We already knew that Archie would die via a gunshot wound he would receive during an act of heroism, in the pages of this week’s Life with Archie #36. A new article from the Associated Press has now revealed that Archie will receive the wound while protecting his friend, and Archie Comics’ first openly gay character, Kevin Keller.
"The way in which Archie dies is everything that you would expect of Archie," said Jon Goldwater, Archie Comics publisher and co-CEO. "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."
Archie’s heroic death will end the Life with Archie series (following the “one year later” issue #37), which featured adult versions of the Riverdale high gang. In the series, Keller is a married military veteran and newly elected senator who is pushing for stricter gun control laws.
"We wanted to do something that was impactful that would really resonate with the world and bring home just how important Archie is to everyone," said Goldwater. "That's how we came up with the storyline of saving Kevin. He could have saved Betty. He could have saved Veronica. We get that, but metaphorically, by saving Kevin, a new Riverdale is born."
Archie will continue to exist in the pages of other Archie Comics, but Goldwater says he wanted the character’s death to be more than just a publicity stunt.
"Archie is not a superhero like all the rest of the comic book characters," said Goldwater. "He's human. He's a person. When you wound him, he bleeds. He knows that. 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."
Life with Archie #36 goes on sale July 16.