Archie Comics Partners With It Gets Better Project for 'A Better Universe'

A Better Universe Comic - Publicity - H 2019
Dan Parent/Archie Comics
The online comic strip is aimed at demonstrating a positive, supportive attitude to teens coming out to their friends, with the launch timed to National Coming Out Day.

Oct. 11 is National Coming Out Day, and to mark the occasion, Archie Comics is teaming with the It Gets Better Project for a new comic series illustrating the ideal of a world where LGBTQ+ youth are able to live free of prejudice or fear.

The three-panel, newspaper strip-format A Better Universe features familiar Archie Comics characters, including Archie, Jughead, Betty, and Veronica, in different scenarios where friends come out to them only to be treated with love and support. It was written and drawn by veteran creator Dan Parent.

"We are honored to be partnering with Archie Comics on National Coming Out Day,” Brian Wenke, executive director of It Gets Better Project, said Thursday in a statement. “Since our first collaboration around ‘Kevin Keller Day’ in 2013 to celebrate Riverdale’s first openly gay resident, Archie Comics has been a leader in amplifying the It Gets Better message of hope. Integrating positive LGBTQ+ role models throughout all forms of media is an essential ingredient to creating a more understanding and inclusive world for all people.”

Added Archie Comics co-president Alex Segura, “At Archie Comics, being inclusive and welcoming is a major part of who we — and Riverdale — are. It's a place where friendship and unity are essential, integral elements. It's always an honor and pleasure to work with our friends at the It Gets Better Project, and we're grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with them on a special series of comic strips timed to National Coming Out Day.”

Parent, said Segura, “was the first and only person” for this project, having created Kevin Keller, the first openly gay Archie Comics character, for 2010’s Veronica No. 202, and going on to write and illustrate the Life With Kevin series spotlighting the character. “He did an amazing job crafting these meaningful vignettes featuring Archie and his friends at Riverdale High. Like Dan and the It Gets Better Project, we're hopeful that by sharing these short stories we can start to make #ABetterUniverse a reality for today's LGBTQ+ youth, their friends, and families."

The strips are available online at a special page on the It Gets Better Project site.