Earlier today, Archie Comics announced a new, digital-first series set in the world of Life With Archie.
Titled Life With Kevin, the new series from writer/artist Dan Parent and artist J. Bone will center on the life of Kevin Keller, starting shortly after college. The character won't live in Riverdale during the series, and it will not pick up from the heartbreaking end of Life With Archie, but rather bridge the gap between "traditional" high school adventures in Riverdale and the adult lives of previous Life With... comics.
Parent joined ComicBook.com to talk about the series, which will debut in June on the Archie app and other digital comics formats. You can see some promotional art below, as well.
Obviously Kevin Keller is a big symbolic part of Archie's success. Ever since his introduction, the company feels like it's been moving at hyperspeed. What is it about the character that you think connected with people?
I think Kevin connected with people because he's a likable character everybody can relate to. He's the boy next door; he's the friend you can count on. And the fact that we all have LGBT friends and family at this point, it makes him relatable in that respect too.
To take the characters of Archie, Betty, and Veronica into the future in Life With Archie, I'd assume was fairly easy because you have a pretty well-established core of the characters and you can extrapolate out. What key elements of Kevin do you use as a foundation for Life With Kevin?
Well, Kevin's core characteristics have been established. But since he's a new character, we have a little more room to explore him. He's still a good guy, but we'll see more flaws and as we all know, it's tougher out in the real world, even for those who appear to have it all.
Tell us a little bit about Life With Kevin in particular; does it spin out of Life With Archie, or is it a slightly different future?
Life with Kevin takes place right out of college. Life with Archie had the characters in their adult lives; this story takes place before that point, right at the place where you dive into the real world. As we all remember, it's an exciting time, as it is also an anxious and nerve-wracking time.
Kevin's no longer in Riverdale -- are there any familiar faces we might encounter along the way?
We have new friends and new loves for Kevin of course. The one element that carries over from the past Kevin stories is Veronica. Kevin and Veronica were such a strong team, and she is such a comic foil for him that there are just too many stories to tell about this dynamic duo!
The miniseries you wrote dealt with Kevin's pre-Riverdale life quite a bit, and this story will deal with post-Riverdale. Is there something about this character that makes you want to move him out of those familiar environs?
It's always good to try new settings and environments, in real life and in fictional comic book stories!
Is it a bit surreal for you, realizing that in the near future this character you created will be on TV?
That is definitely surreal! It’s also interesting watching the casting process. It was strange hearing a human voice to Kevin, because that's not an option in comics. But it's pretty fascinating!
Obviously you're the current standard-bearer for the look and feel of the pre-reboot Archie. Have you been watching the new material?
I have. My heart always lies with the classic style, but Mark Waid is a true talent, and I've always been a big fan of Fiona Staples. It's good to see that even though there are fans for the reboot, there is still a huge fan base for the classic style.
We've seen that the military remains a big part of Kevin's life in previous flash-forward stories. What went into the decision of making the first openly gay Archie character so tied to an institution that is historically not friendly to LGBT individuals?
Even though the military isn’t known for being so friendly to the LGBT community, we wanted to show not how it is, but how it SHOULD be. The stories in Archie comics have always been a fantasy of real life, and an escape from the real world. Hence Kevin's happy upbringing. It ties in with the rest of the idealized world of Riverdale. But we're aware it's not so happy for everybody in the LGBT community in real life.
What's one thing you'd want our readers to know about Life With Kevin that I didn't give you a chance to say here?
That the new storyline is FUN! And co-artist J. Bone really adds a whimsical touch to my pencils. The story is sort of classic Archie meets new, and even though the story is more adult, it's still a great escape!