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Friday, March 07, 2014 

Wired says Archie may be the most progressive publisher

Wired paid lip service to Archie's modern management, saying they're "keeping up with the times", when in fact they're only running off the rails. Predictably, this puff piece elevates the Kevin Keller topic as a positive step:
But it’s not all just new titles, either. The publisher’s willingness to play with its successful formula has touched “regular” Archie comics too—and in such a way that high-profile comic publishers have been left playing catch-up.

Take, for example, Marvel Entertainment’s much-hyped gay wedding from Astonishing X-Men in 2012. As groundbreaking as the marriage of Northstar and Kyle Jinadu may have been, it followed Life with Archie’s nuptials for Kevin Keller earlier that year. (Keller, by the way, is the first gay male in mainstream comics to carry his own solo series.)

“When I got to Archie five years ago, my self-imposed mandate was to push the envelope and shake things up a bit,” publisher and Co-CEO Jon Goldwater says. “I wanted to preserve these iconic characters not by freezing them in place, but by showing how flexible, relevant, and fresh they were. And while we ruffled some feathers, that’s the price you pay when you push boundaries into the modern world.”
Since when weren't they relevant and flexible? All they've done to their products is damage morale, and it isn't helping them financially. And Goldwater's admitting he resorted to the worst possible act in mainstream comics today: editorial mandates.
Goldwater’s likely referring to right wing group One Million Moms’ campaign to bully Toys’R'Us into boycotting Archie products, which followed news of the Life with Archie gay wedding. In response, the company published a story in which Kevin kisses his boyfriend in public to the upset of a conservative mother, with writer and artist Dan Parent calling the story a “playful poke” at the controversy.
There they go, framing OMM as "bullies", even as they never dare suggest LGBT advocates can do the same. I have no respect for Parent if he has none for the segment of society who bear the title his last name resembles.
“Archie and his friends live in an idealized America in Riverdale, USA,” Goldwater said, “but it’s still America, and it should always be a welcoming, genuine and fun place that represents today.” And if that means that Riverdale gets taken over by Lena Dunham for a few months? Well, that just reflects the real America. Though we imagine the Archie series will go a little lighter on the frontal nudity.
I'm not laughing at the last line. Because it's not impossible they could go that far, though it sure is hypocritical of them to argue Nancy Silberkleit wanted to "tart up" Veronica and Betty, yet think homosexuality is perfectly okay in almost every way. And I guess in Goldwater's mind, "welcoming" means accepting even the most abhorrent belief systems like communism. Guess that's why they're paying a heavy price now in sales receipts, which register little or nothing.

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Archie's publicity stunts and marketing ploys are just desperate attempts to improve sales, not to "push the envelope" or to be more "relevant." Younger kids no longer read comics, so Archie needed to find a new audience. Kevin Keller and the "zombie apocalypse" series were both intended to appeal to the adolescent fanboys who buy DC or Marvel grimdark comics. But it isn't working, because the party line among fanboys is still that Archie comics are "little kids' stuff." So Archie's "new direction" has just alienated their old fans without attracting new ones.

Yes, forcing a character of abnormal sexual orientation into a comic that used to be wholesome and fun is a great way to be "progressive". People seem to care more about Sonic and Mega Man than the actual Archie series these days anyway.

This type of moonbattery makes me glad that I was never a big Archie fan in the first place.

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