Archie Comics, which last year debuted its first openly homosexual character, is tackling the issue of gays in the military in upcoming issues.
Gay teen Kevin Keller joined Archie, Veronica and the rest of the gang at Riverdale High in September.
Kevin, whose father is a retired Army colonel, wants to attend the U.S. Military Academy and serve as an army officer prior to becoming a journalist. In the first issue of a new four-issue miniseries debuting next week, Kevin asks his father if he should rethink his interest in the military.
“On the contrary! I don’t want to stop you,” Col. Keller replies. “It takes a special person to serve their country. Someone with heart and courage!”
“We just wanted to show a healthy father-son relationship where Kevin’s sexuality wasn’t an issue, similarly to the reaction he got from the gang in Riverdale,” Archie writer and artist Dan Parent told The Associated Press.
Parent said that was working on the story when Congress voted to allow gays to serve openly in the military. “Even though we don’t tackle the specific issue of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the goal was to show that patriotism knows no specific gender, race or sexual orientation,” Parent said. “While it sounds like heavy subject matter, I tried to show it simply that Kevin, like his dad, loves his country. Being gay doesn’t effect that in any way.”
Jon Goldwater, co-chief executive of Archie Comics, told the Associated Press that Kevin is not meant to be a divisive figure in comics or culture. “We’re not trying to come across as preachy or heavy-handed or even political.”