No one is safe from gun violence, even beloved comic book characters.
Archie Andrews will be shot and killed in the penultimate issue of the "Life With Archie" series this week. He is killed protecting his gay best friend, who faces assassination for trying to address America's gun violence problems.
"The way in which Archie dies is everything that you would expect of Archie," Archie Comics CEO Jon Goldwater told the Associated Press.
"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 storyline brings two of America's biggest movements, gay rights recognition and gun control, into the pages of comic books. Kevin Keller, Archie's best friend, is the first regular gay character comic books. His husband was shot in an earlier issue, prompting Kevin to run for senator and addressing gun control.
Archie's sacrifice, and who he makes it for, is very purposeful.
"He could have saved Betty. He could have saved Veronica. We get that, but metaphorically, by saving Kevin, a new Riverdale is born," Goldwater said.
In the final "Life With Archie" issue (#37), his friends -- including Veronica, Betty and Jughead -- will remember Archie.
It's hard to imagine this violent death happening in the Riverdale of old. But that's pretty much the point. America is plagued with gun violence and someone's life can end in an instant. Lax gun control laws and Congress' refusal to act on even the most basic, common sense measures allows that violence to go unchecked.
Now Archie is a victim of that.