Archie Comics' most-lovable glutton, Jughead, comes out as asexual in the fourth issue of his all-new series. Comic Book Resources reports that the reveal in Jughead No. 4 fulfills a promise made by series creators Chip Zdarsky and Erica Henderson at last year's New York ComicCon.
The announcement of Jughead's asexuality comes without fanfare in the comic. He's talking to a classmate about the recent suspension of a gay student named Tyler. The classmate, who is also gay, laments that Tyler's suspension "is the worst one yet," because there are so few "gay guys at Riverdale High." He goes on to say that "[his] romantic options can't take that kind of hit," and insists that Jughead "just [doesn't] get it." This assertion doesn't appear to offend Jughead, who claims that his asexuality allows him to "think clearly and see this [school] administration for what it really is," because he isn't "hobbled by ... hormonal impulses" as his friends are.
At NYCC last year, Zdarsky addressed Jughead's sporadic relationships with women over his 75 years of appearances in Archie Comics. Some have read the character as a sexist, or at least a very unromantic dude, because he cared little about dating, and often decried it as an expensive diversion. Indeed, Jughead cared more for burgers than for women, and often came across as callous toward his love interests' feelings. Zdarsky disagreed with those who called the character misogynist, however:
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.
I couldn't agree more.
Jughead No. 4 is available Wednesday at your favorite comic book retailer.