Last September, Archie—the science-fiction comic about life in a small American town trapped inside a time warp—introduced Riverdale’s first openly gay character, Kevin Keller, perhaps as a way of disrupting the loop that had snared its citizens within a perpetual parade of school dances and hamburger-eating contests. It didn’t work, but Kevin apparently proved so popular with readers that he’s now getting his own eponymous book, a monthly series that will follow Kevin as he goes around and does typical Archie things, pausing occasionally to remind everyone that he’s gay.
According to publishers, in addition to Kevin’s solo storyline (launched in a recent miniseries) following his tenure as class president and his intention of following in his dad’s footsteps by joining the military, Kevin will also factor into the parallel universes of the Life With Archie spinoffs—complementary books exploring Archie’s fate depending on whether he marries Betty or Veronica, as these are clearly his only options—beginning with an early 2012 storyline that will deal with Kevin’s own marriage. (Guess the whole “Riverdale is in Mississippi” theory is out.) So the times are a-changin', even in a town where the times never really seem to change.
Anyway, in light of this development, perhaps that recent lawsuit against Archie’s co-CEO Nancy Silberkleit makes more sense: By storming into meetings, pointing at each attendee, and saying, “PENIS, PENIS, PENIS, PENIS,” she wasn’t sexually harassing her employees. She was simply laying out the mission statement for Archie’s new direction.