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The Social Relevance of Comic Hero Archie's Death

This week, on Wednesday, longtime popular comic hero Archie will die as he attempts to save his gay friend, Kevin Keller, a senator, from an assassin. The character's death in the series, Life with Archie, bears social relevance at a time when gun control is still a hotly-debated issue in the country, and the LGBT community still grapples with discrimination.

The storyline goes that “Archie will die as he intervenes in an assassination attempt on senator Kevin Keller, Archie Comics' first openly gay character who is pushing for more gun control in Riverdale,” the Times Free Press wrote.

"We wanted to not only grab people's attention but really show the heroic nature of the character," said Archie Comics publishers and co-CEO Jon Goldwater. "He's willing to literally die to save his friend, Kevin. Archie would have died to save any of his friends. I think Archie would've even died to save a stranger."

Goldwater notes Archie's passing goes beyond that with a lesson about gun violence and a declaration of diversity in the new age of Archie Comics. “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."

The longtime comic series Archie has always been a wholesome fare for generations of Americans, having been around since the 1940's, and has become more socially relevant with the 'Life with Archie' series in order to cater to more mature fans of Archie who have grown up with him and his friends like Veronica, Betty, and Reggie.

Among the plots 'Life with Archie' has dealt with are gay character Kevin's marriage, the death of longtime teacher Ms. Grundy and Archie's love interest, Cheryl Blossom, tackling breast cancer and affordable health care.

Last month in June, the series welcomed a new character into its fold: Harper, Harper, the cousin to the diva socialite Veronica Lodge, who is disabled and a “spunky fashionista” with an incredible “dynamic personality.” (SocialWorkHelper.com)

'Life with Archie" series has been a meaningful vehicle for conveying the message of diversity, especially with a large readership ranging from the young to the older generations.

Times Free Press quotes Andrew Wheeler, who writes about the comic book industry at ComicsAlliance.com: "Archie's sacrifice isn't just a moment of heroism; it offers an unambiguous condemnation of America's lax gun laws."

Archie's publisher and writers deserve praise for all their work and effort in maintaining the wholesome, relevant character of Archie and for coming up with diverse plots that resonate with today's current issues.

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