In the latest Comic Book Legends Revealed, find out how an Archie comic storyline “boycotted” Russia because of Vladimir Putin’s anti-LGBT stance.
Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the eight hundred and twenty-eighth episode where we examine three comic book legends and determine if they are true or false. As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the three captions.
Archie Comics has ‘boycotted’ a script in Russia about Vladimir Putin’s anti-LGBT stance.
Years before he faced worldwide condemnation for his decision to invade Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin was facing worldwide condemnation for something quite different, his promotion of an anti-LGBT law in Russia. . The Guardian described the law, passed in June 2013…
Russian President Vladimir Putin has enacted a measure that stigmatizes homosexuals and prohibits giving children any information about homosexuality.
Russia’s lower house of parliament unanimously passed the Kremlin-backed bill on June 11 and the upper house approved it last week.
The Kremlin announced on Sunday that Putin had signed the legislation.
The ban on “non-traditional sex propaganda” is part of an effort to promote traditional Russian values over Western liberalism, which the Kremlin and the Russian Orthodox Church see as corrupting Russian youth and contributing to protests against Putin’s regime.
Heavy fines can now be imposed on those who provide information about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to minors or organize gay pride rallies.
The law has drawn criticism from around the world and has also led to a number of corporate boycotts of Russia over the law. Interestingly, one of the areas where Russia was “boycotted” was none other than the pages of Archie Comics.
Archie comics writer and artist Dan Parent is perhaps best known for creating Archie Comics’ first openly gay character, Kevin Keller, in the 2010s. Speedwell #202….
In a Comics Alliance interview, Parent recalled Keller’s creation: “When Jon Goldwater came along five years ago, we were looking to diversify Archie a little more. We were looking for too much white bread and we needed to add more characters.
I had offered to bring in a gay character a few years before, and it was quickly turned down, but Jon wanted new characters. When I suggested Kevin Keller, he was on board. He told me to design a story and the characters and go for it. And the character took off. People were ready to meet Kevin Keller. He is now one of Archie’s main characters and has been embraced by everyone. Not just LGBT people, but everyone. The kids love Kevin. There was some backlash from some conservative groups, but we followed our instincts and our hearts and we were smart about doing it. People embraced it.”
Well, in 2013 Parent was starting work on a script that would involve The Archie traveling the world on a rock tour, starting in India in Archie #650…
Interestingly, this issue had a variant cover by the brilliant Fiona Staples…
It’s notable because Staples would then reboot Archie with writer Mark Waid only a year later.
Anyway, Parent was asked by the Back2Stonewall website about Russian laws and he noted, “I just caught up. It’s really upsetting.
When asked by the website if he supported boycotts against Russia, Parent agreed and went further, explaining, “Yes. Russia should be boycotted, so much so that in fact, in an upcoming four-story special, I write, the Archie gang is going on a world tour of four countries. Russia had to be part of it. But they’re not going now. They just can’t and they won’t. They love and support Kevin.
Instead, the Archies traveled to China…
I don’t know which of the countries they ended up visiting replaced Russia (by the way, the rock tour also involved Josie and the Pussycats, which is important because a storyline shortly before this one involved Archie starting to date Valerie of Josie and the Pussycats, so them touring together and Archie meeting all these interesting girls in each of the countries made not only Betty and Veronica jealous, but Valerie too!).
Another interesting aspect of this story is that when Dan Parent went to work for Archie Comics in the late 1980s, more or less fresh out of the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art, his first MAJOR assignment was to start a brand new Speedwell ongoing series and the novel aspect of this new series, to begin with, was that each issue would see Veronica traveling to a new part of the world, starting with Paris…
In fact I believe it was literally the first time Dan Parent even did the cover of an Archie comic because I believe before that he had just done inside stories and for his first cover he worked on a Dan DeCarlo layout?! ? wow!
Anyway, of course, the ninth issue of the series saw Veronica travel to Russia, shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall…
It’s a bit difficult to reflect on how this story, so full of promise, looks with the news from Russia today, but it also hopefully gives us some hope that this kind of stories can one day come true again.
DISCOVER A FILM LEGENDS REVEALED!
In the latest Legends Revealed movie – did John Wayne seriously offer the role of Dirty Harry in dirty harry before Clint Eastwood landed the role?
PART THREE COMING SOON!
Check back soon for part 3 of the legends of this episode!
Feel free to send me suggestions for future comic legends at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
KEEP READING: The Surprising Origins of the Marry Me Comic
The Rumored Next MCU Super Team Just Got a Fresh Start – and a New Term
About the Author