Sunday, January 8, 2012

Kevin Keller Gets Married // My Top Trio Comic Book Gay Weddings

I've been anxiously waiting for this particular blog post for roughly three months.  Back in early October, Archie Comics announced that they would be writing to wedding of their gay comic book character, Kevin Keller, in issue #16 of "Life With Archie".  Kevin was initially introduced to Riverdale a long time ago.  He was so popular that he very quickly got his own comic book.  Despite being pleased about his creation by and continued and prominent presence in Archie Comics, I'd actually never read anything anything with Kevin in it.  I was first introduced to Archie Comics (and to comic books, in general) through those little Archie digests that you can purchase at grocery stores.  I still pick them up about once monthly and I often leaf through them with hopes of catching a story with Kevin in them, but he's never there. 

The only other Archie Comics comic book that I ever pick up is Life With ArchieLWA is an interesting serial comic book.  Each comic has two separate stories that are set about 5-10 years after the Gang graduated from high school.  One series of stories shares the story about what would have happened if Archie married Veronica and the other tells what would have happened if Archie married Betty.  There are lots of similarities and there are also lots of distinct differences.  More recently, there's been some wonky time travel and quantum parallel universe stuff that's made me scratch my head a little bit, but mostly I've really been enjoying this comic book series.

Which leads us to issue #16, which was just released this past week.  I finally picked up my copy last night and read my first comic book story with Kevin Keller in it.  His wedding storyline (er, story lines) was pretty cool.  Like his father, adult Kevin Keller is a war hero.  My understanding is that he and his new husband will be remaining in Riverdale in future issues of LWA, so I look forward to learning more about this new character.

Anyway, all this got me thinking about creating a list of my favorite comic book gay weddings.  Unfortunately, even though there are lots of GLBT characters in comic books, there really haven't been that many GLBT weddings.  I'd hoped that I could scrape together a Favorite Five list, but I couldn't even come up with that many gay weddings.  Instead, I proudly present my Top Trio List of Comic Book Gay Weddings with hope that I can someday update this topic with a Favorite Five (or better yet Top Ten!) list someday in the future:

3. Apollo and Midnighter: Wildstorm Comics (which eventually folded into DC Comics) features a kick-ass team of heroes called The Authority.  Sick of the political, commercial, and social injustices that they see every day on our planet, they decided to use their immense power and resources to re-shape society, whether or not society wants to be re-shaped!  Two of the team's members are Apollo and Midnighter.  These two are essentially ramped up homages of Superman and Batman.  They are also an unapologetic gay couple.  They eventually adopted their reincarnated team leader and later on got married.  I would have probably pushed their wedding up further on the list of weddings, except that I never read it.  I kind of fell away from The Authority and missed it when they eventually got married.  But their wedding was pretty significant in that it was, I'm pretty sure, the first gay wedding published by a major comic book publisher.

2. Clarice Clifford and Toni Ortiz of Dykes to Watch Out For Get Civil Unionized: DTWOF was a great comic strip that told the stories of a diverse group of mostly lesbians and bi-females that was published from the early 80s until eventually ending in 2008.  The strip has been compiled into numerous collections and I strongly encourage you to check them out, keeping in mind that DTWOF is unapologetically political and sex-friendly.  Two of the characters who I really enjoyed -- partially because their lives mirrored the path that I eventually wanted to tread -- were Clarice and Toni.  They were professionals in a long-term relationship who raised their son Rafi and were committed marriage equality activists.  Like Mark and I, Clarice and Toni had a private commitment ceremony when legal marriage was not an option for them.  They eventually traveled to Vermont to get civil unionized.  Check out this clip.  They instantly went from stressed and angry to joyous over their renewed commitment.  It really made me laugh.  Unfortunately, their story soured as DTWOF slowly winded down its run.  Like many marriage equality activists, Toni and Clarice slowly found themselves focused more on their goal (i.e., gaining the legal right to marry) and less on the bigger picture (i.e., nurturing their actual marriage).  The couple eventually broke up and began coordinating childcare duties as divorced moms.

1. Kevin Keller and Dr. Clay Walker Get Married: I know that this just came out this week, but it was a great storyline.  Kevin and Clay actually got married in both story lines, though the actual wedding mostly appeared in the "Archie Married Betty" world.  Here's how they met, Kevin was fighting somewhere in the Middle East and ended up getting badly injured saving one of his team.  Clay nursed Kevin back to health and many months later they met up again and began dating and eventually the two decided to get married.  What I like about it?  It's a good romance.  It's not all flashy.  It's two guys who came back to their hometown to get married amongst family and friends.  Check out Major Glibb's introduction during the second story's wedding:
Friends and family, neighbors and visitors to our fair town, we're gathered to unite two people who managed somehow to find one another.  That anybody can ever find real love is a bit of a wonder.  For Kevin and Clay it took a war, a heroic rescue resulting in a wound, a long convalescence, and months of therapy. 

But in the end, it was a chance meeting that proved to be the wonder!  A coincidence... perhaps.  Others insist these things are destiny!  Frankly, chance or fate, we'll never know.  And it doesn't matter.  All that does is the end result.  All that matters is that every person finds that other person who is, for whatever reason, the one for them. 

Only when they do, do some ask me to say the following: Dearly beloved, we are gathered to join these people in matrimony...

Ladies and gentlemen, it is my honor to present to you... Lieutenant Kevin and Dr. Clay Walker-Keller!
This those final words, Clay and Kevin walk hand-in-hand through a crowd of friends and family into their new future.  They got married in this issue and that's a wonderful process for Archie Comics' readers to witness.  Now I look forward to seeing their new life together.  I want to see their joys and their stumbles and the general minutia of married life.  It's important for people to see that married gays are fairly similar to married heterosexuals.  Life With Archie, through Kevin and Clay, has that opportunity.  And I hope they seize it responsibly.

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