Archie Comics has fired back at the American Family Association after its affiliate “One Million Moms” called out retailer Toys R Us for selling an Archie comic book that features a “just married” same-sex couple.
The comic book at issue is the latest edition of the “Life with Archie” series, and in a first for mainstream comic books, fictional Riverdale gathered for the wedding of character Kevin Keller and his partner Clay — the comic book was released this month.
John Goldwater, CEO of Archie Comics has responded, to the controversy, reports Bleeding Cool, implying that Archie Comics has long-term plans for the Kevin Keller character:
“We stand by Life with Archie #16.
“As I’ve said before, Riverdale is a safe, welcoming place that does not judge anyone. It’s an idealized version of America that will hopefully become reality someday.
“We’re sorry the American Family Association/OneMillionMoms.com feels so negatively about our product, but they have every right to their opinion, just like we have the right to stand by ours. Kevin Keller will forever be a part of Riverdale, and he will live a happy, long life free of prejudice, hate and narrow-minded people.“
One Million Moms has demanded that Toys R Us “remove all the same-sex ‘Just Married – Archie’ comic books immediately from your shelves” before children are “exposed to same-sex marriage.”
So far, Toys R Us has not made a statement regarding One Million Moms‘ demands.
Kevin Keller was introduced to Archie fans in 2010, becoming the first gay character in the series’ 70 year history.
His instant popularity with fans led to that sold-out comic becoming the first in the publisher’s history to go into a second printing, triggering a four-issue spin-off last summer — the series, told in flashbacks, revealed Kevin’s struggles and triumphs through middle and high school.
Last July, Archie Comics announced that Kevin’s character would have his own monthly comic book starting this year.
Archie Comics’ Dan Parent was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award in 2011 for creating Kevin.
Earlier this month, One Million Moms launched a similar, unsuccessful protest against retailer JC Penney, demanding that they fire Ellen DeGeneres as their spokesperson because she is openly gay.