Archie Andrews will leave his friends at Riverdale in "Life With Archie" this Wednesday after taking a bullet for his gay best friend. The Archie comic book series, which was once influenced by Christian artist Al Hartley, will conclude the following Wednesday.
Mail Online reports that Archie will die saving his gay best friend from an assassination attempt in Wednesday's "Life With Archie" issue, which features Archie and the gang as adults. Although the series will end shortly thereafter, other Archie comics which feature younger Riverdale characters will continue.
Archie Comics began in 1941, and will celebrate its 75th Anniversary on Wednesday. Its founder, Jon Goldwater, relayed in a statement that the death of Archie in the "Life With Archie" series will serve as an example and 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," he says.
In a heroic effort, Archie will sacrifice himself for his friend. While one would suspect that Archie might take a bullet for Betty or Veronica, Goldwater suggests that "Life With Archie" creators purposely chose to save an openly gay character in the comic. "Metaphorically, by saving Kevin, a new Riverdale is born," says Goldwater, who expressed his desire to make a "declaration of diversity" through the Archie Comics in the future. Goldwater also alluded to the need for gun control - "We hope by showing how something so violent can happen to Archie, that we can - in some way - learn from him," he says.
Al Hartley, who once worked as an artist for explicit comic books, left his job when he came to know Christ and began working for Archie comics. Hartley was soon after reprimanded by his boss when he began promoting a Christian worldview in some of the Archie Comics that he was working on.
Hartley eventually created his own comic line, Spire Christian Comics, and received permission from Jon Goldwater to license Archie and his friends for the Christian series. Some Spire themes which featured Archie and his pals included school prayer, helping others, God's love, the pursuit of purity, and the grace found in Jesus Christ.
Al Hartley died in 2003, after producing nearly twenty evangelical Archie comics.