Hey Redditors! I’ve been writing and illustrating at Archie Comics almost my entire career and introduced Archie Comics' first gay character, Kevin Keller back in 2010. The issue ended up becoming the first Archie comic book to sell out in it’s 69-year history. My artwork was recently featured in fashion magazines worldwide in promotion of M·A·C Cosmetic’s latest collection, Archie’s Girls and I'm currently collaborating on one of the biggest crossover events of the year, Archie Meets Glee. Looking forward to answering your questions. Ask me anything.

Here is proof

EDIT: I'm posting some video responses which you can watch by following my wire. I'll also post these in the thread and below:

Inspiration for Kevin Keller

Scott Card Superman Controversy Broken Down

One Million Moms Boost Gay Comic Book Sales

Will Comics Go Completely Digital?

Comments: 159 • Responses: 52  • Date: 

EverybodiesGirl13 karma


danparent18 karma

Veronica all the way! She's much interesting to draw and write, because of her wealth, glamour, biting personality. Of course, Betty is sweet and lovable( the girl you'd want to marry in real life). But this isn't real life, so it's Veronica!!!

heroic_10 karma

Why did you decide to work at Archie Comics and how does one apply? What would be a dream story for you to write/ illustrate for Archie and the gang (if you still have any unrealized ones)? Do you have any particular favorite Archie artists or writers? (Sorry for the many questions - I got excited!) Anyway, thank you for introducing us to Kevin Keller and for continuing Archie books for the younger generation.

danparent11 karma

I was always a huge Archie Comics fan, and it was always a dream to draw for them. When I was in art school ( The Joe Kubert School) Archie editor, Victor Gorelick was looking for talent. But he settled for me anyway! I've already drawn many dream stories, but I'd still like to do many more guest star issues. ( Like the George Takei issue we just did)

newyorkcityguy12310 karma

What inspired you to create Kevin Keller? What was the reaction like from people on the Archie Comics team when you proposed a gay character?

danparent7 karma

Thanks for your questions. I'm posting a video shortly. EDIT: Here's my video response.

Frajer10 karma

What do you make of the Orson Scott Card Superman controversy?

danparent23 karma

I was surprised that DC comics hired him if they knew about his views. Superman sort of stands for the best of America, which his views are not reflective of.Controversy is good, but not in this case. EDIT: I answered this question more in video

ediddy339 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA. What is your favorite thing to draw?

danparent21 karma

Girls. Yeah, that's about it.

EHCB8 karma

Are there are any plans to introduce bi and trans characters? Could Riverdale High end up with it's own LGBT society with it's own stories revolving around it?

danparent7 karma

Never say never. Right now we're moving forward with Kevin's world, but the Archie universe is always growing and expanding, so who knows. I'm all for it!

canuckfanatic7 karma

Who's your favourite character from the comic book?

danparent9 karma

I have a few "favorites". Jughead is my favorite male character. Veronica is my favorite of the girls. And when you get Veronica and Jughead together, it's great , because they go at each other like cats and dogs. But Kevin is also a sentimental favorite, since I created him from the beginning , so he's sort of like my kid to me.

LucasCranach5 karma

I think the snarky repartee between Jughead and Veronica is among the funniest and most sophisicated dialogue in all of Archiedom.

danparent5 karma

It;s the most fun. if you notice, I always try and get a few moments with the two of them together!

Afdalia19867 karma

Who's your favorite superhero comic book character?

danparent7 karma

Superman is my favorite, with Batman a close second. I know, how original! But, I'm old school! Love the Justice League and the Legion of Superheroes too.

darthjon7 karma

Why does Archie need a gay character?

danparent19 karma

Well, we thought it was time for Archie to enter the 21st century and be more refelective of real society. Gay characters and multi-cultural characters reflect that.

PocketPortal785 karma

Why does Archie need heterosexual characters?

danparent12 karma

well, that's sort of the way Archie comics started out, so.....

dougiebgood5 karma

Do you think the One Million Moms outcry helped or hurt sales of the first issue Kevin Keller? Personally, I bought the issue to piss them off.

danparent12 karma

Thank you. I think pissing off one million moms is a good thing! But they certainly helped our sales, so thanks ladies!

pottscotis4 karma

If you could pick anyone, fictional or not, to crossover with Archie, who would you choose?

danparent8 karma

I think the BIG BANG THEORY would be great. Also I'd love to see some DC characters team up. Doesn't everyone want to see a Green Lantern/ Jughead teeam up? I do! Maybe a Transformers team up?

imeanareyouforreal4 karma

Reading Archie Digests, some comics date themselves just with the artwork. I imagine an artist working at Archie would have been exposed to loads of those, and can you give us eagle-eyed readers some tips on how to easily date comics from appearance? for instance it's very easy to tell a 70s story from a 90s story, a pre-decarlo story to a decarlo-era story, just wondering if you knew any other tell-tale signs (and what decade most of the Little Archie stories are from??)

danparent5 karma

A lot of the stories in the digests are dated, and that's wht I love about them, they're time capsules of the 20th century. To put a date on the story, just look at the clothes! The Little Archie stories are mainly from the 50's to the 70's, when his book was being published on a regular basis.

LucasCranach3 karma

Big KK fan here. Have there been any storylines that have been edited, changed or dropped - and if yes, what were they and why were they dropped?

danparent5 karma

Most storylines have move along pretty smoothly. The firs story went through the most stages, because we needed to get the character right. We had him sort of having a crush on Jughead, which we wisely dropped!

LucasCranach3 karma

Yeah, that was a VERY smart move! But I loved the bit where KK gives the heart-shaped box of candy to Jughead because he hates the chocolate-covered dried fruit and Veronica freaks thinking it was "something else" :-)

danparent2 karma

that was our Three's Compnany moment!

Afdalia19863 karma

Did you guys ever second guess introducing a gay character?

danparent7 karma

No, once we made the decision, it was all systems go. We knew most of our readers would be on board.

cuatrodemayo3 karma

Dan I created an account just for this. Been an Archie reader since '91. But I must know...any chance of a collection of The NEW Little Archies? If I remember right, there were only like 6 or 7 digests of that (of original content), but it really isn't republished in digests the way the older Little Archies are.

Secondly, what are your thoughts on the "new" look of Hilda and Zelda? It's been years since the show's been off the air, can't we get the classic look back?!

danparent2 karma

Not sure about a New Archies collection. I prefer classic Zelda/Hilda too! Thanks for checking in!!

booklover953 karma

If you didn't illustrate for comics, what would you do instead?

danparent2 karma

I have no abilities whatsoever, so thank God I can draw!

coltsmetsfan6143 karma

I've been reading Archie Comics since I was in 4th grade, and I love them! Why did you decide to introduce a new character as the first gay Archie character rather than have a previous background character come out, like maybe Dilton?

danparent4 karma

It felt more natural to bring in a new character. Not that we couldn't have an old character come out( which could still happen, btw) but it was fun to create the whole new world around Kevin and his family.

imeanareyouforreal3 karma

What was the process like getting a job at Archie Comics? What has been your favorite story written by you while at Archie Comics?

danparent3 karma

I started out working on staff, then went freelance to work on writing and drawing full time. My favorite story...right now I'd say it's a tie between the first Kevin story and the Archie/Valerie romance.

LucasCranach1 karma

I'd love to see a lot more stories with Valerie and her family.

danparent2 karma

Her brother Trevor is a new character we developed. He and Betty formed a bit of an attraction for each other. I love Valerie. I want to use her in stories as much as possible.

kb5873 karma

What advice do you have for young, aspiring illustrators/comic artists?

danparent5 karma

Draw, draw, draw! Then draw some more! Then take a nap and draw some more! Oh, and try to draw from real life. Figure drawing is a plus. You need to know how to draw real things before you move on to cartoons. It will make you a better artist!

EverybodiesGirl3 karma


danparent4 karma

Dan Decarlo. It helped that I worked with him and learned from him. But I was also inspired by so many more. Harry Lucey. Bob Montana. And let's not forget the great Samm Schwartz, who was the greatest Jughead artist!

EverybodiesGirl3 karma


danparent3 karma

Veronica. Kevin. Jughead. then Sabrina, Josie, Archie , Valerie.....and so on and so on.....

EverybodiesGirl2 karma


danparent2 karma

I love Cheryl Blossom! We were going to do this, but opted for Valerie instead, which was a wise choice. In that story we gave a glimpse of what an Archie/Cheryl wedding might look like, and it didn't bode well for Archie!!!

dan11222 karma

How do you keep that luscious head of hair perfect?

danparent2 karma

Well, let me tell you , it's not easy! I look like Don King when I get up in the morning! But when you work from home, it's not really an issue!

booklover952 karma

What drew you to the Archie comics?

danparent3 karma

The art is very appealing and draws you in at a young age. And the world of Riverdale is such an ideallic place that it becomes a part of your young world.

Nitro822 karma

Growing up we always thought Jughead was high.. cause he always has the munchies.

Was there a specific reason Jughead eats so much?

danparent3 karma

When you have a great metabolism, you eat! I would stuff my face all day if I could, wouldn't you! He may see that his metabolism will change with age. That's the luck in being a teen-ager forever.

LucasCranach2 karma

Congratulations on the MAC Cosmetic B&V line. What other Archie "cross-overs" in other venues and projects would you most like to see in the future?

danparent1 karma

The MAC cosmetic line has been a huge success! And the actors and models playing the Archie characters is so much fun to see. I would like to see Archie do more fashion crossovers, since the style of the characters lends itself to that.

kandis1012 karma

When you're creating it, is it on the computer? Like animation? Or is it all drawn out? Do you draw all the dots, or how is it done?

danparent3 karma

When I create a drawing, it's still done the old fashioned way, pencil to paper. Then it's inked the old fashioned way. The thing that's changed is how we scan art into the computer and color and edit it from there. And instead of sending bulky artwork to the printer, we send out digital files instead.

treerelatedusername2 karma

Since you knew and worked with the legendary Dan Decarlo, what do you think his opinion on Kevin Keller would be? I know he helped introduce characters of diversity and did some women's lib stories back in the day...

danparent5 karma

I think he would love Kevin Keller. He was a real progressive thinker. And a proponent for equality, for sure.

aett2 karma

Are the Archie writers/artists credited properly for their work in each story? I remember seeing a website that showed an older Archie comic wherein Betty said that her favorite artist was Dan DeCarlo, but when that comic was reprinted in a later issue, Dan's name was replaced with "the Archie comics artists".

danparent4 karma

We're usually credited properly, with an occasional omission or slip up, of course. Sometimes the digests make changes to adjust for modern readership. Im not a fan of this, I think every original story should stay intact. But that's the purist in me!

errmyeah3 karma

It's probably because Archie Comics fired him because he wanted credit for creating Josie and the Pussycats.


aett1 karma

Probably. I just want to know if the current staff is getting proper credit for their work. Disney comics are notoriously bad at that, and it's one of the many reasons why my personal favorite comic writer/artist (Don Rosa) quit.

errmyeah2 karma

Hopefully they're getting credit for their work. And hopefully Dan responds to this.

danparent4 karma

Yes, I get credit for everything I do.

i_crave_more_cowbell2 karma

it's seems to me that gay characters have already in some ways broken ground in some superhero comics (Malibu and Marvel only to the best of my knowledge), but I haven't heard of any gay characters in any other types of comics such as Archie.

What kind of opposition did you find to creating a gay comic book character, and do you feel that the process has been made any easier because of the gay character in other (superhero) comics?

danparent3 karma

When other companies include gay characters, it makes the whole industry more accepting. The challenge was a bit more difficult for Archie since we publish books for a pre-teen audience, but at the same time it made it more important, because there should be more gay characters in material for young readers.

PeekabooPie1 karma

Dan, I'm sort of seeing a physical resemblance between you and Reggie...what's up with that? :) Seriously, wondering about Reggie--he's softened over the years, but is he always going to be the foil to Archie? I'm guessing that he HAS to be, in some capacity. What does the future hold for his character, 'cause I'm kind of missing that scalawag! :)

danparent2 karma

Reggie is a great character. I think I look more like his father at this point.Reggie is a great character, underused for sure.

GarbageMan01 karma

Who would win on a fight between Archie an Jughead?

danparent3 karma

If it was over food, Jughead.

Trailer_Park_Barbie1 karma

This AMA has made my day. I was reading Archie comics before I could read. I would look through the stories and create my own dialogue. 22 years later and I'm still reading Archie comics. I was so glad to see Kevin Keller make his appearance and I'm looking forward to seeing where his storyline goes. I thought KK was a bold move for Archie Comics, and I was so happy to see that the comics that I grew up with would make this step.

Do you like to listen to music while you are drawing? If so, what do you listen to?

Also--I would love to see a wedding series with Jughead and Ethel. Jughead is my favorite!

Thanks for doing this AMA!

danparent2 karma

You're very welcome. I love the idea of a Jughead and Ethel wedding. I do listen to music when I work, lots of alternative kind of stuff, but i have the TV on all the time. Not such a good habit, but I like the background noise.

alldayart1 karma

i have been an Archie fan since age 7! i love the new storylines coming out especially the Archie Marries.... it makes me feel like i grew up with Archie especially since I am a newlywed myself. Do u think u will do something similar with Katy Keene?

danparent2 karma

Thanks so much! I like Katy Keene too! An Archie/Katy wedding ? Who knows!

T3hKaiser1 karma

Any love for Cheryl Blossom? She is my favorite of the girls, Veronica and Betty don't hold a candle to her!

danparent3 karma

I love Cheryl Blossom. Not to toot my own horn, but I was responsible( along with my friend Bill Golliher) for bringing her back from obscurity in the 1990's with the Love Showdown storyline. That was our biggest media event/storyline, until the Archie wedding series came along.


what is a piece of (non-art) advice you learned/were taught early on that had a major impact on your life?

danparent2 karma

to do what you love doing and take a chance, because you'll be worm food before you know it!

tjh4181 karma

What inspired you to become a comic book artist?

danparent1 karma

My love of comics inspired me to be a comic book artist. I started reading them when i was 5 years old. Along with Archie, I also grew up with the classic Harvey Comics, then DC.

hawtstuff9901 karma

how important is sexuality in comic books? does carry more weight than in a novel or feature film?

danparent5 karma

Well. it's important because we all have a sexuality. Archie sure has one, as we've seen throughout the years. It's not always the most defining trait of a person, but it's important.

NeilaK201 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA! I've found, as a freelance comic book artist myself, that there are many people with the misconception that comic artists are "rich" or "wealthy" have you had instances where you had to tell someone you were not loaded (or that you were possibly broke which was what has happened in my case)?

danparent2 karma

Well, I did fly my personal jet here to do this AMA!
No, we're not a wealthy bunch, but if we can make a decent living doing what we love, it's worth clipping coupons. Not that I do that. But I have come across people who think that if you're published, you're rich. I set them straight!

DarthPaki1 karma

Which country, in your opinion, would be the most accepting of Kevin Keller if he was a real person?

danparent3 karma

Well, Kevin is hugely popular in Canada, partly because Archie comics are so popular there, and because the country on the whole is more progressive than the USA.

EverybodiesGirl1 karma


danparent1 karma

There are so many. But like I mentioned before, it's between Kevin Keller's introduction and the Archie/Valerie romance.

Afdalia19861 karma

I know that the positive reaction was really strong since it was the first Archie issue ever to sell out. Was there a negative reaction that didnt get as much publicity like a boycott or something of that nature?

danparent3 karma

Thanks for your question - here's my response

EHCB1 karma

What's your favourite era of the comic purely in terms of art. Are there any Archie artists before you that you particularly try and emulate and how much has your own outlook evolved the way you draw in the style?

danparent2 karma

I think the 60's and early 70's were the best era for art. Dan Decarlo's Josie books from the 1960's are the best art we ever put out. Harry Lucey's early 60's stuff was also beautiful. As far as emulating others. Dan Decarlo was always my favorite and I worked with him for years, so I tried to take the best of his style and sort of blend it with mine.

Loerwyn1 karma

Hi Dan! Let me just start off by saying I love Archie, even though I'm in the UK (which brings a slight cultural/social divide).

I'd like to ask what you think of 'non-traditional' characters like Marcy (Ronnie's cousin), and whether they need more prominence in current stories? I've only read a few Marcy stories (I mean there's only a few anyway...), including the Geeks Rule! issue of Betty & Veronica Spectacular, and I love how she's a geek, sci-fi and comic fan and proud to be one, despite how some other characters see her. Clash of the New Kids also added some other non-traditional characters, but I've not heard of them appearing since.

Will we ever see these characters (particulary Marcy - can you tell she's one of my favourites?) return, or at least will we get characters who openly go against what we could consider 'social norms'?

danparent2 karma

I love Marcy, I created her in the Veronica book. I would love to use her more. Her geekiness worked as such a great contrast for Veronica!

vtjohnhurt1 karma

Is Kevin Keller destined to be "Forver Alone"? That would be sad.

treerelatedusername2 karma

Nope. He's married in the Life with Archie series.

danparent3 karma

And he now has a boyfriend in his teen series now.

adamup27-3 karma

I was an avid reader of Archie & Friends/Betty & Veronica/Jughead/everything else Why aren't they presented with a more realistic perception of a modern day high school? There Is no mention of drugs or alcohol. While I realize this is meant more for the Pre teen/teen, there should be some element of reality. And although I'm not against adding a homosexual to the group, I feel as if it were unnecessary. There were no justifications for it, no one was asking for it. If it ain't broke don't fix it. (?)

LucasCranach6 karma

Gay teens ARE a reality! :-)

danparent10 karma

yes, they are!

luciferoverlondon-5 karma

Does anyone still actually read Archie? It seems sort of dated and hasn't really held up to the test of time as well as many other Golden Age franchises. I don't really think it should have been continued after Bob Montana and John Goldwater were no longer involved. What does the current reader base look like?

danparent12 karma

A lot of people still read Archie, and thank God, because that keeps me employed! I think our stories of the last few years have been much less dated and a lot more contemporary. We've brought in a lot of new readers, so I think we're doing something right. If it had been discontinued after Bob Montana and John Goldwater, the series would have ended in the 1970's!! That wouldn't have been good. especially for me!