Comic book legend Archie Andrews will die this week, taking a bullet to save Kevin Keller, Archie Comic's first openly gay character.
The beloved character will meet his end in Wednesday's special installment of Life with Archie when he intervenes in an assassination attempt on Keller. Life with Archie follows the grown-up adventures of the Riverdale gang, and will conclude with Archie's death, The Associated Press reports.
Surprised? Report: Archie from @archiecomics to die saving gay friend http://t.co/5BJzBS41I0 #abc15 pic.twitter.com/8vhnCCquds
— ABC15 Arizona (@abc15) July 14, 2014
Keller's character first joined the Archie universe in 2010, introduced in the Archie Comics spin-off Veronica, before appearing in his own title. In the Life with Archie storyline, he is a military veteran and nascent senator pushing for stricter gun laws in Riverdale after his husband is involved in a shooting.
Jon Goldwater, Archie Comics co-CEO and publisher, pointed out the weight that Archie's death is meant to carry:
"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. 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."
Goldwater stated that Archie "dies in the manner that epitomizes not only the best of Riverdale but the best of all of us," adding that it is "what Archie has come to represent over the past almost 75 years."
.@Archiecomics fans, get ready: In his final moment, Archie takes a bullet for his gay friend. http://t.co/aj8m78Ucqg pic.twitter.com/BX6sn0StfW — Co.Create (@FastCoCreate) July 14, 2014
Archie's death was first announced to fans in April, as The Inquisitr previously reported. Goldwater defended the decision at the time, saying that the moment "is the death of Archie as we see it, and we're treating it with that same level of gravitas and import. It's a once-in-a-lifetime event, and we are being very considerate about it."
Andrew Wheeler, writing for Comics Alliance, called the end of Life with Archie "a bitter resolution" to the storyline that saw Keller's gun control advocacy sparked by a violent act.
Archie's sacrifice isn't just a moment of heroism," he postulates, adding "it offers an unambiguous condemnation of America's lax gun laws." Wheeler isn't surprised to see the publisher taking on the topic of gun control, saying it "doesn't shy away from risky ideas."
Though the identity of the assassin hasn't been revealed, Life with Archie will formally conclude with next month's issue, which will see the Riverdale gang dealing with the aftermath of Archie's sacrifice. Goldwater says that the storyline isn't a stunt, but rather a statement about diversity and gun violence:
"Archie is not a superhero like all the rest of the comic book characters. He's human. He's a person. When you wound him, he bleeds. He knows that. If anything, I think his death is more impactful because of that. We hope by showing how something so violent can happen to Archie, that we can -- in some way -- learn from him."
[Image via MailOnline]