archie-gaycharacter

Archie and the gang will meet Kevin Keller, the venerable teen comic's first openly gay character, this fall. ((Archie Comic Publications Inc.))

Riverdale's first openly gay character is set to join Archie and the gang at Pop's Chocklit Shoppe this fall, the publisher of the venerable comic book has announced.

On Sept. 1, the comic Veronica #202 will introduce Kevin Keller, a newcomer who catches the eye of the titular raven-haired beauty and sometimes Archie love interest in the full-issue story Isn't it Bromantic?

According to Archie Comic Publications, "Kevin Keller is the new hunk in town and Veronica just has to have him... Mayhem and hilarity ensue as Kevin desperately attempts to let Veronica down easy and her flirtations only become increasingly persistent."

"The introduction of Kevin is just about keeping the world of Archie Comics current and inclusive," Archie Comics co-CEO Jon Goldwater said in an online posting Thursday.

"Archie's hometown of Riverdale has always been a safe world for everyone. It just makes sense to have an openly gay character in Archie comic books."

The Keller character is part of an overall commitment to stay relevant with today's teens, the publisher said.

Last year, Archie Comic Publications caused a stir with a six-issue storyline that purportedly saw the perennial fence-sitter Archie Andrews finally choose between girl-next-door Betty Cooper and wealthy heiress Veronica Lodge.

In the meantime, Archie is in an interracial relationship: the current issues have him dating Valerie, the bassist from the girl group Josie and the Pussycats.