Life with Kevin


By Dan Parent, J. Bone & various (Archie Comics)
ISBN: 978-1-68255-940-6 (TPB)

Created by writer/artist Dan Parent and inker Rich Koslowski, Kevin Keller debuted in Veronica #202 (September 2010): a charming, good-looking and exceedingly together lad who seemingly disrupted the eternal cartoon triangle of Archie Andrews, Veronica Lodge and Betty Cooper. Keller utterly bowled over the rich go-getter and she was totally smitten with him, although he was far more interested in food, sports and hanging out with the boys… especially JugheadJones

The new kid was a much-travelled, journalism-obsessed “Army Brat”, who in short order was elected Class President, made loads of friends and came out as Riverdale High School’s first openly gay student. When Kevin finally explained to Veronica why she was wasting her time, she became his best buddy: after all they had a lot in common – stylish clothes, shopping and good-looking guys…

Immensely popular from the outset (Veronica #202 was the first comic book in the company’s long history to go to a second printing), Kevin struck a deep and abiding chord with the readership. Soon guest shots evolved into a miniseries before the new kid on the block inevitably won his own ongoing title.

In recent years the company has created related strands for their iconic characters to explore other realities. Archie has married both Betty and Ronnie, been assassinated, faced supernatural horrors of every kind and even entered the 21stcentury. These parallel lives projects have proved immensely popular and so have quite sensibly been extended to include the other inhabitants of Riverdale…

In 2017, a 5-issue miniseries by Parent, inker J. Bone and letterer Jack Morelli focused on Kevin after finishing at Riverdale and graduating from college. Trade paperback & eBook compilation Life with Kevin – delivered in a limited but superbly effective palette of black, white and blue – follows his career as he moves to New York City and joins a major metropolitan news outlet…

Referencing TV sitcoms such as 30 Rock or Rhoda, and subtitled ‘Kevin in the City’ the fun begins in ‘You’re Gonna Make it After All! (Maybe)’ as young Keller moves into a grim apartment, meets his interesting neighbours and makes an unforgettable impression on his new boss at station NYC-TV.

Sadly, his views on what constitutes journalism don’t match hers in the cutthroat era of click-bait and Twitterstorms. Even more tragically, the fact that the camera loves and viewers adore him means Kevin might be forced into becoming a useless, vapid Screen Celeb himself…

The day ends perfectly when Veronica shows up. On Kevin’s advice, his BFF talked back to daddy and now she’s disinherited, broke and homeless…

‘Room for Change’ resumes a short while later with Kevin finding his love life and dating days seriously curtailed by roommate Ronnie, who, unsurprisingly, cannot hold on to any job she finds and whose efforts to help inevitably go badly awry…

After building a profile on a dating app and then accidentally outing himself on live TV – a strict policy no-no at NYC-TV- Kevin’s life gets even crazier. In ‘I’m Dancing as Fast as I Can!’ his boss Babs is ordered to exploit her camera-shy protégé onscreen as much as legally possible. This leads to Ronnie accidentally endangering the mental health of a shy young gay student Kevin is helping through some difficult times…

The gathering storm breaks on social media in ‘Past Tense!’ with Bab’s ruthless attempt to capitalise on the personal crisis for ratings compelling Kevin to make a world-changing decision, but only after a chaotic comedy of errors devastates the station’s schedules…

The story pauses for now with ‘Moving Forward!’ as the progression of roommate dramas, two-timing bad boyfriends, family health scares and career calamities lead to Kevin taking charge of his life and making the future he wants and deserves…

A charming, feel-good comedy romp, Kevin in the City reads like a pilot for a TV series, packed with tension and hilarity whilst delivering the kind of joyous, life-affirming frolics modern folk enjoy. It also succeeds in being about the characters themselves and the situations they endure, not the inconsequential logistics of who they fancy…

Augmenting the saga is a cover gallery by Parent, and a few bonus stories, all taken from Your Pal Archie #1, and set in modern-day Riverdale.

The madness begins with ‘The Road Worrier’ courtesy of scripter/inker Ty Templeton, penciller Dan Parent, colourist Andre Szymanowicz and letterer Morelli. Here high schoolers Betty, Ronnie, Archie and Jughead plan out their summer holidays before an ordeal of shocking terror is unleashed as that Andrews boy attempts to teach Juggie how to drive…

The main event and compelling cliffhanger comes with ‘A Night at the Opera’ as Ronnie gives Archie the brush-off for a sophisticated sophomore. Once again driven astray by Jughead, Archie then buys a lotto ticket that will change his life forever…

Of course, you’ll have to buy that graphic novel to see what happens next, but at least Life with Kevin is a complete experience, at once hilarious, enthralling and magically inclusive for you, your kids and grandparents to enjoy over and over again…
™ & © 2017 Archie Comics Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.