For Archie, the venerable comic that started in 1941, 2012 is the year of Kevin Keller, the franchise's gay, blond military hunk. Kevin Keller's wedding is featured in January's Life With Archie. And his own series dedicated to his high school past kicks off February 8. Kevin's creator, Dan Parent, gave us the scoop.
Why did you expand Kevin's role? As much as we like to be on the forefront, if things don't sell, we don't continue with them. His debut in 2010 was the first time we ever had to go to a second printing in 70 years.
What was the initial reaction to Kevin? For every 50 positive comments, we got one negative. We lost something like nine subscriptions--and gained thousands.
Was Kevin based off a celebrity? I was thinking of Justin Timberlake, but he ended up looking like the teacher on Glee, Mr. Schuester.
How did you come up with Kevin's husband, Clay?
I thought it was good to have an African-American character. And then, everyone was like, "You gotta make him a really good-looking African-American guy." Everybody gave suggestions at the office: "Do Blair Underwood!" I said, "I think I'm focusing on the guy in the Old Spice commercials."