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Archie dies taking a bullet for his gay friend in next 'Life With Archie' comic

"Life with Archie," #36 hits stores on Wednesday. In it, Archie dies taking an assassin's bullet meant for his friend, gay US Senator Kevin Keller.
Archie Comics

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"Archie" fans are in for a shock Wednesday: The Riverdale redhead will die.

In the upcoming issue of "Life with Archie," Archie dies trying to save his openly gay friend Kevin Keller — who's married, a military veteran, U.S. Senator and gun control supporter — from an assassination attempt by a stalker.

It's way more heavy stuff than whether Archie will choose Betty or Veronica. (But don't worry: this is all in a parallel universe. That contest of love still happens in the series, "Archie.") 

Turns out that Take Two producer Courtney Cox is a huge Archie fan, and had mixed feelings about the news.

"Couldn't be my Archie," she told A Martinez, "My Archie's not going to die unless he's deciding between his two loves, and he decides to save them instead of himself."

"I couldn't imagine such a dark theme, and it weaves in every major kind of story line that we've talked about in the news the past couple of years," she said.

But Jon Goldwater, publisher and co-CEO of Archie Comics and son to Archie's creator John Goldwater, says this series was developed because older readers liked the stories that went beyond between Team Betty and Team Veronica.

"It's really all the fans — some of which have stopped, like Courtney, reading Archie when they were 14, 15, 16 years old — who were able to pick it back up again because at least there were some other interesting story lines," said Goldwater.

This issue also lays down some heavily liberal undertones — a stalker tries to kill Kevin Keller, a gay U.S. Senator who supports gun control. 

"We have a point of view here at Archie. I wouldn't say it's liberal, I would just say it's inclusive," says Goldwater. "I thought there were opportunities to show what Riverdale is all about. Riverdale is absolutely an open and welcoming place."

Goldwater also says the way Archie dies stays true to Riverdale's spirit and Archie as a character.

"This really is meant to be a positive story. Yes, he meets his demise, but he shows you he would take the bullet for you if he was your friend. Even if you’re a stranger, that’s just the kind of guy he is," he said. 

"Life with Archie," #36 hits stores on Wednesday.