You guys! Bleeding Cool! Fiona Staples’ variant cover for Life With Archie #24!! This is so good, you guys!!
THIS IS MAJESTIC.
Archie Comics responds to the American Family Association:
“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.”
— Archie Comics Co-CEO Jon Goldwater
Let’s talk for a moment about Archie and comics and folks who like to kiss folks who happen to identify as the same gender as they are. I am a comic book editor! You’re probably here, reading this, because of that fact. As a result, I spend a huge part of my day thinking about comics in nearly every way possible. Paper stock! Ladies in comics! Layout thumbnails! Pitches! Numbers for my books this month according to “the direct market”! Comics are a huge part of my everyday, and that’s mainly because I spent most of my childhood reading Archie digests, and Bone, and new/classic newspaper comics, and huge intimidating books about animation history. I was one of those kids!
I was also (and am!) a lady, and a tomboy, and lived in a tiny rural Arizona town. I loved comics, but comic shops weren’t exactly on every street corner, and the one (one!) that was 30 minutes from my house only sold me cold eyes and dark corners. So I read Disney Adventures, and Betty and Veronica Double Digest, and spent cold winter afternoons hiking up the pine-covered hillsides by my house to read by myself, to high-five Betty and roll my eyes good-naturedly at Veronica. These were older, powerful teenage girls, the kind I wanted to be, and how exciting was it to have them in a comics mag I could just toss into the heaping pile of my mom’s groceries once a week?
I am also, readers, a lady who regularly holds hands with another lady. I am confident, I am brash, and I am fearless, but this tweak inside terrified me so thoroughly that it became my secret self, the one that no one knew about for many, many years. Betty is tough, resourceful, and SO AWESOME, but she’s still supposed to chase after Archie. And you learn to bury yourself and become something else, because that’s what you see everywhere, that’s who you’re supposed to be. Because, you know, you’re a good kid.
xojane recently referenced this conversation from the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan CLASSIC You’ve Got Mail, and I feel like it might behoove the OneMillionMoms to read it:
Joe Fox: It wasn’t… personal.
Kathleen Kelly: What is that supposed to mean? I’m so sick of that. All that means is that it wasn’t personal to you. But it was personal to me. It’s personal to a lot of people. And what’s so wrong with being personal, anyway?
Joe Fox: Uh, nothing.
Kathleen Kelly: Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal.
See, because I’m not some caricature of who you think the villain in this story is, OneMillionMoms. I was a good kid. I got good grades, I helped my grandma make pies, I was on the student council, I was the yearbook editor. And Kevin Keller? Kevin Keller is personal. He’s personal to me, he’s personal to any kid who gets to see Kevin have these friends, these incredible friends that every kid wants, who love him and accept him for exactly who he is…which is a good kid. And I know you’re afraid, OneMillionMoms, of having your good kids ask questions, of having to explain why being like Kevin Keller is NOT OKAY, and not coming up with a convincing answer outside of your sincere conviction. But you gotta understand, for us, for these kids who have this secret self, this part of ourselves just is, no matter how terrible you tell us it makes us.And it’s so difficult to go through every day hating yourself when you’re trying so, so hard to be a good kid. With Kevin, Archie isn’t trying to be insidious. Archie is just trying to make those good kids understand that they shouldn’t hate themselves, that they’re just a bunch of good kids who are falling in love with other good kids. Like Archie and Betty, like Big Ethel chasing after Jughead. For every good kid out there that embraces this thing inside, whose friends love them unconditionally without judgement because they read about it in Archie first, it’s personal.
My lady sings “The Girl You Left Behind” from Fivel Goes West on the way to the grocery store. She rolls her eyes and tuts when our pal Zac’s shorts are too short, and she’s got a wicked crush on Gene Kelly. She’s aggressively excellent, the kind of girl that makes old ladies wink sideways to say, “You’ve got a real catch there, son.” She’s a good kid.
And I’m a good kid. Riverdale has always been the place for good kids.
Why shouldn’t one of them be like us?