The hallmark love triangle of Archie Comics may be getting a little more complicated.
Archie Comics announced Thursday the addition of an openly gay teen in the comic book series -- a first in its 69-year history.
The wavy blonde-haired and blued eyed Kevin Keller will start walking the halls of Riverdale High School on Sept. 1, in a Veronica No. 202 issue entitled “Isn’t it Bromantic?”
Jon Goldwater, co-CEO of Archie Comics told NBCNewYork.com that the concept for Kevin came up at a creative production meeting last fall at the Archie offices, which are based in Mamaroneck, New York. The team was talking about Veronica, when artist-writer Dan Parent proposed something new.
“She’s rich, she’s beautiful and she’s got a way with people,” said Goldwater. “So [Parent] said ‘What if we write a story where she can’t get what she wants?’”
Goldwater said that Parent came up with the idea of introducing a very attractive, gay male character that Veronica falls for because it was the only way he could think of Veronica not getting her way.
In his debut story, Kevin, as the new hunk in town, catches Veronica’s eye when he defeats Jughead in a burger-eating contest at Pop’s Chocklit Shoppe.
“Mayhem and hilarity ensue as Kevin desperately attempts to let Veronica down easy and her flirtations only become increasingly persistent,” Archie Comics said in a statement.
Kevin explains why he’s not interested in Veronica to Jughead by saying, “It’s nothing against her! I’m gay!”
Kevin then says, “I guess I should just be up front,” but Jughead urges him to wait to tell Veronica so he can enjoy watching her make a fool out of herself.
Response to the announcement of a gay character has been “overwhelmingly positive,” according to Goldwater.
“Most people are thrilled that Archie continues to make Riverdale a place that people feel safe, and Riverdale is inclusive,” Goldwater said. “Teenagers have a lot of pressure, so it’s important for Archie and the rest of the gang to be accepting.”
Although the company is still figuring out how the plot line will develop, Goldwater assured that “Kevin is here to stay. He’s not a one-shot.”
Goldwater also confirmed that this fall, Riverdale High School will accommodate 50 more students from another school that will close as a result of budget cuts.
“We want Archie to be a place that reflects what’s going on in the world today,” he said.
In another twist, Archie has put his decades-long love triangle with Veronica and Betty on hold to date Valerie from Josie and the Pussycats, the first regular African American character.
Archie Comics was founded in 1939, with the Archie Andrews character first appearing in 1941. Goldwater expressed his gratitude towards the fans of the comic for all the support.
“We will be celebrating our 70 year anniversary in 2011, and we’ll be here for at least another 70 years-- if not forever,” he said. “Archie Comics is as vibrant as ever.”