More than 70 years after he and his friends first graced the pages of their first comic book, Archie Andrews has attracted generations of fans who have followed numerous iterations of the legendary comic series.
What began as a relatively innocent look at a group of friends at Riverdale High School has since gone on to include imaginings of Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica, and the rest of the crew as adults in the fictionalized city. One of the major additions to the franchise came in 2010, when the first openly gay character, Kevin Keller, made his debut.
In the next installment of the ‘Life with Archie’ series, Keller will play a central role in the shooting death of the titular character. An apparent attempt to push a simultaneously pro-gay and anti-gun message, Andrews will reportedly be shot trying to defend Keller from an attack.
Keller is portrayed in the series as a veteran and senator who became a gun control activist after his ‘husband’ was shot. That storyline will play out in deadly fashion on the pages of the upcoming issue, according to Archie Comics Publisher Jon Goldwater.
“The way in which Archie dies is everything that you would expect of Archie,” he said. “He dies heroically. He dies selflessly. He dies in the manner that epitomizes not only the best of Riverdale but the best of all of us.”
Goldwater confirmed that Keller is being targeted by a stalker; and in an effort to save his friend, Andrews is caught in the violence. He confirmed that the issue is not meant to be a marketing ploy but a social commentary.
“Archie is not a superhero like all the rest of the comic book characters,” he confirmed. “He’s human. He’s a person. When you wound him, he bleeds. He knows that. If anything, I think his death is more impactful because of that.”
The fact that he dies saving Keller is of particular importance, Goldwater said.
“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,” he said. “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.”
The issue following Andrews’ death will pick up one year in the future as Riverdale celebrates the life of its fallen protagonist.
Photo Credit: Facebook/Archie Comics
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom