Archie Andrews fans already know that their beloved, red-haired comic book icon is going to die while trying to save a friend’s life. Now Archie Comics publisher and co-CEO Jon Goldwater has offered more specifics about the character’s sacrifice: Archie will perish after intervening in an assassination attempt on the series’ first openly gay character, Kevin Keller, The Associated Press reports.
The heroic act will take place in the 36th issue of Life With Archie (out Wednesday, July 16th), while the following installment will move forward one year and feature the Riverdale crew honoring the life and legacy of their fallen friend. The image to the left shows Archie right before his death.
“The way in which Archie dies is everything that you would expect of Archie,” Goldwater said in a statement. “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.”
The Life With Archie series, which relaunched in 2010, has followed the lives of Archie and his gang (romantic interests Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge, best pal Jughead Jones and jock Reggie Mantle) after graduating from high school and college. Keller first appeared in the Veronica spin-off in 2010 before anchoring his own solo title, which earned the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comic Book in 2013; in Life With Archie, his character – a military veteran and senator – aims to secure stricter gun control laws after his husband, Clay, is shot while attempting to stop a robbery.
“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,” Goldwater continues. “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.”
While the CEO won’t spoil the identity of Archie’s killer, he confirms that the character is a stalker who wants to destroy Keller. Though it’s sad seeing a comic hero meet his demise, Goldwater says the sacrifice can teach readers a valuable lesson: “We hope by showing how something so violent can happen to Archie, that we can – in some way – learn from him.”