There’s a gay wedding on the cover of the January edition of Archie Comics.
The cover illustration shows Kevin Keller, Riverdale’s first openly gay character tying the knot with Clay Walker, his African-American boyfriend. Keller, who’s in the military, is depicted in dress uniform.
The January issue focuses on the wedding and skips the story line of how the two met. It doesn’t refer to the recently ended “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban on gays in the military. Those issues might be addressed as a flashback in a later comic edition, according to Archie Comics CEO Jon Goldwater.
Kevin first appeared in Riverdale in 2010. “The world of Riverdale has to reflect contemporary culture and to show it is an accepting, diverse place,” author Dan Parent told the Associated Press at the time. “And that's why Kevin is important, to show that everybody is welcome in this all-American town we’ve embraced for over 70 years.”
Parent was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for his creation of the character. But while pro-equality groups have praised Archie Comics for showcasing a gay character, right-wing Christians have assailed the publisher.
“It’s unfortunate that a comic book series usually seen as depicting innocent, all-American life is now being used to advance the sexual revolution,” said Peter Spriggs, who’s with the Family Research Council. His group has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.