US: Why Positive Representations Of Asexuals On TV Are So Important

If you turn to page three of Jughead #4, part of the Archie Comics reboot series written by Chip Zdarsky and illustrated by Erica Henderson, you’ll find a striking exchange between the titular character and his friend Kevin Keller.

KEVIN: Look, there are only, like, five gay guys at Riverdale High! My romantic options can’t take that kind of hit! You just don’t get it ‘cause you’re asexual…

JUGHEAD: Yeah, well, it’s why I can think clearly and see this administration for what it is! I’m not hobbled by these hormonal impulses!

The comic was released in July 2015, and it was the first time Jughead was ever written to be canonically asexual; the reveal caused quite a stir. But Mr. Jones’ history with romantic and sexual aversion goes back much further than Zdarsky’s interpretation.

Jughead Jones has existed within the Archie Comics universe for over 75 years as an ardent self-professed “woman hater” — he’s more likely to be found jonesing for a burger at the local diner than trying to lock down a date with Betty Cooper or Veronica Lodge. He has good female friends, but the “woman hater” bit comes from his revulsion toward dating, and especially dating women. He thinks it’s ridiculous how his guy friends fawn over girls, and can’t fathom the idea of ever doing the same.

This is notable within the comics because the other characters in Riverdale, the central Archie Comics town, are so love- and sex-obsessed. The premise of the series was originally that two girls, Betty and Veronica, were fighting over who would end up with the eponymous Archie Andrews; and the vast majority of the secondary cast, from Midge Klump to Reggie Mantle, are in relationships or pursuing them at least some of the time. But not Jughead. Considering how beloved a character he’s been for decades — and how infrequently three-dimensional, non-evil aromantic and asexual characters are portrayed in media — Zdarsky’s comments about interpreting Jughead’s legendary standoffishness to be a (perfectly normal) expression of asexuality were groundbreaking. Read more via Buzzfeed