing

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6 Responses to “Why writers care about Archie Comics new gay character Kevin Keller”

  1. WORST IDEA EVER !!!!! SERIOUSLY!!!! Why a gay guy it was fine without the gay guy!

  2. Great article and thanks for the writing advice too. You have given me a great new perspective on some of the “not sold” bunch of articles piling up in my office. Predictability can often become a fault when you have been writing for quite a while and I know I tend to stick to the same trend with my stories so it was great to read this to see how you can add a twist without changing your main character.

    Amanda

  3. I disagree with Rugtugba – this shows that the publishers and the writers of the Archie comics are with the times. Now – if the story line is a flop, that is another story. But, we shouldn’t judge until then.

  4. Thanks Amanda for the careful read and your comment. You never know who might be interested in a piece with a fresh topic or an unusual spin. Come by anytime.
    –mkp

  5. I agree completely with your assessment, D. It’s not enough to have a unique approach, the writer, artist, or other creative has to deliver quality no matter how hip the topic. Thanks for the comment. Looking forward to seeing you visit often.

    –mkp

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