In 2010, Dan Parent created a handsome young sprout named Kevin Keller to add to the Archie Comics bunch. He was the first openly gay character in the series and Archie fans took the all-American boy next door right away, buying enough copies to warrant the first re-print of Archie Comics in 70 years. Last year, he aquired his very own spin off series and later Kevin married his partner in a popular issue of Life with Archie magazine, created by famous comics writer Paul Kupperberg.
Now, Kupperberg is putting out a children's novel (appropriate for ages 8-12) based on Kevin's life before meeting Archie and the gang, following him through middle school where he faces bullying, puberty, girls, boys, and other issues around being a young kid who doesn't quite fit in.
A child of the military, Kevin is moved from place to place throughout his childhood. For a young teenager confused about his sexuality and insecure about his appearance, being the new kid again and again just adds to the daunting task of finding an identity and keeping your head held high.
"Kevin was overweight, had braces, and collects comic books; he's an outsider," Kupperberg told Publisher's Weekly. "The story revolves around Kevin trying to come to terms with growing up and becoming aware of himself and his feelings towards the popular kid."
The Archie Comics series has always been a safe place of refuge for the huddled masses of the nerdy, the confused, and the clumsy. Kevin's story is a much needed addition to the accepting and kind-hearted community that is Riverdale High School.
The novel was released today, April 18, and is intended for ages 8 to 12.