Dan Parent on creating Kevin Keller and more

I spoke recently with Dan Parent, the writer and artist who works for Archie Comics and has been a key creative figure at the company in recent years. He's the artist on the Archie meets KISS storyline that's currently running, came up with the Archie and Valerie romance, illustrated the anniversary issue that came out last fall, but the reason we spoke and the reason he's getting so much attention is because he is the creator of Kevin Keller.

Keller, who is gay, is a pretty remarkable character. He's more than just a token figure, but one who fits in with the tone and tenor of Archie Comics. Plenty of people don't like Archie, which I can understand, but Keller's gayness has no angst or uncertainty. It's presented in a very matter-of-fact manner. In the first issue he stresses out about his first date and it feels like an Archie comic and there's something so wonderfully calming about reading it. Kevin Keller is just gay and no one feels the need to mention it. It happens, though not nearly as often as it should. It's a wonderfully comforting way to spend a few minutes.

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