Publishing | The Archie gang has canceled a (fictional) trip to Russia because of that country’s draconian anti-gay laws. One law would allow the arrest of foreigners suspected of being gay or “pro-gay,” while another defines any pro-gay statement as pornography and therefore makes it a criminal act to make such statements in front of anyone under the age of 18. Archie cartoonist Dan Parent, who created Riverdale’s first openly gay character, Kevin Keller, is taking a stand in his own way: “Russia should be boycotted, so much so that actually in an upcoming special four-issue story arc I’m writing the Archie gang are going to take a world tour to four countries. Russia was to be one of them. But they’re not going there now. They just can’t and they won’t. They love and support Kevin.” [Back2Stonewall]
This was my first introduction into THE SOVIET SUPER SOLDIERS – Ursa Major, Darkstar, and Vanguard – the team that would eventually become THE WINTER GUARD. I was only a few months into collecting and reading comics at that point – and I got the book admittedly because of the Speedball cameo in the beginning of the story. As a teenager, I found the cover disturbing – could the Avengers really have murdered this team of Russian superheroes? The truth, of course, was a little more complex – and, of course, I was hooked on the revelation!