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News :: Gender
Comics - Archie To Be Shot Saving Gay Friend
15 Jul 2014
Archie Andrews will die taking a bullet for his gay best friend.
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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."

http://www.edgeboston.com/entertainment/culture/News//162329/archie_to_b

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Let kids 'express their gender' - Australia
16 Jul 2014
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An anti-bullying program that challenges schools to overhaul their policies for dealing with homosexual or transgender students says teenagers should be allowed to "express their gender" through aspects such as which uniform they can wear or which toilets they use at school.

Safe Schools Coalition Australia, which also urges schools to include specific references to homophobic bullying, transphobia, gender diversity and intersex status in their school policies, was launched nationally last month by Liberal senator Scott Ryan. The Federal Government has put $8 million into the scheme, to be rolled out in WA by the middle of next year, which builds on a model operating in Victorian schools.

FamilyVoice Australia has organised a petition calling on the Government to stop the funding, saying it is a waste of taxpayers' money. FVA research officer Ros Phillips said all bullying was harmful so it was unhelpful to focus just on homophobic bullying.

Ms Phillips said the program taught students there were no "gender norms" and could increase their identity confusion and anxiety. "To tell them, 'If you feel you're a girl and you're really a boy, dress the way you feel like' - we don't think that is helpful," she said.

SSCA national program director Sally Richardson said schools that joined would get support for students and staff who were lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersexual or transgender. Ms Richardson said if a student was born a girl but identified as a boy, they would be supported to live as a boy, which might include using boys' toilets.

"It's not a case of anyone using any toilet they feel like on a given day," she said.

"The program is not about sex.

"It's about helping a school to change its culture."

The WA Education Department said it was happy to look at ways it could work with the coalition. LJ Goody Bioethics Centre director Father Joe Parkinson, who has worked with Catholic schools for the past three years on providing protection for same-sex- attracted students, said the Catholic Education Office was unlikely to back any strategy that re- inforced gay or lesbian identification.

He said all Catholic schools opposed bullying and several high schools which had students with intersex conditions had made special arrangements for toilets and showers.
Singapore bans "Archie" comic book for depicting same-sex marriage
16 Jul 2014
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Another banned book has come under the spotlight in Singapore: Archie The Married Life Volume 3 has been removed by Kinokuniya.

“We regret that Archie The Married Life is deemed to breach the Content Guidelines for Imported Publications, and removed from sale by notice of MDA. We are not able to sell this title,” said a spokesperson from Kinokuniya Singapore.

Archie The Married Life is a comic series in five volumes. It features a gay character in Riverdale named Kevin Keller. The character gets married in Volume 3.

Only volumes 1, 2, 4 and 5 are sold in the bookstore.

Sonny Liew, a comic artist based in Singapore, discovered the ban when he made an inquiry at Kinokuniya. His probe came in light of NLB’s controversial decision to remove two children’s books from its shelves after it received complaints that the books were not “pro-family”.

“The Archie comic was one I had been vaguely aware of [that raised LGBT issues], just by being involved in the comics industry.

“I had an intuition that the pressure groups sending out letters to public institutions might not just stop at libraries.

“It seemed logical that they would want books with objectionable content removed from other sources, including commercial bookstores,” he said. However, it is unclear if the ban was due to public complaints (as with the NLB) or a unilateral decision by the MDA.


Under the Content Guidelines for Imported Publications: “Publications that encourage, promote or glamourise sexually permissive and alternative lifestyles and deviant sexual practices are generally not allowed.” At this point, there is no official statement from the MDA yet to explain its decision. “I’d long thought that there was public access to a list of banned media, given the reports you always see on titles or screenings being blocked by the MDA.

“It seems, however, that there is no such list available – we can only find out what’s restricted by asking about specific titles in an ad hoc manner,” said Liew.

Archie The Married Life 3 may be unavailable at Kinokuniya, but a search of the NLB catalogue shows a surprising result. The libraries only have copies of Volume 3 and none of the others.

“I’m not sure what this means – maybe that the NLB makes its own decisions, whilst commercial bookstores have to deal with the MDA.

“It’s a sign that the system is not entirely consistent, which may be a good or bad thing, depending on how you look at it,” said Liew.

“Apparently in the next issue of that Archie series, Archie gets shot while trying to save his gay friend’s life. Not sure what the MDA will make of that,” he added.

http://theindependent.sg/blog/2014/07/16/mda-bans-archie-book/