July 14, 2014 11:05am PT by Graeme McMillan
Archie To Die Saving Gay Friend From Gunshot
Remember when Riverdale was a sleepy, idyllic town where the most excitement surrounded the question of whether Archie Andrews would take Betty or Veronica out that night? That’s no longer the case, as this week’s Life of Archie No. 36 is about to clearly demonstrate.
We’ve known since April that this month’s issue of the series—which is set in the future and features an adult Archie, pals and gals—would feature the death of the character once known as America’s favorite teenager, but the publisher has now revealed what’s behind his death: He is shot while saving Kevin Keller, the gay character introduced in 2010, from an assassination attempt brought about because of his views on gun control.
Somewhere, countless groups are preparing their outrage engines.
“We wanted to do something that was impactful that would really resonate with the world and bring home just how important Archie is to everyone,” Jon Goldwater, Archie Comics publisher and co-CEO told the Associated Press. “That's how we came up with the storyline of saving Kevin. He could have saved Betty. He could have saved Veronica. We get that, but metaphorically, by saving Kevin, a new Riverdale is born.”
If the politically-charged storyline does cause upset, it’ll be something that the publisher has gotten used to in recent years. Not only did the very introduction of Keller in the Veronica title lead to an angry response from some, but his 2012 marriage led to threats of a boycott from conservative group One Million Moms (Thankfully, it sold out anyway; following the sell-out, Marvel announced its own gay wedding).
Goldwater says that Archie dies “heroically [and] selflessly,” adding that the character “dies in the manner that epitomizes not only the best of Riverdale but the best of all of us. It's what Archie has come to represent over the past almost 75 years.”
Life with Archie No. 36 is released in comic book stores and digitally on Wednesday.