Archie Andrews doesn't need to worry—that well-groomed new kid at Riverdale High that Veronica has her eye on won't be competing for her affection. Kevin Keller, the first gay Archie Comics character (who was announced in April), makes his debut today, and artist Dan Parent says there's been very little backlash. The reaction has been "overwhelmingly positive," he says. "Anyone under 25 thinks it's a non-issue. Even his conservative friends, he says, are telling him "I understand it. It's 2010, it's a different world."
Keller—who Jughead persuades not to reveal his sexuality to Veronica—will become a permanent member of the Archie gang. "I think it's great," comic writer Chris Sims tells the Daily Beast. "This is Archie Comics, the last bastion of idealized small-town life, going, 'Yep, this is totally OK.' Plus, I love the idea that when Jughead finds out Kevin's gay, his reaction isn't, 'Whoa, that's weird!' but, 'Hey, I can totally use that to prank Veronica.' "