The Triumphant Return of Archie Comics' Gay Character
Kevin Keller burst onto the comic book scene back in 2010 in Archie Comics' Veronica number 202. Since he was the first gay character in the storied history of Archie Comics, Kevin’s first appearance made worldwide headlines, and his explosive popularity propelled him into his own mini-series followed by a long-running solo series.
Though he’s been featured as a supportive player in the recently rebooted Archie flagship comic title, Kevin will once again take center stage starring in his own comic book — this time as a special digital series, Life With Kevin, debuting in June.
The Advocate sat down with Kevin’s creator, writer-artist Dan Parent, to find out what's Kevin's been up to and where he's going.
The Advocate: How does it feel to have Kevin Keller back in his own solo book again?
Dan Parent: It feels great ... he's been missing for too long, but of course, I'm biased.
What can you tell us about Life With Kevin?
The new series explores Kevin's life after high school and college, as he enters the real world. And we can explore all the career and romantic challenges that he has an adult.
Will we see Kevin’s husband from Life With Archie, which took place in an alternate reality?
Not yet, but who knows down the line?
It appears Kevin has a new supporting cast. What can you tell us about them?
We have a couple new potential boyfriends for Kevin, as you can see, plus we have Shrill, who has been seen in the regular pages of Archie before. And of course there's Veronica, the only major Archie character to appear in this series. As Kevin's BFF, she's a natural in this storyline.
Would you call this a more “mature” series than Kevin’s previous comic book?
It's more mature since we can deal with more serious subject matter, but the book is a comedy book first, and I want humor to be the most important element.
As a straight writer-artist, Dan, does it help to have out inker J. Bone on the book? Does he offer any insights or points as needed?
Well, I consider myself more "fluid" than straight. J. Bone is so pivotal to the book, because he draws sexy characters so well — both men and women — and gets who Kevin is. And his art and inking have that whimsical style that is so much fun.
Why digital and not print?
Digital is more instant and easier to produce. And the digital art can easily be collected later to print. My goal is definitely a print collection at some point. I'm still old school and like to hold a book in my hand.
The comic takes place in New York. Can we expect lots of romance? Adventure?
As far as romance, there will be lots of that. Adventure? Well, living in NYC can be an adventure, so I'll say yes.