Riverdale's first gay character, Kevin Keller, joins the military, meets his partner and walks down the aisle in Life with Archie #16, released in comic book stores today. The series, which follows the lives of Riverdale High School students a few years after graduation, focuses on Kevin and his life as a young adult in its January issue.
In this issue, readers discover that Kevin decided to follow in his father's footsteps by joining the military, and following an injury in Iraq, he meets Dr. Clay Walker at a hospital's rehabilitation unit. While Dr. Walker helps Kevin regain his ability to walk, the two develop a friendship. It’s not until a chance encounter at an airport that they start dating, which eventually leads to their marriage in Riverdale.
In an interview with CNN, Kevin's creator, Dan Parent, described marriage as a natural step for his character. In February, Kevin Keller will be getting his own Archie title in which, just like the other characters have experienced in the past, Kevin's dating life will be a major plotline.
The introduction of Kevin to the Riverdale group a year ago came after efforts by Archie Comics to develop a universe in which the complexity of their fans' world is reflected. "Riverdale, Archie and the gang are set in high school, and we ran a risk, unless we reflect what's going on with kids today in the real world, of becoming irrelevant," said Archie Comics CEO Jonathan Goldwater.
With Riverdale being a picture perfect image of the reality we live in, it is important for readers to see the diversity of American life reflected in this idealistic universe. Kevin, a charismatic and loved character, gives readers an image they can look up to and relate to. His prominence as an LGBT character, his dating life, the depiction of his wedding and his military career are important images for comic book readers across the country who are fans of the series.