I have said it many times on this site that I’m not much of a comic book reader, but as it turns out that may be somewhat of a lie. I’ve been reading Archies ever since we found a massive stockpile of them in my Grammy’s attic–she used to work at a publishing house and bring them home for my Mom, and luckily for me we still have them ALL. Reading Archies is a habit I still haven’t been able to kick, and I pick them up every now and again at the grocery store, when I’m not downloading them directly to my Kindle.
You can imagine my excitement when there was a whole panel dedicated to my (second) favorite red-head at NYCC 2011, and they announced that Archie’s friend Kevin Keller was about to make a fabulous announcement as he strolled out of the closet. Later that year, Archie’s Pal Kevin Keller launched; the first ever Archie comic series to deal with gay teens.
This week at the grocery store I noticed something amazing: George Takei is on the cover of Kevin Keller.
It’s a well-known fact that Takei is an out-of-the-closet gay man, in fact he and his husband Brad often speak out for gay rights, including as part of the “It Gets Better Campaign”, where Takei specifically discussed the “douchebags” of the world who resort to bullying gay teens. Knowing all this, it was totally unsurprising to see Takei on the cover of the most recent Kevin Keller, but it was still awesome.
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The storyline was surprisingly light-handed with it’s themes. Maybe that’s what we need–two young fellows go to the movies together and muse on how much they have to be thankful for at the same time as thinking about how far we still have to go in the world of gay rights. Although the light-handed nature allows the message to extend beyond equality for gay kids. Takei’s family was forced to spend time in a Japanese internment camp during WWII, and the comic does not ignore the fact that inequality is a wide-spread and long-standing problem in America, for a lot of groups of people.
Kevin presents a report on how Takei is his inspirational hero for all his personal triumphs, and the fact that he and Brad fight for “diversity and equality all over the world!” The crew decides to go to the “Smithville Comic-con” where Takei happens to be appearing (of course), and Veronica decides to tag along just for the chance to dress up. No one calls her out for being a “fake geek girl”, and no one drills her on the history of Wonder Woman (the costume she decides to wear). When she laughs “Wow! Look at all these weirdos!” Jughead retorts “You should feel right at home!” and she doesn’t argue with him. Because we’re all kind of weirdos, aren’t we?
In conclusion, George Takei’s story in Kevin Keller shows that he’s more than just a gay nerd for gay nerds; he’s a gay nerd for equality of ALL kinds.
Read more Kevin Keller!