2012 Memorable Moment: Kevin and Clay Tie the Knot

Kevin Keller's weddingLife with Archie, the best soap opera in comics, has grabbed readers’ attention with storylines about unhappy marriages and separations, untimely deaths (Mrs. Grundy!) and characters ravaged by disease (Cheryl Blossom!). But there was at least one happy occasion in Riverdale in 2012 with war veteran Kevin Keller’s marriage to his boyfriend, Clay, in issue #16. It’s yet another example how Archie Comics has modernized, and fans have embraced the publisher’s first gay character since he arrived in 2010. Writer Paul Kupperberg handled the story just right, matter-of-factly showing Kevin and Clay as two people a loving relationship. I propose a toast.

Alan Scott is Gay! Carry On.

So, Alan Scott is gay post-new 52, and the reaction from the Trolliverse is as predictable as it is ridiculous. As our pal George put it, “I do think it’s pretty funny when people are like, “UGH ALAN SCOTT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT CHARACTER IN COMICS DC YOU REALLY FUCKED UP THIS TIME ALAN SCOTT IS THE MOST CLASSIC DC CHARACTER NOW HE’S GAY WTF.”

Suffice to say that G3 is firmly on the side of diversity, and having a high profile, gay hero in a mainstream comic book is a good thing. The decision is laudable. The execution, not so much.

DC’s coy PR campaign leading up to the reveal was unnecessary and not a little bit exploitative. The company touted the identity of the “iconic” character as a “mystery” and sold it as a “big upcoming twist,” feeding weeks of press hype and prompting the trolls to place their orders for new torches and pitchforks. As publicity baiting goes, this is about as naked as it gets. I’ll be the first one to admit that it stoked my curiosity for a moment. Continue reading

Comic Judgment: Over the Reignbow!

For whatever reason, many the comics I’ve been reading lately are firmly planted on the dark side. There may be elements of humor and playfulness, but sometimes I need a drink by the time I’ve waded through my weekly stash. That’s one reason I was so very delighted to see issue #3 of Reignbow and Dee-Va, writer Brian Andersen’s series about two besties who happen to be the most fabulous demon-slayers ever.  Continue reading

Welcome Back, Kevin!

About two years ago, my son, now 11, popped the “What does ‘gay’ mean?” question. I answered plainly, and he made a little face. Not in an “I’m Pat Robertson way” but a “Gee, that’s … odd” way. We had a brief talk about it not being odd at all, and then — shiny object! — he went right back to his beloved PSP.

What does this have to do with comics? After introducing Kevin Keller last year, Archie Comics has given Riverdale’s first openly gay character his own series, which hit shelves last week. It’s a typically cute, zany Archie story about pie-eating contests and parade floats. It’s also about Kevin’s coming-out experience, and writer/artist Dan Parent handles it with humor and sensitivity. Continue reading

A Word About Diversity

 

A character, not a "statement"

By now, you’ve probably seen Gail Simone’s fierce, utterly awesome rebuttal to an aspiring comic book writer who said, essentially, that characters should not be forced on publishers for the sake of inclusion. Specifically, gay characters. This person’s argument is annoying for a number of reasons, but what struck me is how frequently I’ve heard versions of this from otherwise reasonable people. Continue reading

Friday Favorite: Creote & Savant

Whether it is intended or not, comic books are often a socio-political commentary. The art and stories are a reflection of culture and current events. While much ado has been made about the treatment and portrayal of female characters in comics, there is much to be said about LGBT characters or rather, the lack thereof.

More recently, mainstream comic books have seen plenty of lesbian love, and perhaps that provides extended shower time for the “target demographic.” But, we all know that people who read comics are a much more diverse and intellectual bunch than the stereotype of your middle-aged, straight white guy.

Based on the human population at large, there is a disproportionately low number of gay characters in comics, particularly gay male characters. Continue reading

Riverdale, Uncloseted

Dreamy!

Man, Archie Comics are all about the progressive plot developments lately. Riverdale not only gave a shout-out to interracial dating this week via Archie #608, but also announced the arrival of its first openly gay character. And no, it isn’t Jughead. Or Mr. Weatherbee.

Veronica Lodge’s milkshake has been bringing all the boys to the yard for more than half a century, but chiseled cutie Kevin Keller, who will make his debut in Veronica #202 in September, does not like her In That Way. (Seriously, Veronica. The boy is gorgeous, polite and has perfect hair. Of course he’s not straight. Didn’t you see Clueless?) After Veronica’s flirting reaches epic levels, Kevin matter-of-factly tells Jughead (!) that he’s gay, so his indifference isn’t necessarily a slam against the town’s richest keyboard player.

Yeah, this development would have been way more awesome in 1991. But late as it may be, the addition of an openly gay, male character is major for an Archie comic book. From what I can tell, Kevin seems to be perfectly comfortable with being out, and there’s no Very Special Issue drama attached to his sexuality.

I’m sure somebody has their knickers in a twist about this, but I can’t see why. Archie Comics’ vision of adolescence is generally so sanitized you could clean your kitchen counters with it. It’s not like anybody’s gonna be cavorting in a hot tub, though I’d be pleasantly surprised if the editors showed Kevin occasionally going on a regular date, just like everybody else at Riverdale High.

While it’s usually extremely satisfying to see Karma kick Veronica in the ass, I feel a little badly for her this time around. Kevin Keller is easily one of the most crush-worthy boys to land in Riverdale, so his … unavailability is really gonna sting. On the other hand, some chap in Miss Grundy’s 3rd period geometry class just might have the best year ever — and we are so not mad at him.