Classic comic book character, Archie, is set to die Wednesday, saving his gay friend. Many wonder if the death is a publicity stunt, or social commentary.

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Clearwater, Florida -- Lining the walls, and jamming every nook and cranny, comics fill Emerald City Comics, which has been open since 1989, is a mecca, of nearly a half-million books.

And through the years, the comic classic Archie has graced the shelves. But this week's Archie spinoff series will showcase a major twist.

"In that storyline, (when it arrives) on Wednesday, he dies, helping out a friend," said Neil Johnson, owner if Emerald City Comics.

And it's not just any friend. It's Kevin Keller. Archie's gay friend.

Across the board, comics including Archie have long reflected modern society. Which raises the question: Is this all a publicity stunt?

"There are gay characters in all the big comics," Johnson said.

Johnson also believes the death of Archie isn't a grand message about society. Rather, a way to open the teens of Riverside to a new audience.

"There are many openly gay characters. There's been great diversity for so long, and comics were once for the young male, but lately, trying to attract, new readers, for example women," he said.

Oh, and but fear not, dear reader. Rest assured. Archie, most likely won't be dead for long.

"No, no, there's no comic book character that permanently dies," Johnson said. "[For example] whenever there's a superhero, there's a super story to bring back to life."

Emerald City is receiving just 35 copies of the Archie issue on Wednesday, and expects the demand to be high.

More information on the Archie comic:

Kevin Keller gets married

Complete information on Archie

Get the Archie comic app

The main character of Archie to die in bid to defend gay friend in comic.

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