Archie Comics: Iconic American comic book character Archie Andrews to be killed taking a bullet for his gay best friend

The storyline has received praise from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation group

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The Independent US

The iconic American comic book character, Archie Andrews, is to be killed in the final instalment of comic book series Life with Archie.

The popular freckled-faced protagonist will meet his demise in the most dramatic way, when he is shot taking a bullet for his best friend and the comic book’s first openly gay character, Kevin Keller.

In the comic, which will be released on Wednesday, Kevin Keller, the newly elected senator and campaigner for gun control in Riverdale is the victim of an assassination plot.

However, when an attempt is made on Keller's life, Andrews is on hand to to save his friend.

Archie dies as a result, the first time he has died during the seven decades the comics have been in circulation.

Jon Goldwater, Archie Comics publisher and co-CEO said that Archie’s selfless actions are “what you would expect” from the character.

He said: "He dies heroically. He dies selflessly. He dies in the manner that epitomizes not only the best of Riverdale but the best of all of us. It's what Archie has come to represent over the past almost 75 years."

The killing of Archie will mark the end of the spin-off comic book series Life with Archie that begun in 2010 and has seen Archie and his Riverdale friends deal with more grown-up issues when compared to the series' former guises.

When compared with the other comics the Life with Archie series has seen the gang try to cope with stories lines that focus on important social topics, such as gay marriage, cancer and financial issues.

The decision to kill Archie was announced in April by creators, but it was unknown how it would happen.

"We wanted to do something that was impactful that would really resonate with the world and bring home just how important Archie is to everyone," said Goldwater. "That's how we came up with the storyline of saving Kevin. He could have saved Betty. He could have saved Veronica. We get that, but metaphorically, by saving Kevin, a new Riverdale is born."

The decision to end the Life with Archie series like this has seen support from Gay and Lesbian rights groups that have praised the Life with Archie comics for dealing with “real world issues” but in an accessible way.

 Matt Kane, The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s director of entertainment media said: "Though the story is coming to a close, we look forward to seeing Kevin and Archie's stories continue in their remaining titles."

"In recent years, 'Life with Archie' has become one of the most unique books on the shelves by using its characters to address real world issues -- from marriage equality to gun control -- in a smart but accessible way,"