I’m sure everyone has a memory of sitting down and reading an Archie comic book. But the end is near for the legendary comic book character Archie Andrews. Or at least in one of his comic book universes.
Back in April, Archie Comics publisher and co-CEO Jon Goldwater told CNN that Archie Andrews would die in issue #36 of Life with Archie. Life with Archie is a comic-book series starring Archie and his friends that is set in an alternate universe. That enables the comics to portray possible futures for the beloved characters from the classic Archie Comics series, which includes Jughead, Betty, and Veronica.
Issue #36 of Life with Archie will arrive on stands this Wednesday and while it has not yet been revealed who actually kills Archie, Goldwater did announce how he dies. On Monday, Goldwater revealed to the Associated Press that Archie would die trying to prevent an assassination attempt on Kevin Keller, Archie Comics’ first openly gay character. Keller is a military veteran and newly elected senator who’s in favor of increased gun control.
“We wanted to do something that was impactful that would really resonate with the world and bring home just how important Archie is to everyone,” Goldwater told the AP. “That’s how we came up with the storyline of saving Kevin. He could have saved Betty. He could have saved Veronica. We get that, but metaphorically, by saving Kevin, a new Riverdale is born.”
Issue #36 is the second to the last issue of Life with Archie. The following issue, #37, will jump ahead one year to depict how Betty, Veronica, and the rest of the Riverdale bunch is coping with Archie’s death and portrays what they are doing to honor his legacy. Goldwater said that Archie’s heroic death is meant to “epitomize not only the best of Riverdale but the best of all of us,” and that hopefully it will be “a lesson about gun violence and a declaration of diversity in the new age of Archie Comics.”
My mother used to gift me Archie comics when I was away at summer camp. They were entertaining, funny, and portrayed a cute, bubbly world where girls were pretty, boys were sweet, and life was good. The idea of an alternate series of Archie comics that are more reality-based and cope with societal issues present today (i.e. gun violence) is fascinating and awesome. It is also appreciated they they added a homosexual character, as they should have. But not everyone does what the should, so when it happens, it is great.
Way to go, Archie Comics.