Archie to be shot saving gay friend in comic book

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Archie to be shot saving gay friend in comic book
This photo released by Archie Comics shows "Life with Archie." Archie Comics says the famous comic book character will heroically sacrifice himself while saving the life of a friend in a July 2014 installment of "Life with Archie." The comic book series tells the story of grown-up renditions of Archie and his Riverdale pals. (AP Photo/Archie Comics)
This comic book image released by Archie Comics shows issue 10 of "Kevin Keller" featuring openly-gay character Kevin Keller, right, kissing his boyfriend Devon. The issue will go on sale on Aug. 7. (AP Photo/Archie Comics)
This comic book image released by Archie Comics shows issue 10 of the Kevin Keller issue, where openly-gay character Kevin Keller kisses his boyfriend Devon. The issue will go on sale on Aug. 7. (AP Photo/Archie Comics)
This comic book image released by Archie Comic Publications, Inc. shows Archie's character Veronica, left, with Glee character Brittany Pierce on the cover of one of the "Archie Meets Glee," issues. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who writes for “Glee”, penned the four-issue story arc “Archie Meets Glee” that sees Riverdale and McKinley cross dimensions in a crossover crash that blends the snark of the television show and the long-standing wholesomeness of Archie, Jughead and Betty, among others. The two worlds combine this week in the pages of “Archie Comics” No. 641 and extends through issue 644. (AP Photo/Archie Comic Publications, Inc.)
This comic image released by Archie Comics shows Veronica, left, Archie, center, and Betty, characters from the Archie's comic book series. Archie Comics announced Thursday that Warner Bros. will produce a live-action film based on the comic's characters, including Archie, Betty, Veronica and Jughead. It will be the first feature film for the 72-year-old comic. (AP Photo/Archie Comics)
FILE- In this Monday, May 7, 2007, file photo, a girl reads an Archie comic at Oxford Book Shop in Calcutta, India. The two CEOs of the company that publishes Archie comics on Wednesday, June 6, 2012, ended their court feud over control of the comics kingdom, but now some relatives are accusing both sides of funny business. (AP Photo/Bikas Das, File)
TORONTO, ON - JUNE 18: Jewel Kats is inspiration for a new character in Archie Comics. Kats inspired Archie illustrator to develop Harper, a disabled character who is introduced as Veronica's cousin. Kats is a children's book author. Toronto, June 18, 2014. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - UNDATED: *** EXCLUSIVE *** In this undated image, Archie Comics made from wood are on display in New York City. The sculptures do not look anything out of the ordinary, just a pile of comics or newspapers, a box of cash or an open book. However, the artwork is actually wooden sculptures carved out of a single block of pine and painted. No glue or preliminary drawings are used instead just a block of wood. Randall's sculptures are for sale and are exhibited in galleries including The White House. (Photo by Randall Rosenthal / Barcroft Media / Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Archie Andrews will die taking a bullet for his gay best friend.

The famous freckle-faced comic book icon is meeting his demise in Wednesday's installment of "Life with Archie" when he intervenes in an assassination attempt on Kevin Keller, Archie Comics' first openly gay character. Andrews' death, which was first announced in April, will mark the conclusion of the series that focuses on grown-up renditions of Andrews and his Riverdale pals.

"The way in which Archie dies is everything that you would expect of Archie," said Jon Goldwater, Archie Comics publisher and co-CEO. "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."

Keller's character first joined Veronica Lodge, Betty Cooper, Jughead Jones and Reggie Mantle in the Archie Comics spin-off "Veronica" in 2010. He later appeared in his own solo title. In "Life with Archie," Keller is a married military veteran and newly elected senator who's pushing for more gun control in Riverdale after his husband was involved in a shooting.

"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," said Goldwater. "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."

Who shot Archie? Goldwater isn't spoiling the killer, only teasing it's a stalker who wanted to take Keller down.

Archie's final moments will be detailed in "Life with Archie" No. 36, while issue No. 37 will jump forward a year and focus on the Riverdale gang honoring the legacy of their red-headed pal, who first appeared in comics in 1941 and went on to become a colorful icon of wholesomeness. Other incarnations of Andrews will continue to live on in Archie Comics series.

In recent years, deaths of high-profile comic book characters like Peter "Spider-Man" Parker and Steve "Captain America" Rogers have made headlines and garnered intense reaction from fans. Goldwater notes that Andrews' passing isn't just a publicity stunt but also a lesson about gun violence and a declaration of diversity in the new age of Archie Comics.

"Archie is not a superhero like all the rest of the comic book characters," said Goldwater. "He's human. He's a person. When you wound him, he bleeds. He knows that. If anything, I think his death is more impactful because of that. We hope by showing how something so violent can happen to Archie, that we can - in some way - learn from him."

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