Oct 182013
 

I’m a bit late posting this, but October 17 was “Spirit Day,” the annual day (spearheaded by gay rights group GLAAD) where various people wear purple (or change their online avatars purple) as a way of taking a stand against anti-LGBT bullying. This year, GLAAD made Archie’s Kevin Keller (this year’s winner of its comic award) its fictional ambassador for Spirit Day.

Along with this came an interview in USA Today with creator Dan Parent. Among other things, Kevin will be gaining his own superhero identity a la Arche’s “Pureheart the Powerful” and Betty’s “SuperTeen”: a hero known as “The Equalizer.” Interesting, even if it reminds me of that old 80s TV show of the same name, or of the guy on the “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” sitcom whose job it was to “equalize” stuff/actions/etc. magically.

Here’s a picture of what Kevin’s superhero outfit looks like.

Kevin Keller as the Equalizer

Aug 112013
 

Kevin Keller: Drive Me CrazyKevin Keller: Drive Me Crazy

Written by: Dan Parent
Art by: Dan Parent (issues #5-7), Bill Galvan (issue #8)

While I haven’t read the trade paperback itself, I have read the individual issues making up Kevin Keller’s second trade volume. My thoughts on the individual installments are below.

Kevin Keller #5

Kevin gets his first car, which resident genius Dilton Doiley helps soup up. When Kevin arranges a date, he decides to use the car and take his date to the drive-in, despite not having been shown fully how the car works. Hijinks ensue, of course.

This one was fun, and showing Kevin’s capable of being in the same sort of situations Archie and the others might find themselves caught up in…or anyone testing an unfinished Dilton Doiley invention, anyway.

Kevin Keller #6

This was the much publicized George Takei issue. Kevin writes an essay (later published) about George Takei’s life work in awareness of gay rights and being in a Japanese-American internment camp, as well as playing Sulu on “Star Trek.” Takei gets wind of the essay and decides to speak at Riverdale High School, to Kevin’s surprise.

Seeing Takei in an Archie comic was great. Kevin’s essay reminds me of the report I wrote about Takei years ago in college, after reading his mid-90s autobiography. Of course, Takei wrote his autobiography before fully coming out, so imagine the tone would be different if and when he writes an updated version.

Kevin Keller #7

While not as publicized, this one finally gave us the long-awaited revelation of Kevin getting an ongoing boyfriend. Devon, however, turns out to be both not out (which he resolves, but it doesn’t end well with his parents) and a bit Reggie-like—he’s supposedly a “bad boy,” though without Reggie’s ego. On top of all of this, Paul, the “secret admirer” from issue #2 finally returns, this time also finally out.

I liked Archie’s two cents that he throws in at the end of the story…though fortunately for Kevin, he doesn’t share Archie’s dating style.

Kevin Keller #8

Continuing from the previous issue, Devon grows weary of Paul hanging around Kevin. Meanwhile, Veronica writes and produces an utterly awful class play that Kevin and Paul get roped into, which irritates Devon even further.

Pretty typical Archie-style dating hijinks, whether gay or straight. Of note is Devon worried about Paul kissing Kevin, suggesting the comic wasn’t going to shy away from showing same-sex affection, which we see some of in the recent issue #10.

Overall, an amusing batch of stories.  “Drive Me Crazy” should make a nice addition to Archie fans’ libraries, if they haven’t bought the individual issues already. The trade paperback comes with an introduction by George Takei, so that (plus the Takei story) might interest original series “Star Trek” fans as well.

Jun 182013
 

Kevin Keller #11Here’s what’s of interest from Archie Comics for September 2013. Full solicitations are available here.

Comics

  • Betty and Veronica Double Digest #216, on sale Sept. 25, $4
  • Kevin Keller #11, on sale Oct. 9, $3
  • Life With Archie #32, on sale Sept. 25, $4

Trade paperbacks

  • Archie: The Married Life, Book 4, on sale Oct. 16, $20

Comments

This month sees the start of Archie’s advertised new series, “Afterlife With Archie,” which, like “Life With Archie” sounds like it’s aimed at an older-than-usual audience. Can’t recall seeing other Archie-universe-set comics advertised as “For TEEN+ readers.” Much as I like Sabrina the Teenage Witch, I don’t have any interest in zombies, so I’ll be giving this one a pass.

Coinciding with the above, there’s various (lighter) horror-themed stories this month, presumably as part of the gear-up for Halloween.

“Kevin Keller” this month is written by Paul Kupperberg, who wrote the young adult “Kevin” text novel.

“Archie Double Digest” advertises (in a cover parodying the introduction of Robin) a new dog for Archie. Wonder if Spotty, his childhood pet dog from “Little Archie,” will get mentioned at all. I assume Spotty’s deceased(?) in the present, though his picture’s seen in a frame in the Valerie/Archie storyline from awhile ago.

Finally, another trade paperback volume of “Life With Archie” is due. This one collects the return of Cheryl Blossom, plus the shooting of Kevin’s husband, Clay.

Jun 092013
 

Life With Archie #16June is both the traditional month for weddings, as well as LGBT Pride Month. Thus, I thought it’d be worth looking at some memorable same-sex cartoon weddings…

Kevin Keller

The adult version of new Archie character Kevin Keller‘s been seen in ongoing series “Life With Archie.” In both alternate futures of this series, Kevin marries one Dr. Clay Walker, the man he met while recovering from being wounded in battle in an unnamed Middle Eastern war. The wedding was seen in “Life With Archie” #16, indicating that same-sex marriage is legal in Riverdale’s state. Given the strong indications in recent Archie comics that Riverdale’s probably in New York State or elsewhere on the east coast, that’s not a surprise. Kevin and Clay’s wedding was  also memorable for One Million Mom’s protest of Toys R Us over the issue, resulting in the comic selling out.

Northstar

Superhero comics’ highest-profile openly gay character, Northstar also saw himself getting married, in a fairly well-publicized issue of “Astonishing X-Men.” While they could’ve married in Northstar’s native Canada, the couple chose to get married in New York (epicenter of the Marvel Universe).

The Simpsons

A  2005 episode (“There’s Something About Marrying”) sees same-sex marriage legalized in Springfield, which Homer cashes in on by becoming a minister. Meanwhile, it’s also the episode that reveals Marge’s sister Patty is a lesbian.

Dykes to Watch Out For

The long-running comic strip by Alison Bechdel saw characters Toni and Clarice (the parents of cute-as-a-button toddler, and later video game loving teenager, Rafael) hold vows several times. Originally, the two held a commitment ceremony. Later, Toni and Clarice had a civil union in Vermont (after civil unions were legalized there). Finally, they made an unsuccessful attempt to get married at City Hall during a brief period when same-sex marriage was legal in their state (referencing California’s marriage woes); however, the state the DTWOF cast live in is never stated. Ironically, despite all of these ceremonies, the two would later divorce.

A Couple of Guys

Lead characters Eric and Joey originally were married in Massachusetts (after same-sex marriage was legalized there), but later renewed their vows in their native New York City. The latter was a double ceremony—their neighbors and friends Sue and Simone decided to get married, as well.

South Park

A 2005 episode of the Comedy Central series sees same-sex marriage legalized in “South Park”‘s version of Colorado. As a result of the episode’s events, two of the series’ minor characters, “Big Gay Al” and “Mr. Slave,” get married. In real life, Colorado’s one of various states that unfortunately amended their state constitution to ban same-sex marriage (about a year after this episode aired). In 2013, however, civil unions were legalized.

 

May 212013
 

Kevin Keller and DevonAs I noted in the Archie solicitations for last month, we’re finally going to get to see Kevin Keller kiss his boyfriend. And not just a kiss on the cheek, but an actual kiss on the lips. At least, that’s what the released advertising images indicate, as seen in this post.

Accompanying this is some publicity, including this Associated Press article about the upcoming story. One interesting tidbit is that there’s a scene with a woman protesting against Kevin and Devon kissing…meant to be a “playful poke” by Archie writer Dan Parent at the One Million Moms protesters campaigning against the adult Kevin’s wedding story.

Of course, I’ll assume that this “first kiss” won’t be the last for Mr. Keller, even if the second/third/etc. kisses don’t make headlines, just as Archie’s kisses don’t.

May 202013
 

Archie #647Here’s my alliteratively-titled Archie comics picks for August 2013. Full solicitations are available here.

Comics

  • Archie #647, on sale Sept. 4, $3
  • Betty and Veronica Double Digest #215, on sale Aug. 28, $4
  • Jughead Double Double Digest #196, on sale Sept. 11, $6

Trade paperbacks

  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch: The Magic Within, vol. 3, on sale Sept. 4, $11

Comments

The Archie-proper title seems to have eased off of the stunt storylines for the moment, though it’s delving back into parallel universes (again) with this month’s story.

Jughead gets the “Double Double” Digest treatment this month, coming in at 320 pages (and $6).

The third volume of the “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” manga paperback compilations is being released, completing most of the series’ run. One volume left to go!

“Archie & Friends Double Digest” features Kevin Keller on the cover. Until now, I don’t think Kevin’s ever appeared on a digest cover, this “Betty and Veronica” digest aside. Kevin’s also shown with Chuck; I don’t think the characters have interacted much in stories to date, despite that they both like sci-fi. In real world terms, both characters also were introduced to add diversity to Archie’s cast. Of course, like Chuck’s solo backup stories, I’d expect Kevin’s own stories to wind up reprinted in digests someday. I’d still like to see Chuck get his own solo series, something he’s never had; however, “Archie at Riverdale High” in the 70s/80s apparently became a Chuck-centric title for awhile.

May 122013
 

Archie Comics and Archie writer/artist Dan Parent announced on their Twitter feeds Saturday evening that they’ve won this year’s GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comic Book (for “Kevin Keller”):

While any of the nominees would’ve deserved the prize, I was hoping for “Kevin Keller” to win. It’s one of the few pieces of American entertainment aimed at children that features an openly gay character. Unfortunately, LGBT folk are still seen as “off limits” for American children’s media as far as TV/movies are concerned. Thus, “Kevin Keller” winning highlights this aspect of media. It’s also an entertaining comic, of course…

(Unrelated, but if you’re wondering about “ParaNorman”‘s nomination in the “Outstanding Film – Wide Release” category, it lost to “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.”)

Apr 152013
 

Life With Archie #31Here’s what’s of interest from Archie Comics for July 2013. Full solicitations are available here.

Comics

  • Archie #646, on sale July 31, $3
  • Betty and Veronica Double Digest #214, on sale July 24, $4
  • Jughead Double Digest #195, on sale Aug. 7, $4
  • Kevin Keller #10, on sale Aug. 7, $3
  • Life With Archie #31, on sale July 10, $4
  • New Crusaders: Dark Tomorrow #4, on sale July 31, $3

Trade paperbacks

  • Kevin Keller 2: Drive Me Crazy, on sale Aug. 7, $12

Comments

For the Sonic and Mega Man fans, their crossover (yep, a crossover in Archie) finally concludes this month.

But of bigger interest is this month’s Kevin Keller. After months of my pondering when (since it can’t be “if”) we’ll finally see Mr. Keller kiss someone, it looks like it’s finally coming in this month’s issue! Though there’s no indication whether a “goodbye kiss” means a kiss on the cheek (which still seems cop-out-ish versus the smooching levels Archie engages in) or actually on the lips. Still, I look forward to seeing this issued.

Kevin also sees the second trade paperback compilation of his solo series come out this month. This collection covers issues #5-8, including the George Takei appearance. For those interested, a trade paperback of the Archie/cast of Fox’s “GLEE” crossover is also coming out this month.

Nice “Life With Archie” and “Archie” alternate covers (retro-50s looking).

Feb 192013
 

Kevin Keller #9(Updated 4/22/13)

Here’s what’s of interest from Archie for May 2013. Full solicitations are available here.

Comics

  • Archie Double Digest #240, on sale May 29, $4
  • Archie & Friends Double Digest #28, on sale June 12, $4
  • Kevin Keller #9, on sale June 5, $3
  • Archie Double Digest #239, on sale May 1, $4
  • Life With Archie #29, on sale May 8, $4
  • Jughead’s Double Digest #192, on sale May 8, $4

Trade paperbacks

  • Archie’s 1000-page Comics Digest, on sale May 22, $15
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch: The Magic Within, vol. 2, on sale May 15, $11
  • Jinx, vol. 2: Little Miss Steps, on sale May 29, $10 (TPB)

Comments

Archie’s “GLEE” crossover is finally coming to an end, with what sounds like some sort of “Crisis on Earth-1/Crisis on Earth-2″ deal. Never having seen “GLEE,” I have zero interest, so skipped this one.

This month’s “Kevin Keller” sees (like most of the Archie titles this month) a summer vacation story. Besides going with his family on vacation, Kevin’s also working as a lifeguard, like in last year’s summer issues. The variant cover’s a take-off on a classic Sabrina the Teenage Witch cover, complete with the same 70s-era electronics.

Also worth noting is a 1000-page paperback of classic Archie stories. I assume it’s similar to the smaller-sized paperbacks on sale at Barnes and Noble for a discount, which might make this one a popular choice for kids.

Feb 112013
 

Kevin KellerKevin Keller: Welcome to Riverdale

Written by: Dan Parent
Art by: Dan Parent

Welcome to Riverdale” is a trade paperback that collects the first first four issues of Kevin Keller’s current ongoing series. (His appearances in “Veronica” and stand-alone miniseries were collected in an earlier volume.) Archie’s first openly gay character has proven to be pretty popular, so it’s nice to see his own series collected in a more durable (and bookshelf-friendly) format. While I’ve been buying “Kevin Keller” in a digital format, I can give my review of the individual comics that make up this volume:

Kevin Keller #1

Kevin goes on his first actual date. See my review here.

Kevin Keller #2

Kevin goes to the Riverdale High prom. See my review here.

Kevin Keller #3

It’s summer, and Kevin gets a job as a lifeguard at Riverdale’s beach. See my review here.

Kevin Keller #4

This issue sees the Keller family, with Veronica in tow, revisit their old stomping grounds of London in time for the Summer Olympics, which Kevin gets to participate in as a torchrunner. Kevin’s love life isn’t dealt with here; it’s mostly slapstick hijinks once the torch bearing begins. While a nice story, it’s also the most dated one out of the four. I expect once it’s reprinted in a digest some years from now, the Olympics references will be removed/changed to some fictional sporting event.

Overall, an enjoyable run so far. My one criticism is that I’m still waiting to see them show Kevin actually kiss someone (“baby steps” for Archie, apparently), though I assume that’ll be shown in a future story (“Kevin’s first kiss!”?).