By Anna Jaffray
January’s issue of Life with Archie, set in the future, features a same-sex, inter-racial marriage between a military officer, Kevin Keller, and his military doctor boyfriend, Clay Walker. Archie is known as a popular all-American comic in print since 1942.
One Million Moms, an offshoot of the American Family Association (AFA), has called for a boycott against Toys R Us for selling the new Life with Archie comic at their registers. The organization has recently been in the news for their failed JC Penny boycott against the hiring of Ellen DeGeneres as a spokeswoman.
Openly gay character Kevin Keller was first introduced in Life with Archie, as a service member in Iraq. However, he suffers a tragic injury in battle. Keller returns a war hero after meeting his boyfriend, Dr. Clay Walker, while recovering in the hospital.
Recent issue #16 now features the two characters’ marriage in Riverdale with all the classic characters like Archie, Betty, Jughead and Veronica present for the nuptials. While many see this as a controversial move fueled by political motivations, the writers at Archie see Keller and his marriage to Walker as just another part of American life.
Jon Goldwater, co-CEO of Archie Comics said, “We stand by Life with Archie #16. As I’ve said before, Riverdale is a safe, welcoming place that does not judge anyone. It’s an idealized version of America that will hopefully become reality someday. We’re sorry the American Family Association and OneMillionMoms.com feels so negatively about our product, but they have every right to their opinion, just like we have the right to stand by ours. Kevin Keller will forever be a part of Riverdale, and he will live a happy, long life free of prejudice, hate and narrow-minded people.”
One Million Moms acknowledges the uphill battle they face to fight homosexuality. The AFA rooted organization, which refused to comment, said on its website, “Unfortunately children are now being exposed to same-sex marriage in a toy store. Issues of this nature are being introduced too early and too soon, which is becoming extremely common and unnecessary.”
The writers at Archie plan to further extend their message of acceptance and an idealized America by introducing a new Kevin Keller series that will address Keller’s high school years as an openly gay teen.