Written by Dan Parent
Art by Dan Parent and Rich Koslowski
Release Date: December 5, 2012

Kevin Keller #6Archie’s pal Kevin has to give a presentation to his class on “People Who Inspire Us” and there’s no better choice than TV legend (and out gay man) George Takei. But when Kevin hears his inspiration is coming to Riverdale, it’s time to pull out all the stops to meet him!

Wow. If only 12 year-old me could receive this book through a wormhole, what a different view on the world I would have had growing up. It’s really nothing short of amazing to look back at comics history and realize that I can count on one hand how many ongoing series have had solo LGBT stars, and one of them is published by Archie Comics. Archie, once the poster boy for conservative middle America, has grown with the times, and welcomed his pal Kevin into the fold as warmly as he did Moose or Jughead. It’s been outstanding to watch Archie Comics take a stand on inclusion these past few years, signaling what I hope is a sea change for the country as a whole. That said, this issue honestly went a step further, and I couldn’t be happier.

Not only do we get to see Kevin Keller living his everyday life in a town and at a school that accepts and cherishes his presence, but we also get to see him recognize a real gay person that makes a difference in the world. Sure, George Takei isn’t brokering peace in the Middle East (although I daresay he could if he put his mind to it), but he’s living a very public, very out life and taking every opportunity he has to speak his mind and stand up for his community. No longer simply a microcosm for wishful thinking, Riverdale has bridged the gap to reflect a real movement in the world towards equality, and it’s heartwarming to read.

Politics aside, this issue is just plain fun as well. Parent’s characterization of Kevin as a good friend and positive thinker never treads into Pollyanna territory, but reinforces him as someone you’d like to be more like: just a plainly nice guy. He’s not perfect, but his foibles are mild in comparison to his strengths. Parent keeps layouts fun and fresh throughout, overlapping panels to lead the reader’s eye from page to page. Sure, his drawing style follows common all-ages convention that Archie Comics have maintained over the years, but he still manages to illicit a fair amount of unique expression out of every character from panel to panel. Plus, where else are you going to get such a brilliantly illustrated sound effect as “KA-FLOP”?

If you haven’t checked out Archie Comics in a while, or the ongoing Kevin Keller series, there’s really no time like the present. Perfect for adults and kids alike, this issue is well worth your time and money. Buy two and find some 12 year-old kid who could use some inspiration. You won’t be sorry. And neither will he or she.

Verdict: 9.0/10


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