Dan Parent, the writer and illustrator of an upcoming Archie comic that will introduce the series’s first openly gay character, explains the approach planned for treating the new character’s sexuality and the philosophy behind it:
“To the kids at Riverdale High, Kevin’s sexual orientation is a nonissue, Parent said. ‘Their reaction is very nonchalant.’ It’s a reaction reflective of the real world, he believes. ‘My daughter is that age, she’s 16. I see in her high school that there are a lot of openly gay kids. It’s not even like a big deal.’”
“One character who quickly becomes Kevin’s friend is Jughead, but that doesn’t say anything about Jughead’s sexual leanings, Parent said. Kevin and Jughead are fellow foodies.”
“‘The reason they’re friends is because Jughead is the character you would befriend first, because he’s so accepting of everyone.’”
But don’t expect Keller to get involved in any hot action. Says Parent: “We don’t get into sexual situations with the straight characters, let alone the gay characters. It’s still a safe place for kids.”
Now lets see if the demagogues equate the mere acknowledgment of the existence of homosexual people to kids with graphic sexual discussion of homosexual sex acts with kids or if we have finally gotten beyond that offensive, reductionist trope.