'Archie' and Pals to Boycott Russia Because of Anti-Gay Laws

"Archie" cartoonist Dan Parent says that Riverdale teens "just can't" visit Russia in new comic book storyline after the government passes anti-gay legislation.

And the first pop culture icon to publicly boycott Russia over its new anti-gay legislation -- which criminalizes public expressions of support for "non-traditional" relationships in the country, with particular focus on discussion of the subject amongst those younger than 18 -- is, somewhat surprisingly, Archie Andrews*.

Archie writer and artist Dan Parent revealed during an interview with the Back 2 Stonewall blog that a four-part storyline that takes the Riverdale teen and his ever-present posse around the world has been reworked in light of the news of the new Russian laws.

Describing the new law as "really upsetting," Parent said that "Russia should be boycotted, so much so that, actually, in an upcoming special four-issue story arc I'm writing, the Archie gang are going to take a world tour to four countries. Russia was to be one of them, but they're not going there now. They just can't and they won't."

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This is far from the first time that Archie has dealt with the subject of gay rights; after Parent introduced the gay character Kevin Keller in the September 2010 issue of spinoff series Veronica, the publisher has continued to push the envelope on the topic despite protests from concerned readers. In fact, Parent has said that such backlash has even inspired storylines for the character.

(*Sorry, Andy Cohen. You're not quite iconic just yet.)