Archie Comics has been making a pretty concerted effort to add a little diversity to what has traditionally been a pretty homogenous setting. Characters like Chuck Clayton and Ginger Lopez have been around for a while, but over the past few years Riverdale has added more than a handful of new students to Riverdale High, with the most notable by far being Kevin Keller.
Now, in Archie #656, writer/artist Dan Parent is taking the next step in what CEO Jon Goldwater describes as an effort “to make Riverdale feel like a city in today’s world” by introducing Riverdales newest resident, Veronica’s cousin Harper, a “spunky fashionista” with hot pink streaks in her hair and a matching wheelchair.
Harper will be Archie’s first disabled main cast member, and while that honestly seems like something that should've already happened by now, it’s nice to see that they noticed something missing from their line-up and took steps to add it in. In Harper’s case, it was a conversation between Parent — a longtime Archie creator who’s done work on several of the company’s headline-grabbing moves in recent years — and Jewel Kats, an award-winning author of children’s books in which classic fairy tales are retold starring disabled heroines, that led to her creation.
It’s worth noting that Harper isn't the only cousin to the Lodge family that has ever shown up in the center of a story. When Archie #656 hits on June 18, she’ll be joining the Lodge Family Tree alongside Veronica’s cousins Marcy, a sci-fi fan who introduced Archie to the world of comic book conventions, and Cricket O’Dell, who has the ability to literally smell money. Obviously, the time is nigh for a Lodge Family Crossover event.