Dan Parent on Creating Kevin Keller and Drawing Batman

Dan Parent at Toronto Comic Con 1

Dan Parent is almost synonymous with Archie—having drawn Archie Comics for over 30 years, he has become intrinsically tied to the series. But recently, he had the opportunity to delve into another world—one featuring beloved DC Comics heroes Batman, Robin, and Batgirl—and he loved every minute!

We caught up with Dan Parent at the Toronto Comic Con to talk about bringing Batman and Archie together, as well as the legacy of Kevin Keller, Archie’s first gay character, created by Parent in 2010.

We at WWAC really enjoyed the Archie Meets Batman ’66 series. What was it like bringing these two beloved fictional worlds together?

Archie Meets Batman '66 #1: The Batman of Riverdale Cover C. Written by Michael Moreci and Jeff Parker, drawn by Dan Parent. Archie Comics and DC Entertainment. July 18, 2018
Archie Meets Batman ’66.

It was really good! The story was written really well by Jeff Parker and Michael Moreci so that was really nice. It was just fun because as a fan of both, I loved being able to draw both of those worlds together. And we were amazed at how well the two worlds blended together. Like, it all seemed very natural—it seemed like it just made sense! It was a nice, smooth transition to work on that.

You’ve been drawing Archie for a while. What was the process of bringing the Batman characters into the old Archie style?

I loved it! I loved it because I do commissions for Batman, but I’ve never really been able to draw Batman in a comic book, so for me, it was a great experience. The Archie style seemed to really blend well with that Batman ‘66 style. So yeah, I loved it, and I hope I get to do it again!

You’ve said you loved drawing Batgirl in the series. Why Batgirl particularly?

I don’t know why exactly, but growing up, Batgirl was such an exciting character. She kinda came out of nowhere on the show. She was a really fun, sexy character to draw. It was kind of like, you feel like drawing Betty and Veronica—which I do—and drawing Batgirl was great.

It’s almost impossible to imagine Archie Comics without Kevin Keller but there was a time when you had to create him. What was that experience like?

Kevin Keller: Welcome to Riverdale by Dan Parent. Cover courtesy Comixology
Kevin Keller: Welcome to Riverdale by Dan Parent. Cover courtesy Comixology

Well, it was sort of by committee. I had the idea and we tossed the idea around back and forth, but management was agreeable to it. So, once they were agreeable to it, it was easy to move forward.

How is the reaction to Kevin Keller now versus when he was first introduced?

When we first created Kevin, it was new territory because we didn’t have any gay characters at Archie. But now, he’s just part of the group of Riverdale kids, and it seems like he’s always been there, which is exactly what we wanted!

Riverdale is doing very well. How do you feel about seeing characters you’ve drawn for 30 years feature on the show?

It’s great. Great! It’s fun to see what they do. The show is a lot darker than the comic, which is fun—I like it actually—so, it’s fun to see their twists on the characters. They’ve changed some of the characters around a little bit for the show, but I think it’s interesting.

And Kevin has made it to the show.

Yeah! And the guy who plays him [Casey Cott] is great.

What has been your favorite Archie storyline to work on so far?

Archie Meets Batman ’66! It’s my favourite.

Could you share some insight into your creative process? What does your typical day look like?

I get up early and I draw, and then I usually run errands. I break it up a lot—like I’ll draw for a couple of hours, and then I’ll come back, and then I’ll draw more. I stay up late. I have very irregular hours, like most of us artists.

What are the differences in drawing Archie in the classic style versus the more modern style?

I still pretty much draw classic, I’ve never really strayed away from that. I’ve done some versions that are a little more realistic, but for the most part, I’m still considered for the classic style. It’s the style I prefer—I’m used to it, it works better for me.

What are you working on next and when can we see it?

Right now, I’m working on Archie: The Married Life 10th Anniversary. Issue #1 comes out in August!

Louis Skye

Louis Skye

A writer at heart with a fondness for well-told stories, Louis Skye is always looking for a way to escape the planet, whether through comic books, films, television, books, or video games. E always has an eye out for the subversive and champions diversity in media. Louis' podcast, Stereo Geeks, is available on all major platforms. Pronouns: E/ Er/ Eir