Jughead — Archie’s binge eating, crown-wearing best friend — just came out in the latest episode of his own comic book, Jughead issue four. But he didn’t come out as gay like Archie Comics character Kevin Keller — Jughead came out as asexual which explains why he’s never seemed interested in anything except for cheeseburgers.
The reveal actually came in Jughead’s conversation with Keller:
Regarding Jughead’s asexuality, Jughead writer Chip Zdarsky told ComicBook.com last September:
It’s good to have someone not as mired in the hormonal teen romances, and it adds to that “outside-looking-in” quality I talked about before. I’m writing him as asexual, but this is comics, yeah? The next writer could make him discover girls or boys or both and that’s totally fine. There have been iterations over the decades where he HAS been interested in girls, so there’s room to play around if someone was inclined. For me though, I like an asexual Jughead. That’s more interesting to me than writing him as just being behind everyone developmentally.
What’s interesting is that long before Kevin Keller, several comic book humorists actually figured Jughead was gay: Hooper X, the gay Black character from Kevin Smith’s bisexual romance Chasing Amy, said that Jughead wears a crown because “he the king of Queen Archie’s world” (video below) and a fake trailer for a non-existent Archie film called Riverdale depicted Jughead as struggling against his desire for his red-headed pal.
Granted, Jughead’s certainly not the first asexual comic book character — Roshanna Chatterji, the earth-bending telekinetic from DC Comics’ Prime Earth is also a self-avowed asexual, but asexuals can be hard to spot sometimes — just because a character seems disinterested in romance doesn’t mean they’re ace: they could just be celibate, chaste or shy; the writers may not know how to endow a character with sexual desire or their sexuality may not play a role in the main storyline.
It also remains to be seen whether asexual Jughead will also make an appearance in the Archie TV show that’s currently in the works for the CW network (maybe Jesus Christ will make also an appearance too, just like he did back in the ’70s-era Archie comics).
Either way, the inclusion of an asexual character in one of the longest running (and most wholesome) American comic book series is a huge step for ace representation. An estimated one percent of all adults is asexual, but you’d never think so considering how rarely we see self-identified ace folks in comics, TV and film let alone real life. But that’s apparently changing…