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US comic book character Archie Andrews will die this week taking a bullet intended for a gay friend, publishers said Monday, calling it a fitting turning point for the iconic brand.
In the new issue Wednesday of "Life with Archie," the famous red-head saves the life of newly-elected Senator Kevin Keller, introduced as the first openly gay character in the comic in 2010.
"The Death of Archie is the biggest story in Archie Comics history - and a major milestone for comics, period," said Archie Comics publisher Jon Goldwater in a press release.
"Archie dies as he lived - a hero, representing the best in all of us" added the co-chairman of Archie Comics, the long-running comic book series best known for its wholesome all-American teenage characters.
He added: "The fact that he's saving Kevin ... is a metaphor for the rebirth this company has experienced over the last five years. This is truly a new Archie Comics: unafraid, daring, progressive and on the cusp of greatness."
The announcement, in a press release published on comic news website Comicosity, comes ahead of the Comic-Con International conference in San Diego, the top US annual gathering of all things comic-related.
The Archie comics, launched in the 1940s and popular with generations of US youngsters, follow the fortunes of high school students Archie, Betty, Veronica, Reggie and Jughead in the fictional town of Riverdale.