Archie comics’ gay marriage issue out today

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The first gay character in the Archie Comics world, Kevin Keller, marries his partner in the latest issue, released today.

In the storyline, in Life With Archie #16, Kevin returns to Riverside as an adult after serving in the Army and eventually ties the knot with Clay Walker.

Kevin first appeared in the Veronica series last autumn, with some critics expecting only a token character to be introduced to the 70-year-old series, which has sold 1.5 billion copies since its launch.

But that issue, 202, sold out, prompting Archie Comics to issue a reprint for the first time in its history.

Bob Bretall, co-host of the Comic Book Page Podcast, told CNN: “Sexuality is a trait that’s a facet of a character, but is not the single defining characteristic when the writer is doing a good job.

“I applaud Archie for creating a character where being gay isn’t a pejorative and showing that it’s possible for the Riverdale characters to interact with Kevin as they would interact with any other person.”

Archie Comics co-chief executive Jon Goldwater said last year: “The introduction of Kevin is just about keeping the world of Archie Comics current and inclusive.

“Archie’s hometown of Riverdale has always been a safe world for everyone. It just makes sense to have an openly gay character in Archie comic books.”

The Riverdale mayor is seen presiding over Kevin and Clay’s ceremony.

Mr Goldwater added that people who might be offended by a gay storyline “aren’t the kind of people we want reading our comics anyway”.

The series may have some way to go before it beats Spandex, the Brighton-based comic following trans crime fighter Liberty and Wonder Woman-esque lesbian Diva as they take on villains including a 50ft lesbian attacking the city.