The popular comic book company, Archie Comics, features its first gay wedding after over 70 years of publications.
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (JANUARY 26, 2012) (REUTERS) -Famed comic book company, Archie Comics, has just celebrated its first-ever wedding. The 73-year old company which produces the Archie Comic book series hosted a gay wedding in the pages of the Life with Archie # 16.
Kevin Keller, a new character introduced last year in the teen and adult of versions of the series, married an African-American doctor he meet while recovering from injuries he sustained as an Army war hero serving in Iraq.
Since news of the nuptials broke last year in November, Archie Comics CEO John Goldwater said the response has been mainly positive.
"People are shocked, surprised and honestly they are thrilled that we are taking the next step and we're not making Kevin a one-off character and we didn't do it for the publicity. I mean Kevin is an important character in the world of Riverdale," Goldwater told Reuters.
Kevin was first introduced in 2010 and is the first new character in the 70 years of Archie to make an impact with readers. The idea for a gay character came after Goldwater asked his writers think outside the box. One of them responded with the idea to introduce a gay male character.
A year later, Goldwater said the decision to feature a gay wedding was less about a making a statement and more about following the sign of the times.
"Kevin and Clay getting married really is just a reflection of what is going in the world today, you know. If you get married in Riverdale, Riverdale accepts everybody, so this was just more of an acceptance, it really wasn't a statement on any new laws, it was just - you come to Riverdale, you're welcome, you're accepted, whatever your, you know, whatever you want to do is accepted as long as you're following, you know, being a good person and the important things in life," said Goldwater.
Archie comic fan Stanlyn Jinnez seems to agree with the companies thinking: "I think it's cool, it shows the diversity in the world and that it's growing and they are showing it through the comic books."
Gay rights organization GLAAD was happy to learn about the issue and said the character is helping create tolerance.
"I think what's really great about it being in a comic book is that it's not so threatening in a way. Marriage equity is sometimes framed as a very serious issue and what we're finding is that for many people it's just another piece of life," said Herndon Graddick, senior director of communications.
Archie's creation of the Kevin Keller mini-series has earned the company a nomination from GLAAD in its outstanding comic book category. This series also marks the first time a comic book company has ever devoted an entire issue to a gay character.
On the streets of New York most people were thrilled to learn about the historic release.
"I think it's a good thing. My father is gay. I believe in gay marriage, so why not," said Conrad Phillips.
"I think it's wonderful. I think it's great to have it in Archie because I think kids probably read it. So, it's great," said Sara Freeman.
As with most married couples, life for Kevin and Clay will feature many highs and lows.
"I think the future of Kevin and Clay is very bright, but there is definitely going to be things coming up in the future which are unexpected and a lot of trials, lots of tribulations going forward. But Kevin and Clay right now are very happy newlyweds, so to speak, and they're going to start making their place in the world of Riverdale. But the future, just like with anyone as you get older, the future has twists and turns that are unexpected," said Goldwater.
The winners of the GLAAD awards will be announced in March.