Jughead likes to eat. This we know. Getting physical with members of the opposite or same sex? Not so much.

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Jughead #4 comes out this week and, via preview at Comic Book Resources, it’s got a little detail that nudges along the modern-day re-invention of the classic high-school characters even further.

Mild spoilers follow.

In an exchange where a fellow Riverdale student Kevin Kelley laments how suspensions are thinning out the dating pool, Jughead says he doesn’t care about all that.

The explicit statement of Jughead’s asexuality is a change from previous versions of Archie’s ever-hungry best friend. While he was never portrayed as girl-crazy the same way that Archie or Reggie were, Jughead was shown to have girlfriends and interest in the opposite sex in previous decades of publishing history.

It’s worth noting that Jughead writer Chip Zdarsky is the artist on Sex Criminals, which has its own prominent asexual character in a recent issue. Zdarsky’s talked about this conceptualization in at least one interview, as seen in a Q&A on ComicBook.com:

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Yeah, for the stories it’s good to have someone not as mired in the hormonal teen romances, and it adds to that “outside-looking-in” quality I talked about before. I’m writing him as asexual, but this is comics, yeah? The next writer could make him discover girls or boys or both and that’s totally fine. There have been iterations of Jughead over the decades where he HAS been interested in girls, so there’s room to play around if someone was inclined. For me though, I like an asexual Jughead. That’s more interesting to me than writing him as just being behind everyone developmentally.

A tweak of interpretation like this doesn’t mean really much for a character like Jughead. He’s not a character who’s ever been part of a love triangle or a bunch of serial relationships. Jughead stories have almost always been about the young Mr. Jones finding himself in and out of goofy situations. That much probably won’t change.


Contact the author at evan@kotaku.com.