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September 1, 2010

The guy Veronica will never get

Filed under: News, pop culture — posted by Breakup Girl @ 6:12 am

On stands today: Riverdale’s “hot new guy,” who’s gay. Yes, that Riverdale, home of Archie, Jughead, Betty, and now Kevin, who is really, really, not interested in Veronica. As comics fans first heard in the spring, “the most mainstream, Middle-American comic book” — which last made headlines with a good old-fashioned traditional marriage — has now officially gone the way of, well, actual communities with gay people in them. Win.

What’s extra-cool here, as Barbara Spindel reports in the Daily Beast, is how — how mellowly — the gayness is presented and framed. “After Kevin and Jughead enjoy some homosocial bonding at a hamburger-eating contest, Jughead warns the new kid that Veronica isn’t likely to stop pursuing him until he returns her flirtations. ‘It’s nothing against her. I’m gay,’ Kevin explains nonchalantly, showing how much more casual coming out has become since the X-Men superhero Northstar made headlines in 1992 with this clunky announcement: ‘For while I am not inclined to discuss my sexuality with people for whom it is none of their business — I am gay!’”

Also, Spindel notes, the fact that he’s gay does not become the plot. Instead, it gets absorbed right in as the basis of some true-to-Archie-world hijinks: “Far from being labored, Kevin’s coming out feels entirely relevant to a comic book about how teens relate. What’s more, Parent uses Kevin’s sexuality as an ingenious plot device that fits seamlessly within the well-worn Archie narrative. ‘Kevin is going to tell her that he’s gay, but Jughead tells him not to because he enjoys seeing Veronica making a fool of herself,’ [veteran Archie artist Dan Parent] explains. ‘Everyone knows he’s gay except Veronica. Betty doesn’t push it because she realizes if Veronica is chasing Kevin then she’s got the time for Archie.’”

Setting aside my only concern — Veronica’s gaydar clearly needs to go into the shop — what I also like here is the reminder of connection made between gayness and wholesomeness (if, indeed, wholesomeness is to be considered a worthy goal). Gay here (and in real life) does not (necessarily) equal subversive, alterna-,  Adam Lambert, or “worse.” Why, the gays fit right in, see? That’s what always puzzled me, in a certain way, about the whole gay marriage thing. It’s like, “People. We scared you when we were flamboyant and counter culture. Now we’re trying to settle down, just like you, and you’re really freaked out?!”

Speaking of marriage — and perhaps the best news of all — Archie Comic Publications editor in chief Victor Gorelick noted to the Daily Beast that protest was much more vociferous when the news broke that Archie would marry Veronica. Perhaps we can look forward to seeing Riverdale celebrate the wedding of Kevin and, I don’t know, Steve?

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October 6, 2009

The Betty not taken

Filed under: News, Treats, media, pop culture — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:57 am

Struggling with the ultimate romantic choice? The one you’ve got vs. the one that got away? Familiar and stable vs. fizzy and exciting? Veronica vs. Betty?

Well, envy Archie.* Looks like our man in Riverdale may get to have it both ways.

As today’s Times reports: “That perennially teenage redhead…made headlines around the world when word leaked, back in May, that he would propose to his longtime love interest, Veronica Lodge, in issue No. 600 of the comic that bears his name. But that issue, published in August, was only Part 1 of a six-part story. Although Archie did marry Veronica, things will take a turn in November, when Archie proposes to the lady in waiting, Betty Cooper. That’s just the latest twist in the romantic triangle that has thrust this nearly 70-year-old character, and his parent company, into the media spotlight.”

How’s he gonna pull that off? Easy: alternate universe! “The wedding story was written by Michael E. Uslan and illustrated by Stan Goldberg, a longtime ‘Archie’ artist. The first half was called ‘Archie Marries Veronica,’ but issue No. 603, on sale next month, is called ‘Archie Marries Betty.’ The end of bachelorhood began in issue No. 600, in which Archie found himself on a road named Memory Lane, which he has often traveled. This time he walked a different direction and encountered a fork in the road. He chose the left path, which allowed him to see his future with Veronica and their twins, and himself working for her tycoon father. At the end of the October issue, No. 602, Archie goes for an evening stroll and encounters the fork again. In the November issue Archie will find himself back in Riverdale High, this time envisioning a future with Betty as his wife. (A set of twins factors into this destiny as well.)”

(Doctor Who fans will recall when this totally happened to Donna Noble, only instead of twins there was a giant bug. And — Halloween preview — let’s not forget Breakup Girl Friday in Ghost Ex!)

But the question remains: who do you think he should wind up with? (”Jughead” would of course be a revolutionary twist, but I don’t think we’re there yet.)

* And talk to The Guy At The End of the Bar.

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