While most of the Riverdale High School crew has been enjoying various antics since the early 1940s, one standout character didn’t come onto the scene until much more recently. Kevin Keller first debuted in 2010’s Veronica #202, with the storyline “Isn’t It Bromantic?” in which Veronica immediately takes interest in him. However, the two end up as good friends instead after Kevin explains to her that he isn’t interested in her, because he’s a gay man – and in the process, he became the first openly gay character for Archie Comics.
Kevin was created by writer-artist Dan Parent as a way to show that “Riverdale is in the 21st century,” Parent said around the time of Kevin’s debut. Beginning in 2011, Kevin received his own miniseries and later received an ongoing title (which ended after 15 issues). In these stories, Kevin’s backstory was explained – before he came to Riverdale, he was an Army brat, and experienced a number of hardships while in middle school.
A more recent series instead looked into Kevin’s future; Live with Kevin explored what he’ll be up to many years from now, where he’s living in New York City, trying to enjoy his love life, and still, for some reason, putting up with Veronica’s antics. The character has also appeared in Afterlife with Archie (in which he proves himself to be particularly skilled with a bow and arrow) and in Life with Archie: The Married Life, which showed him getting married to Clay Walker and eventually being elected to the U.S. Senate. Kevin played a major role in the “Death of Archie” storyline, as Archie ended up sacrificing himself in order to save Kevin from an assassination attempt.
In The CW’s Riverdale television series, Kevin is portrayed by Casey Cott, and he plays a pretty significant role (as of season two, he’s a main character, after being a recurring one in the first). In the show, he’s close with both Betty and Veronica. He also struggles with his sexuality throughout the show, especially since the guy he’s interested in – Moose Mason – isn’t willing to be openly gay.
Kevin has proved to be a hugely popular character for Archie Comics, and the character was praised by a number of LGBT+ organizations, such as GLAAD, for being a positive image of a gay man in media. He continues to be seen throughout the various Archie-related books, and is bound to continue to play a role in the future, with Archie #700 on the horizon.