The venerable comic book classic Archie, first published in the 1940s, has always tried to stay current with our ever-changing culture, and in their newest effort to better reflect modern life, the comic book creators are introducing a character with a disability. Joining the eternally teenaged characters Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica and Reggie in the fictional town of Riverdale is Harper, described as a “spunky fashionista” with a “dynamic personality.”
A cousin to the established character and posh socialite Veronica, Harper doesn’t let her disability define her, according to those behind the comic book. “Harper is, first and foremost, a funny, fashionable and witty teenager. The fact that she’s disabled is only one part of her story, and we’re excited to welcome her to Riverdale and Archie Comics,” says Archie Comics Publisher and co-CEO Jon Goldwater.
The idea to add a character like Harper developed after Archie writer-artist Dan Parent met author and Archie fan Jewel Kats, a vivacious and fashion-conscious woman with a blinged-out wheelchair. The Harper character is a blend of Jewel and the comic book character Veronica.
Harper’s first appearance will be in issue number 656, available June 18.