Dan Parent is one of the reasons I am here right now. When I was little and well-behaved, my mom would take me to the corner store. Once there, school-approved socks around my ankles and plaid jumper askew, I got my usual: a Snapple Fruit Punch and BETTY AND VERONICA DIGEST MAGAZINE. Those digests, just as much as nuns, were my childhood. Those comics made me laugh, and continue to make me laugh today. Archie Comics were my gateway drug to comics: I am here, at ComicsVerse, because of those comics. So how amazing is it that the man behind many of those comics I read, Dan Parent, was there at Flame Con 2017? The man that got me in here is who I interviewed. Talk about coming full circle! Parent Knows Best For those not in the know, Dan Parent is a living Archie Comics legend. Since joining the company in the late 1980s, Dan has worked on nearly every title. He has shown his comics mastery on such important arcs as “Love Showdown” and “Archie: A Rock n Roll Romance.” The latter saw Archie marry his true love — Valerie, the bassist of Josie and the Pussycats. The Archie and Valerie pairing became the publisher’s first interracial coupling. Dan has been integral in making the world of Archie a more inclusive place. Alongside the aforementioned interracial coupling, he has introduced such characters of diverse races (such as Valerie’s brother Trev), body shapes (Brigitte, a plus-sized songstress who is just as lucky with the boys as her friends Betty and Veronica), abilities (Harper Lodge, the paraplegic cousin of Veronica based off of the late writer Jewel Kats), and sexualities. The latter is perhaps where Dan Parent’s greatest legacy lies. He is best known for creating Archie Comics’ first openly gay character, Kevin Keller. WATCH: We love all things Archie here at ComicsVerse! If you do too, then check out this episode of INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY WITH ANDREW RIVERA! In seven years, Kevin Keller has become an essential member of Archie’s circle. Beloved by fans, as evidenced by his “cast member” status on The CW show RIVERDALE. Furthermore, the LGBT community continues to recognize Keller and Parent. Keller is a GLAAD Ambassador and parent winning a GLAAD media award for his work on the character. The anthology LOVE IS LOVE, to benefit the survivors of the Pulse Nightclub Shooting, featured two Kevin comics, one by Parent himself. Regardless of a person’s sexuality, gender, or age, Kevin Keller is important to comics. In idealized Riverdale, to see a gay kid befriend and stand beside a legacy character like Archie matters. It shows that a person’s sexuality does not make them any less fun, loveable, or American. Because of this, Dan Parent has bettered the world of comics with his humor, artwork, and joy to comics. Dan Parent Today Dan continues to work with Archie Comics, providing variant covers to several titles (look out for HARLEY & IVY MEET BETTY & VERONICA #2 this November) as well as write and draw LIFE WITH KEVIN and providing the artwork for YOUR PAL ARCHIE series. On top of that, Dan Parent with fellow Archie legend Fernando Ruiz created the successfully kickstarted comic series DIE KITTY DIE. Kitty, a beautiful witch with her own comics, is trying to escape her publisher who wants to boost their sales of her comic book with her real-life death. It is a great comic for those who can laugh at the comics industry, Archie Comics, and themselves. READ: Check out our review on Parent’s latest Archie title, YOUR PAL ARCHIE #1, here! Meeting Dan Parent was a dream come true. He was kind and generous with his time to me and the several cosplayers and visitors who came to his table. Even when my fangirling made me attribute the wrong character to him (face palm), Dan was still kind and helpful. Thank you so much, Dan, for this interview and for decades of laughs. Watch as Dan discusses Archie, what’s up next for DIE KITTY DIE, and hear his answer to the age old question: is Dan Parent a Betty or a Veronica?