Following in the wake of self-loathing gay-baiter/gay-hater Republican strategist Ken Mehlman coming out of the closet, an Archie character has emerged from the cocoon of illustrated repression to fully embrace his homosexuality. Three questions:
1. It’s not Jughead, who is now apparently destined to live a life in the closet as a misogynistic asshole?
2. It’s not Betty, or Veronica, or Betty and Veronica, as many a teenage boy has dreamed?
3. People still read Archie?
Apparently, no, no, and yes. Via The Daily Beast, it’s “Kevin Keller,” who’s actually a new character, which they needed to introduce because, I don’t know, people are still reading Archie? Of course…
Kevin arrives in Riverdale and immediately piques the interest of rich, spoiled Veronica. After Kevin and Jughead enjoy some homosocial bonding at a hamburger-eating contest, Jughead warns the new kid that Veronica isn’t likely to stop pursuing him until he returns her flirtations. “It’s nothing against her. I’m gay,” Kevin explains nonchalantly, showing how much more casual coming out has become since the X-Men superhero Northstar made headlines in 1992 with this clunky announcement: “For while I am not inclined to discuss my sexuality with people for whom it is none of their business–I am gay!”
So basically, instead of a character coming out of the closet — which actually would be interesting, Archie’s new gay friend exists to amuse Veronica, who probably just wants to go shopping with the new gay kid, or something. Mind you, Fox News won’t cover Ken Mehlman, but they’re all over this? If Jughead turned out to be a “sister,” they’d put the blackout on that, too.
Either way, this entire plot is basically the last third of Clueless when the slick new kid shows up, and Cher loves him, and he turns out to be gay.
Look at him! He looks like one of those androgynous fashion weirdos from Project Runway. Sunday cartoons haven’t been exciting since Hobbes kept threatening — rightfully so — to eat that little shithead Calvin, and his bitch friend Suzy. Just saying! The babysitter, too. He should’ve eaten the babysitter. Anyway, this is a nonevent. We should all be paying attention to Jersey Circus instead. Genius, and innovative: taking a cartoon everyone hates, and a show everyone hates, and combining them to come up with something we love:
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 31, 2010