Writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Erica Henderson’s Jughead reboot is hilarious and surreal, and hasn’t shied away from reframing some of Jughead’s iconic characteristics for a more modern context.
Zdarsky has spoken in the past about Jughead’s sexual identity, saying in an interview with Comicbook.com last September that an asexual Jughead is “more interesting to me than writing him as just being behind everyone developmentally.” And in Jughead No. 4, out tomorrow, Jug’s asexuality becomes pretty much officially official for the first time ever:
For a franchise founded on a pretty conservative premise (two girls fighting over the affections of a mediocre boy) Archie has become surprisingly great at positive representation, introducing Riverdale’s first gay character Kevin Keller way back in 2010 and recently announcing plans for a CW series with a Latina Veronica and a hard of hearing actor playing Jughead. Archie Comics is continuing to support some of the identities and marginalized groups that other comic companies might not even consider when striving for more diversity in their titles, and that’s awesome.
It’s one thing (and a very laudable thing, at that) for a comic company to make a character as iconic as Jughead gay, but to confirm Jughead as asexual–an identity that, because it’s still misunderstood by a large portion of society, arguably doesn’t have the same trending potential as a character coming out as gay or queer would–is pretty bad-ass. I love seeing both those examples of representation, obviously, but it’s rare to see a creative team exploring identities that are often still lumped into the plus sign at the end of LGBTQ.
Jug’s asexuality is only mentioned fleetingly in Archie #4, in the page pictured above, but, if his identity is explored further in the series, I trust the creators to do so in a way that’s respectful and extremely, extremely Jughead. Here’s Zdarsky talking to Comic Book Resources at New York Comic Con last year about Judghead’s sexuality and feelings towards women:
My view of Jughead is, over the 75 years [of his existence] there have been sporadic moments where he has dabbled in the ladies, but historically he has been portrayed as asexual. They just didn’t have a label for it, so they just called him a woman-hater.
But he’s not a misogynist — he just watches his cohorts lose their minds with hormones. People have asked me if there is going to be a romance if I’m writing Jughead, because I’m very romantic, and the answer is no, because there is enough of that in Archie. I think something like asexuality is underrepresented, and since we have a character who was asexual before people had the word for it, I’m continuing to write him that way.
Yup. It sounds like Jughead is in some good hands. What do you think, friends?
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