Archie Comics' Kevin Keller

 
Some time ago I heard about the addition of Kevin Keller to Archie comics. Kevin is the first gay character ever to appear in the long running comic book series. According to Wikipedia the publication origins of Archie, Jughead, Betty, and Veronica date back to the 1940s. In 2012, roughly 70 years later, Kevin made his first appearance in the pages of Veronica No. 202.

 
Knowing little else about Kevin and having never read any of the stories he was in, I bought my first Kevin Keller comic at Ottawa Comic Con on May 11, 2014. There were three graphic novels to choose from, and I went with Kevin Keller: Drive Me Crazy, which has a guest appearance by Star Trek's George Takei (shown above). The polite man at the Archie Comics booth offered to sign the book for me, so I thought to my self "why not" and said yes. He asked me my name and signed it "For Mike, Best, Dan Parent". I glanced at the signature, said thank you, flipped through the comic once more, stuffed it into my bag and off I went.

Later that day when I got home and finally opened the comic to read it, it dawned on me that the guy at the booth was in fact the guy! Dan Parent is the creator, pencil artist and writer of the Kevin Keller comics!!! He also draws Archie and the gang for various Archie comics titles. Little did I know, I had been in the presence of such a remarkable person! After reading the book cover to cover I could only conclude:

The world needs Kevin Keller!

Thank you Dan Parent, and Archie Comics, for bringing this character to light!

I had read Archie comics off and on as a kid, but had never been interested in collecting them. Archie chased Betty and Veronica, and they chased him. So what! Jughead was the coolest character to me because he never seemed interested in the girls, he'd rather just sleep or fill his face with hamburgers. Now with Kevin Keller added to the mix...well, it would be very difficult to accurately express how amazing, remarkable, surreal, and awesome it is to read an Archie comic that I can identify with.

Even though the Kevin Keller stories are about experiences that I never had when I was a teenager in high school (being openly gay, having a boyfriend, dating, going to the prom), to see Kevin interacting with Archie and the gang, those characters that I grew up with, and seeing how included he is in his school is a wonderful experience. I guarantee you, that kind of inclusion is something that every gay kid since 1940, male or female, has dreamed of and longed for!

Our society certainly has come a long way since my own high school days, however in North America we're still not quite to the point of understanding that is shown by the gang in Riverdale. Just read some of the comments that people post online about gay issues (including the news about Kevin Keller joining Archie comics). Sadly, there's still far too much ignorance and hatred in the world regarding homosexuals.

But now gay kids, and adults alike, have something that makes it a little easier to cope in a heterosexual world. This is more than just a comic book. How refreshing to at long last see in a major, main stream publication what that dream of inclusion looks like in full colour!

It really does make the world of difference.

Kevin Keller's first kiss. So cute!
 
Kevin Keller's Boyfriends
 
I've ordered the two graphic novels that I'm missing, so soon I'll have all three! I'll update this page with more info once I read them all. For now, here is a list of Kevin's boyfriends from the graphic novel Kevin Keller: Drive me Crazy.
 
Brian
Brian is Kevin's date in the story "By George", which shows the guest appearance by George Takei
 
Todd
Todd and Kevin go on a date in the story "Drive Me Crazy".
 
Devon
Devon is introduced and becomes Kevin's boyfriend in "Decisions, Decisions". He's the one Kevin is kissing in the "first kiss" picture shown above. (I'm not sure what graphic novel has the "first kiss" story, but as soon as I find out I'll update this info.) So far, Devon is my favourite boyfriend for Kevin. I like the fact that he has a longer hair style.
 
Paul
Paul shows up in "Decisions, Decisions" and makes Devon jealous, causing problems for Kevin.
 
Kevin Keller comics and collectables
All of the awesome stuff shown below can be bought through the archiecomics.com website at this link:
 

Kevin Keller: Welcome to Riverdale
This graphic novel collects several Kevin Keller stories that were published in Archie comics.

Kevin Keller
This hardcover graphic novel includes Kevin's first appearance.

Kevin Keller: Drive Me Crazy
As mentioned in the above article, this collection of Kevin Keller stories includes the guest appearance by Star Trek's George Takei.

This is a life size, free-standing, cardboard  cut-out of Kevin Keller.
Other Archie characters are available too!

"Team Kevin"
The official Kevin Keller T-Shirt!

Other Graphic Novels
Here are two more graphic novels about Kevin, but for some reason they aren't available on the Archie Comics site (at least I couldn't find them). I'm assuming they're available though comic shops or books stores.

Kevin
This book is about Kevin's early years.
 
Archie: The Married Life, Book 3
This book includes Kevin's Wedding, which I understand takes place at some point in the future to a character named Dr. Clay Walker. I find this sort of spoils the current storyline with Devon, so I'm not sure I really want to know about all of this yet! Poor Devon. I hope this married storyline is just an alternate reality to the real Kevin Keller storyline, allowing Kevin and Devon to stay together.

Facts about Kevin Keller

Did you know that Kevin Keller has his own Facebook page? You can friend Kevin here:
https://www.facebook.com/KevinKellerOfficial

Kevin has an alter ego as a superhero called the Equalizer!!! 

Kevin was an ambassador for GLAAD's Spirit Day on Oct 7, 2013.
 
In May 2013 the Kevin Keller comic series received a GLAAD Media Award.

Individual Kevin Keller Comics
It's my understanding that these back issues are now out of print. Most issues seem to have at least one variant cover. There are also different titles "Veronica Presents Kevin Keller", "Archie's Pal Kevin Keller", and "Kevin Keller", but I don't know if these are the same comics with different covers or completely different comics altogether. Retro covers were also made, and each of these have a different title as well. As I'm not yet sure what all this means, below I show all the same number of an issue together (for example all the issues that say No 1 are shown together).

 
Veronica Presents Kevin Keller No 1, Everything's Kevin Keller No 1 - variant cover

Kevin Keller No 1
 
Veronica Presents Kevin Keller No 2, Veronica Presents Kevin Keller No 2 - variant cover
 
Kevin Keller No 2, Kevin Keller Comics No 2 - variant cover
 
Veronica Presents Kevin Keller No 3, Kevin Keller Summer Fun! No 3 

Kevin's Summer Fun No 3- variant cover

Veronica Presents Kevin Keller No 4

Archie's Pal Kevin Keller No 4, Life with Kevin No 4 - variant cover
 
Kevin Keller No 5 - variant cover, Kevin Keller No 5 - original cover (I couldn't find a picture)

 Archie's Pal Kevin Keller No 6

Archie's Pal Kevin Keller No 7
 
Archie's Pal Kevin Keller No 8 - original cover (picture is missing)
 
Archie's Pal Kevin Keller No 8, variant cover

Archie's Pal Kevin Keller No 9

Kevin the Teen-aged Warlock No 9 - variant cover

Archie's Pal Kevin Keller No 10
 
Archie's Pal Kevin Keller No 11

Archie's Pal Kevin Keller No 11 - variant cover

Archie's Pal Kevin Keller No 12, Archie's Pal Kevin Keller No 12 - variant cover

Archie's Pal Kevin Keller No 13

Archie's Pal Kevin Keller No 14

 
Archie's Pal Kevin Keller No 15, Archie's Pal Kevin Keller No 15 - variant cover
 
More pictures of Kevin Keller

 
 


 
 
 
 
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 Text copyright Mike Artelle, 2014

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