Back in April, it was reported that Archie Andrews, the beloved, all-American boy next door, would soon be meeting his fate. Sadly, that time has come–and in a manner nobody would have predicted back in 1941, when the comic first launched.
On Wednesday, Archie will be fatally shot while protecting his friend Kevin Keller from a stalker’s bullet. Our protagonist has always had a do-gooder streak, though Keller is a relatively recent addition to the storyline. Appearing in 2010, in the comic’s “Veronica” spinoff, he was the series’ first gay character.
In Life with Archie, Keller is a military vet and senator who has been advocating for gun control in Riverdale ever since his husband was involved in a shooting. A teaser panel for Wednesday’s dramatic climax, shows Archie running toward a revolver. Then we see Archie slumped and bleeding in the arms of Veronica and Betty.
“The way in which Archie dies is everything that you would expect of Archie,” said Archie Comics publisher and co-CEO, Jon Goldwater, in a statement. “He dies heroically. He dies selflessly. He dies in the manner that epitomizes not only the best of Riverdale but the best of all of us. It’s what Archie has come to represent over the past almost 75 years.”
Goldwater said that Archie Comics wanted their hero to have a meaningful conclusion. “He could have saved Betty. He could have saved Veronica. We get that, but metaphorically, by saving Kevin, a new Riverdale is born.”
Archie was never intended to be a political figure. Politics is messy and his narrative was squeaky clean: populated with soda shops, buddy friendships, and Saturday night dates. But we don’t live in a soda shop world. We never did. So Archie’s end isn’t revolutionary or new; it’s just that he finally caught up with reality.