Comic book icon Archie dies taking a bullet for gay friend

Archie Andrews, the redheaded American teenager in the “ Archie” comic book series, will die taking a bullet protecting his gay friend in the issue that comes out on Wednesday (July 16).

But the death of the character who made his comic book debut more than 70 years ago is not meant to be a sob story, Archie Comics publisher and co-chief executive officer Jon Goldwater said on Tuesday. 

“It’s really not sad. Actually it’s inspirational,”Goldwater said. “Because Archie does what you would want Archie to do. He takes the bullet for his friend, and he would do that for anybody.”

Archie steps in front of a shot aimed at his friend Kevin Keller, who is targeted for his “personal point of view,” Goldwater said.

"Archie taking the bullet really is a metaphor for acceptance,” Goldwater said, adding that the assailant did not agree with Kevin’s personal life or political stance.

The issue, No. 36 in the flash-forward “Life with Archie” series, will be followed by an issue showing how his friends cope with his death a year later.

Archie’s death was announced in April, but the circumstances around his fate had been secret.

Jono Jarrett, a founder of New York-based Geeks OUT, an organization that supports gays who enjoy comics, said the narrative of Archie’s death was surprising.

“Archie Andrews is a very iconic all-American hero. To have him literally take a bullet for the ideas of diversity and equality in a comic book is a very powerful statement.”

Note: The events in the flash-forward series will not affect Archie in the present-day series, and Archie’s adventures as a teenager with his best friend, Jughead, and his girlfriends, Betty and Veronica, will continue.

Source: Reuters