May 1st is Free Comic Book Day. This is the day you can walk into a participating comic book store and get a free comic. The day doesn't always fall on May 1st but it's always the first Saturday of May.
I've always liked comics. I think comic books have made me a better reader. Along the way, comics have taught me a little about life. But, most of all, they've been fun and entertaining. I really wish my mother hadn't tossed out my collection from the 60's. What a gold mine that would be now!
This past week, it was announced that Archie Comics is going to introduce a gay character to the gang at Riverdale High. Apparently, a new arrival to town isn't concerned with that age old choice - Betty or Veronica. This guy comes out and states, "I'm gay!"
Now, a lot of realism has crept into comics in the last 25 years. And, comics have dealt with some hot topics in the past. Back in the 1960's, Marvel made a little civil rights statement by including a black man as a regular in their popular WWII mag,"Sgt Fury and his Howling Commandos". Drug abuse has been addressed even in the pages of "The Amazing Spiderman". But, come on, this is Archie! A simple little comic about being a teenager and its readership is mostly preteens. Do we need throw the gay thing at them in a comic strip?
Racism, drugs, gang violence and war, these are all issues that are currently in many comics and the so-called graphic novels. And, in some comic books they are handled creatively and thoughtfully. But, just like some of those issues, homosexuality doesn't belong in an Archie comic book.
When it comes down to it, being gay is a sexual preference. And, if that's what floats your boat, then fine but do we have to tout these preferences in comics aimed at young readers. Do we want kids to know that Blondie and Dagwood were heavily into S&M or that Hi and Lois were into wife swapping!
Yeah, kids are subjected to a lot more adult themed entertainment these days. And, its probably impossible to put the genie back in the bottle but, come on, its Archie for cryin' out loud!