CCI: Archie Announces Plans for Kevin Keller & KISS

The creative minds behind the publications at Archie Comics made a break from Riverdale and came to Comic-Con International in San Diego on Saturday to discuss the future of both the print and digital aspects for their company.

The panel kicked off on a high note when editor Greg Goldstein from IDW Publishing arrived to present Archie Comics Co-CEO Jon Goldwater with the Eisner Award they'd won the night before for the hardcover "Archie" archive books the two companies produce as a joint venture. IDW and Archie have also teamed for a history book which contains both unseen Archie artwork as well as portions of a previously unseen autobiography by creator John L. Goldwater (the current co-CEO's late father) and collaborated on the "Archie's Madhouse" collection, compiled by historian Craig Yoe and debuting at Comic-Con.

As for new projects from Archie Comics, there will be a new ongoing comic book series starring Riverdale's first ever openly gay character, Kevin Keller, following his successful miniseries. The ongoing will be written and drawn by Keller creator Dan Parent. In reference to the controversy surrounding the addition of a gay character, Goldwater said, "I thank Dan for having the courage to go ahead with the story." There was some other big news on the Kevin Keller front: This year in the pages of "Life with Archie," the series that looks ahead to a possible future for the Archie-verse characters, Keller will be getting married.

Parent will be doing more than just Kevin Keller stories this year; he'll also tackle the art duties on a miniseries in which the Archie characters run into one of the first true rock and roll shock bands, KISS. This coming year, the regular "Archie" series will be filled with guest stars such as Michael Strahan, Simon Cowell and Mark Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg will be facing off against Dilton Doiley over which of the two of them truly created Facebook.

It seems that Dilton, like Kevin Keller, will also be having a big year. Over the decades there have been many alternate universes added to the "Archie" mythos, and this year they are going to combine into one massive multi-verse under the keen mind of Michael Uslan. Uslan has been pouring over the many storylines and has found that they "all have one linkRonald McDonald House, and his name is Dilton Doiley."

Fans of Jinx will be glad to hear that she also will be getting her own comic. Little Jinx is growing up, and the story will follow her as she navigates a new life as a high school student.

Archie Comics celebrates its 70th anniversary this year, and as part of that celebration, the company has teamed with Ronald McDonald House for a special issue of "Archie." The story will revolve around an "Archie" character and a relationship with a child stricken with cancer. One hundred percent of the profits from the anniversary issue will be donated to the charity.

On the digital side, Archie has joined forces with iVerse Media to bring comics directly to all types of digital platforms. This past April, Archie Comics was the first major publisher that went day and date with their digital releases. They expect to be ready for Android phones within the next quarter.

For owners of Barnes and Noble's Nook Color, Archie Comics will be focusing on inexpensive versions of their graphic novel collections. Currently 12 to 15 collections are available for purchase, with the hope of releasing the rest of the catalog in the next couple of months. There will also be the incentive of new digital content added to these collections, some of which will be available for free.

Archie Comics does more than just Archie stories, however. The company has also had great success with licensing, having introduced an ongoing "Mega Man" series this past April. As for their longest-running licensed property, President Mike Pellerito said that the creative team of the current "Sonic the Hedgehog: Genesis" miniseries has turned everything about the character on its head, but was quick to reassure the audience, "It's not a reboot. We do stuff right the first time."

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