Kevin Keller writer and artist Dan Parent was presented with Outstanding Comic Book by The Amazing Race's Jaymes Vaughan and James Davis at the 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in San Francisco on Saturday, May 11. Check out the video below:
"A few years ago a gay teenager named Kevin Keller was introduced into the world of Riverdale and the world of Archie Comics has become a much better and happier place for it," Parent said. "Many people thought it would be a challenge to introduce a gay character into a comic book primarily produced for children, but that was really our saving grace. Because as most of you know, the people who have the most progressive minds are really our kids [...] Kids like to read stories about characters they care about, characters they want to be friends, characters with a strong moral compass like Kevin Keller. Many LGBT people of my generation have told me about the lack of any gay characters they had to look to in pop culture, especially in the world of comic books. It's a very lonely place to be. These fans had to live vicariously through the straight romantic adventures of Archie, Betty and Veronica. Well, LGBT kids of this generation won't have to worry about that. You have a place in Riverdale now and the fun is just starting. [...] Please, kids out there, keep teaching us adults to think young, stay diverse and love with an open mind."
Keller, the first out gay character in the Archie universe, was introduced in the Veronica series in September 2010, had a miniseries during summer 2011, and became the central figure in his own ongoing series in February 2012. Last month, Keller's story expanded in a new hardcover young adult novel, Kevin, which looks at his middle-school years as a military kid, facing prom at his new school, a female friend who is interested in him and a boy he is interested in who ignores him. Keller can also currently be seen in Archie's ongoing crossover series Archie Meets Glee, illustrated by Parent and written by Glee writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa.
Earlier this year, Parent participated in reddit's "Ask Me Anything" forum, hosted by GLAAD and social video network #waywire, where he discussed his work on the Kevin Keller series. Check out the video below of him discussing the One Million Moms boycott around last year's Life with Archie #16 which flashed forward a few years and saw Kevin marrying Dr. Clay Walker; this became the first Archie issue ever to sell out.
Also at the event, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom received the Golden Gate Award. The reigning World Series champion San Francisco Giants received the Corporate Leader Award. Guests included: Melanie Brown (America's Got Talent, Spice Girls); Tamala Jones (Castle); Guillermo Diaz (Scandal); Jessica Clark (True Blood); Jinkx Monsoon (RuPaul's Drag Race); Rex Lee (Suburgatory); Teri Polo, Sherri Saum, Peter Paige (The Fosters); Jaymes Vaughn, James Davis (The Amazing Race); Kyle Richards (The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills); Jennifer Biesty, Ryan Scott, Josie Smith-Malave (Top Chef); Laverne Cox, E.J. Bonilla (Musical Chairs); Travis Fine, Isaac Leyva (Any Day Now); Dan Parent (writer, artist Kevin Keller); Marc Lamont Hill (HuffPost Live); Prop 8 plaintiffs Jeff Zarrillo, Paul Katami, Kris Perry, Sandra Stier; LGBT advocates Karen and Eric Andresen, Shane Bitney Crone, Jennifer Tyrrell and Dr. Kortney Ryan Ziegler; former Pittsburgh Pirates owner Kevin McClatchy; number one WNBA draft pick Brittney Griner; GLAAD National Spokespersons Wilson Cruz and Omar Sharif, Jr..
The 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards were presented nationally by Ketel One and Wells Fargo, and presented locally in San Francisco by Southwest Airlines.