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Knowledge Waits: The Possible Hints Over the Years That Iceman Is Gay

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This is the latest in a feature where I just share some bit of comic book history that interests me. Here is a collection of all of the installments in the feature so far.

One of the interesting aspects of young Iceman coming out in the most recent issue of All-New X-Men (and from the sound of Brian Michael Bendis’ discussions of the topic, it sure sounds like adult Iceman will be catching up with him, as well) is the notion that Iceman being gay is something supported in past comics. Bendis noted to CBR:

CBR: This story isn’t something that’s coming out of the blue, either. Over the years there’s been a lot of hints that Bobby might not be entirely honest with himself about his sexuality.

Bendis: Yes! That’s the funniest conversation online. We have some people going, “What on Earth are you talking about? Where did this come from?” Then there are other people who weren’t surprised at all. Already on Tumblr, and I’m not going to repost them until later in the week, people have posted a road map of panels of things that Bobby has done over the last 50 years that prove the point that I thought was obvious, and many others did too.

Bendis is correct that “Iceman is gay” is something that has come up a whole lot over the years with X-Men fans. So what’s this road map that Bendis is referring to? I don’t know what he’s specifically referring to, but I know what what most of the signs people refer to when they argue that Bobby Drake is closeted. So let’s take a look at them.

NOTE: This is so image intensive, I had to split it into three pages – BC.

First off, obviously when he was created, Iceman was not intended to be gay. That wasn’t even within the realm of possibility for someone like Stan Lee for a superhero character in 1963. Even as other writers took the book over, clearly, they were never thinking Bobby was gay, either. Bobby had a couple of girlfriends during his first stint as a member of the X-Men, but nothing serious.

When the first X-Men series ended with X-Men #66, Bobby was in a bit of a love triangle with Havok over Polaris…

icemangay1

But when X-Men relaunched with Giant Size X-Men #1, Bobby, Polaris and Havok all leave the team and Bobby seems to be fine with Polaris and Havok now being a couple.

Iceman then helps to form the Champions soon after leaving the X-Men in 1976, but again, no real relationship. He seems to be getting close to Darkstar, but it fizzles, especially when she ignores him when he risks his life to save her in a battle involving the Stranger.

Bobby is more or less just a guest star character for the rest of the 1970s (Champions folded quickly) and well into the 1980s, before J.M. DeMatteis brought Iceman, Angel and Beast to the Defenders for the NEW Defenders in 1983.

Beast was the public face of the team (and the team leader). Still, it was pretty clear that Bobby was still considered straight by the writers. Even to the point where DeMatteis and incoming writer Peter Gillis had Bobby jokingly pretend to be gay in 1984’s New Defenders #131…

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New writer Peter Gillis was interested in exploring some interesting ideas about sex and gender, and it sort of began with Defenders #132, with Bobby flirting with his new teammate, Cloud…

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In #134, Cloud, though, shows an interest in her female teammate, Moondragon…

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She struggles with her feelings the following issue…

icemangay6

In #136, she solves her problems by turning into a man….

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Ironically, of course, Moondragon years later came out as a lesbian.

Bobby doesn’t handle it particularly well…

icemangay8a

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Cloud changes back and forth and Bobby has a particularly hard time when he’s consoling Cloud on her bed when she changes into a man. Bobby freaks out, and tells Cloud that he wants to help, he just can’t.

But eventually he remains friends with Cloud…

icemangay9

And as they come closer to learning Cloud’s origins later on and whether she actually DID “turn” into a guy or if she is perhaps two person merged into one…

Story continues below

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Then, of course, her origins were revealed to be something COMPLETELY different as the series abruptly ended. Honestly, I don’t think the Cloud era is all that important to the overall “Hints that Bobby is gay” storyline, but people will always bring Cloud up, so I figure I might as well address it.

Bobby joined up with the new X-Factor soon after and again, didn’t have much in the way of love interests until Opal Tanaka was introduced in X-Factor #51. Again, writer Louise Simonson was clearly writing Bobby as straight.

They remain a couple for a couple of years, even as Bobby rejoined the X-Men. However, when Scott Lobdell took over writing Uncanny X-Men, it is now that we first really saw what people refer to when they talk about hints that Bobby is closeted (besides, of course, the general “he never had all that many steady girlfriends” thing).

Read on to see what Lobdell did with Bobby during his run…

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98 Comments

A man has low self-esteem, makes bad decisions, an overbearing father, trouble maintaining relationships with women, is the object of desire of same gender closed friends and acquaintances,.. Seems oddly familiar, almost a trope…

Should we then think that the entire cast of Seinfeld is gay? Alan Harper?? Or how about Bruce Wayne???

The characteristics named above can and often do happen to women characters and no one says “Well, now, after all these years we just have to accept the fact that she is a lesbian.”

“A faceful of snow!’

Damn, those Sixties comics were really ahead of their time.

@Trikki Nikk,

You’ve got the cause and effect wrong. People are not looking at these past hints to prove Bobby was gay all along, because we know he wasn’t. People are looking at the past continuity to try to put together a coherent narrative that fits the new (presumed, expected) status quo.

Anyhow, it’s been 20 years since I read New Defenders. When this was announced my first thought was that Bobby’s very visceral reaction to Cloud was pretty inconsistent with a closeted gay character, even one in denial. But upon rereading, it could be that he’s more upset by the idea of a transgender (ambi-gender? omni-gender?) person than a gay one. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect there are plenty of people in the gay community that struggle to accept transgender people. So I can see those scene being consistent with the new status quo and not needing any serious retcons.

FWIW, I love it. Bobby’s been in need of a new dimension for a long time. He has always been presented as pretty shallow, which can be a sign that someone is repressing or hiding behind walls. This makes sense to me as a development for the character. As has been pointed out, his hetero history is irrelevant because lots of gay men (and women) have hidden behind hetero facades their whole lives.

Has there ever been a character, in pop culture, who questioned his sexuality, but ended up straight after the story?

LOTS of female characters, but yes, it occasionally also happens with men. John Constantine had sexual experiences with men, as a for instance.

Kabe–maybe Francine Peters from Strangers in Paradise? That comic dealt with human sexuality with such a deft touch. The plotting got pretty wonky towards the end, and the art got a little too refined and lost some feeling; but man where his characters wonderful.

The Crazed Spruce

April 24, 2015 at 6:59 am

I was as shocked as anybody when Iceman was outed, but seeing it laid out like that…. yeah, I’m willing to buy it. (Kinda wish it didn’t require being exposed to the haphazard mashing of words together that Chuck Austen calls “writing”, though….)

capt usa (jim)

April 24, 2015 at 7:06 am

A lot of different X-men have been thought of as potentially closeted over the years (Nightcrawler, Colossus, Shatterstar, Beast and yes Iceman) that it isn’t a shock that one or more of them turned out to be actually gay.

When I first heard the news I was a bit upset, just because that is a reaction,(and that it seems to be somewhat contrived) but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. My best friend (who is not a comic fan for the most part, but loved Spidey and his amazing friends and Iceman was his favorite character) might be upset with this revelation but overall it’s not a big surprise, especially as this article points out, how he has been portrayed the past 10+ years.

capt usa (jim)

April 24, 2015 at 7:11 am

I will state though the art in the first half of section two is a crime against humanity. (x-men 301 and really 311…say what you will about Liefield but he never ever did something as atrocious as that stuff)

It’s inconsistent writing. And writers not respecting other writers. Bobby did care about Opal. But since that interfered with Lobdell’s take he ignored it and broke them up. The more I look at this it makes more sense for him to be a low self esteemed emotionally stunted man child who us straight. Or bisexual. A bixseual who is a emotionally stunted man child because he’s in denial that he likes both sexes.

01001011010110001

April 24, 2015 at 7:57 am

My personal crazy fan theory on all this. Bobby is gay, but Xavier wanted his first class of X-Men to be perfect models to represent mutant kind (we know he had manipulated Jean Grey in the past) and so buried Bobby’s sexual orientation, so much so that Bobby isn’t even aware of it. You may well find that a young reckless Xavier did something similar to one extent or another to all the young X-Men. When he later came to regret this decision he realized that coming clean or reversing the process might be more traumatic then leaving things the way they were. This likewise gives a retroactive reason for Cyclops’ possible redemption, presenting Xavier as less than perfect, perhaps even bordering on evil in his treatment of his first team. Given how deeply flawed each Illuminati member has been revealed to be, often with the best motivations, but still flawed, a reveal like this for Xavier seems highly possible.

Capt Usa –

That not mentioning all the female X-Men that had lesbian subtexts. I mean, Chris Claremont pretty much wrote all his female characters with a lesbian subtext.

Or maybe it’s just because Claremont was one of the very few male writers interested in portraying female friendship and that is why it read strangely to my teenage male eyes?

But even considering that possibility, it’s impossible not to read a lot of lesbian or bisexual subtext in Ororo.

As for the guys, I don’t really see Colossus as “closeted”, despite what Mark Millar thinks. There is this sexist prejudice that any attractive guy that is sensitive and artistic MUST be gay. Same thing happened with Jericho in New Titans, and Jericho was a stud that banged more girls than all the other male Titans combined. But hey, cute guy + sensitive + artist = GAY!

As for Iceman, yeah. Bobby being a closeted gay or bisexual makes perfect sense.

01001011010110001 –

Please, man. Don’t give the writers at Marvel any more ideas. Because that Xavier is a monster that brainwashed Bobby into being straight is just the kind of Original Sin crap that some clueless guy at Marvel would do.

At this point, I would not be surprised to learn that a time-travelling Xavier messed with the head of a kid named Hitler, and that is why WWII happened, and how Magneto is justified in being Charles’s enemy.

Great finds, but I really hope no one actually thinks that Bendis consulted with any previous X-Men books before making this decision. I just have to shrug at it. Iceman’s not that interesting, and no one knows much about him. Might as well make him gay if you want to tell a story about a young gay man. Comics are for stories, not slavish consistency.

He not only says he did, but he specifically says he showed Axel Alonso the older panels he was using to base it on and Alonso agreed with his interpretation of those past stories. So could that all be a lie? I guess, but seems like a weird thing to lie about.

“a gay guy bringing a beard home with him”

What does this even mean? Bring a beard home?

Did you mean friend? I just don’t understand this sentence.

Is that how Emma got control of Bobby’s body, through alien feedback? I didn’t know that, how zany!

That Astonishing story by Liu, should be referred to, constantly. Great character work from Liu, the art by Walta is top notch. Iceman gets to kill hundreds of people, leaving thousands with frost bite injuries and gets to walk away, still as a jokey character. All because of a form of mind control. If I was an X-Man (if only!) I would be bringing it up, all the time.

There are a few examples of actual All New Bobby being ‘not straight.’ Like when he goes on that double date with Scott and is upset with the girl he gets stuck with. Which is silly, as she was clearly the more attractive of the two. Then him being sicken to see his older self making out with the best X-Man, Kitty Pryde. Now we know the real reasons behind those situations.

If he was coming onto Scott, during these times (pretty much the only person All New Iceman spoke to) that could have been an awesome triangle! Bobby – Scott – Jean

Aggieborn –

A “beard” is a slang term for a fake girlfriend or a wife in a marriage of convenience that a gay man uses to hide his homosexuality.

Aggieborn, a beard is what a gay man (who may not be out with the people, he brought the beard along to) hides behind

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Beard

I’ve never heard my lesbian friends ever claiming to have used a beard (nor seen it in fiction) so I always associate it with men.

First, let’s be clear on what this is. Bobby Drake did not “come out as gay.” A writer decided to make a fictional character gay as a way to attract people’s attention. As Martin Prince once said to Comic Book Guy,” Aren’t they all imaginary stories?”

So, here’s my problem with this decision: it is becoming a trend in comics to take a character with a history of awkwardness, one who hasn’t been a star in his own right, and make him gay. First, it was Obsidian. OK, that made some sense. Then it was Element Lad. There was a lot of suspicion for a long time that he was gay, although that seems to go back and forth. Now, Iceman. This one is really pushing it.
The danger of this trend is the message seems to be you’re either macho or gay. In a way, it re-enforces stereotypes more than it combats them.

When Byrne made Northstar gay, it was interesting in part because he was a prick (Northstar, not Byrne. Well, Byrne too, but that’s another story). Northstar’s sexuality at the time was just another aspect of his personality. Now, it seems to be something writers do to make “wimps” interesting.

Excellent write up, but using the logic that Marvel has decided to pursue – couldn’t you argue Peter Parker was gay?

Failed relationships, was married but gave up the marriage to save his Aunt’s life (who really functions as his mother – that seems like a stereotypical gay Mama’s boy), and occasionally is crippled by self-doubt.

Not saying that he is – but I think marvel is really stretching here in this “revelation”.

John Klein –

Sometimes the term “merkin” is used in the case of lesbians.

There are a few examples of actual All New Bobby being ‘not straight.’ Like when he goes on that double date with Scott and is upset with the girl he gets stuck with. Which is silly, as she was clearly the more attractive of the two. Then him being sicken to see his older self making out with the best X-Man, Kitty Pryde. Now we know the real reasons behind those situations.

Oh yeah, true, but I didn’t count any of those examples since Bendis wrote them after he had already decided that Bobby was gay, ya know? I was just showing the examples that Bendis could have used to support him going this route.

Color me cynical, although I don’t think it’s cynical at all, but yeah, I think comics creators make character decisions like this all the time, then go back to find “support” for the idea against the inevitable weirdo backlash or to vet it to make sure it’s not completely impossible given what happened before.

The reason I don’t see that as a cynical point of view is: what exactly were all these breathtaking past, current or future stories about Straight Iceman that are being undermined? If they want to make Iceman gay because they want to tell that story, there are worse choices than the guy with the coming-out scene in a Bryan Singer movie, or a character with a pretty small fan base as an individual. If there’s anything that contradicts it, or anything that supports it, it doesn’t seem that important to me. At the very least, all these panels show that no story about Iceman being straight has ever been earth-shattering or even memorable.

I’m very comfortable saying that literally none of this points to him being gay.

Ted Craig –

Well, I said it myself a little above that I don’t like when people assume that any guy who is not conventionally macho must be gay. For instance, Colossus.

But in the case of Iceman, Obsidian, and Element Lad, being “wimps” isn’t the sole factor. And by the way, Element Lad has never been a wimp, he is one of the most powerful Legionnaires and has always been pretty confident as a superhero too.

I think there are other factors, such as the character never having real “chemistry” with a supposed girlfriend. I think that fits Iceman, while not fitting other “wimps” like Cyclops, for instance.

What? No scans from Mike Carey’s run on X-Men?

With the whole Iceman and Cannonball thing that got tongues waggging.

Note: Carey’s also commented in the past that he felt that Iceman was at least Bi.

And don’t forget that during the O5 era…. he was the one who dragged Beast out of the school and got him a girlfriend. Something that’s often known for gay men to do for good friends. ;)

Rene –

By wimp, I meant an awkward supporting character. As the leader of the X-Men, Cyclops obviously doesn’t fit this definition. And I’d say Colossus is also fairly conventionally macho, in that he’s often been shown using his powers to “work the earth.”

@Jubilee – yeah, but so what?

I think articles like this are nice because they allow readers who really, really care about “continuity” to construct something in their minds that will allow them to continue to enjoy the books they read, in the peculiar way that they read them.

I’m interested in stories, and though I’m not incredibly interested in new stories written by Bendis, I think it works fine to make one of the original X-Men gay if that’s the story he wants to tell. I have a hard time understanding why anything else would matter. Iceman wasn’t declared straight by The Beyonder or something, who isn’t even the Beyonder anymore thanks to Bendis (although I have very little interest in whatever story covered that).

To the first comment by Trikki Nikk, well Bruce Wayne was suspected to be gay by Dr Wertham. Seinfeld writers have had some fun with just how close they really are “Not that there’s anything wrong with that” and Alan Harper? Dude, do you watch 2 and 1/2 Men? It’s often debated how straight he really was especially after they added Ashton and had the two of them getting married. Oh sure, Alan claimed he wasn’t that excited to be marrying Ashton’s Walden but he kind of was and Walden kept calling him out on it.

Sometimes tropes are tropes for a reason and that trope usually ends in real life with the person coming out.
Just saying ;)

SpiderDashMan –

“Excellent write up, but using the logic that Marvel has decided to pursue – couldn’t you argue Peter Parker was gay?”

I think Gail Simone argued just that. And I’ve seen lots of people making jokes about how shy Peter Parker becomes a flamboyant wise-cracker when he wears his tights and how lots of his enemies are older men that are obsessed about him.

However, jokes aside, Peter Parker has had real chemistry and intimacy with too many women. Iceman rarely did. I think failed relationships aren’t the point, it’s that Iceman’s relationships failed because he seemed to always be a little distant from his girlfriends.

Things Beast and I have in common: We’re both hairy and we both belong to the Church of the Subgenius. No wonder he was always one of my favorite X-Men.

What? No scans from Mike Carey’s run on X-Men?

With the whole Iceman and Cannonball thing that got tongues waggging.

I was sort of lumping that in with that whole era of little knowing asides that the writers would sometimes throw in there, like PAD’s Nation-X gag.

Ya know, people talk about how awful comic art in the 90’s was (and rightfully so), but when I look at some 80’s art I can see what Liefeld and company were rebelling against. Look at most of the stuff on page one. It just looks so wooden.

Yes, I realize that was off-topic, but like the vast majority of people I couldn’t care less about the sexual preference of a fictitious character. Or a real person, for that matter.

Overall, in this instance, it feels like a crutch for the writer. He can’t really write anything interesting or that would capture the popular imagination. So, retcon a character as gay. That will draw attention and people will think that he is sssoooo deep.

Or, it could be a Star Trek type “reboot”. Bringing the past X-men, who actually originated in the ’60s, but now have to have come from the early ’00s, made some reality warping changes. And the young Iceman is gay, while the present Iceman is not gay. However, this kind of retconning has been done before, and done better. So, we’re back to a bad writer using a crutch.

@01001011010110001: Of course, since Bobby was “outed” by Jean, it’s also possible that Jean figured Bobby was gay, and mentally manipulated him into being so (consciously or otherwise). (On the other hand, given all the “revelations” of horrible things Xavier has done over the decades, I’m not sure this would even make the top 10 worst ways he’s abused his powers…)

Trikki –

I am not a fan of anything Bendis did after Daredevil.

However, making Iceman gay is only surprising or shocking to people who haven’t paid attention to the character’s story in the past 15 years (maybe more),

Cool Arrow –

I love 1980s “wooden” art. It’s clean. It tells the story. It never feels like a collection of posters. Yes, it’s wooden like a 1940s movie that feels like theater instead of a MTV videoclip. But you never have a problem knowing what is happening on the page.

The One and Only

April 24, 2015 at 9:30 am

There was an episode of MURPHEY BROWN where Mile was being sort’ve harassed for having a crush on a male co-worker. Another TV character that got constantly harassed for being gay was Tommy from TITUS. It came to a head in an episode where he found out his dad was gay,and looking back at his own life he began to wonder if he was gay himself. But after Titus’ brother,Dave, performed a “gay test” on Tommy. A full on lip lock. He declared Tommy not gay. And I don’t think it was ever brought up gain.

You know what surprises me in all this? How old the English use of “über-” apparently is.

Here’s what I think is funny. Emma Frost was literally inside his head, even more deeply than Teen Jean Grey.

And if we look at this as a retcon, then Emma showed more sensitivity or at least “hand’s off” than Jean did.

Emma freaking Frost.

I have zero problems with Iceman being gay, but anyone who seriously tried to make a case for him being gay based on a few pages like this (which actually comes out to a pretty lengthy, image heavy post) fails miserably. Thanks for at least making the much needed concession at the end, Brian.

The problem is that no one has ever really cared much about Iceman. He comes and goes in the story and hardly plays a role in any definitive story, never mind that he has none of his own.He’s really only famous for his high concept power. So this twist is obviously a cry for relevance. The collective Marvel opinion seems to be that they had no intention of this being a big deal… right.

And as for Bendis himself:
“Already on Tumblr, and I’m not going to repost them until later in the week, people have posted a road map of panels of things that Bobby has done over the last 50 years that prove the point that I thought was obvious, and many others did too.”
What’s been obvious is that his X-Men comics are more based on story demand and fan knowledge than his own knowledge of the comics. I don’t blame him for not reading hundreds of comics about one series, I mean he’s married with kids in a full time writing job of his own, probably amongst many other things. But c’mon. He went ahead with the story and had no reference of his won to back it up when questioned, and now is pretty blatantly waiting for a rally of scans to support him. Don’t be surprised if you see any of the same flimsy evidence mentioned later, or perhaps that Family Guy clip where Iceman comes home from a gay bar.

In considering Bobby’s characteristics that could in retrospect be seen as part of his journey of self discovery (or lack thereof), NO ONE is saying that those characteristics would always suggest homosexuality, and I think it’s pretty wrong headed and counterintuitive to look at a story of one orientation as closing doors for characters of other orientations. Gay people aren’t going to suddenly have all the repressed, awkward, unlucky in love characters! :)

Finding this narrative support in long past issues isn’t REALLY necessary, but taking what’s come before and making it work for you rather than box you in is one of the most valuable tools in contributing to this kind of ongoing serial fiction. I look at history of these stories as a multifaceted cavern that’s impossible to illuminate all at once, so for the purposes of your story you’ve gotta find an angle for your flashlight beam that’ll hit the angles that are most relevant. There will ALWAYS be contradictory stuff in the shadows, 50+ years of it, and of course the angles that are lit most often will burn brightest in readers’ minds.

The thing about Iceman though is he’s always had way fewer facets to his corner of the cave, disproportionate to his stature as a founding X-Man. Sure, he’s been AROUND most of the time, but as a perpetual side character- he rarely has his own signature stories that get revisited. Conveniently enough, the ones he does have have often dealt with repression or the untapped potential of his powers. Yes, there are obviously stories where Iceman is clearly meant to be straight, but think about the major relationships the other original X-Men have had. Emma Frost! Psylocke! Abigail Brand! Madelyne Prior! Lee Forrester, Candy Southern, Trish Tilby and so on! Who’s your favorite Iceman girlfriend.. the one from that record store? Topal was it? Those issues with Mystique?

Iceman is kind of a blank slate, in that as a concept he’s not waiting for something congruent to happen, he’s begging for anything interesting to happen! Characters used to grow and enter new phases of their life all the time (Iceman included, his just haven’t been as interesting or memorable) but in the last few decades of 95+ percent of readers and creators having nostalgia for certain ideal versions of every character and all the most popular characters being shared by multiple books, the inner lives of our Avengers and X-Men just aren’t as linear in their progression as they once were. This system of maintaining a conceptual “center” to most characters seems have divided fans on every major development introduced- either you like the center and want to stay, or you like the change but don’t expect it to last. Or I suppose you might just enjoy the story on its own merits as it unfolds. The other major aspect of our reception to change these days is that the 24 hour cycle of analization the Internet allows for means anything that can be “news” will be- which creates the perception that each major development was hollowly engineered for headlines.

I think, or hope, it’s telling that Marvel didn’t issue a press release or anything in advance of this story- this at least has the feeling of a kind of small, character based, genuine progression that I enjoy reading, and it’s a very nice development for a character who is due for some STORIES. :)

I’ve never been a fan of the idea that your relationship status has anything to do with your sexuality. I’m gay, but I’ve been single for 12 years. That doesn’t make me not-gay. Similarly, Bobby Drake not dating a woman for any great length of time, or being single for a long time doesn’t make him not-heterosexual (I hate the term ‘straight’).

Well put, Will M.

Personally, I think Bendis has made the X-Men more interesting and readable than any writer since Whedon.

Ted –

I agree with you on the “supporting character” part. Publishers and writers will always find it safer to explore the sexuality of a supporting character, than announcing that Steve Rogers or Wolverine is gay.

But really, for a big portion of the characters’ story, Iceman was more conventionally “macho” than Colossus or Nightcrawler. Iceman was abrasive, a practical joker, got angry and jealous of Havok puttinh the moves on “his girl”, and had no time for mushy feelings and stuff.

Colossus, OTOH, is gentle, calm, polite, full of feelings. Nightcrawler is polite and sensitive and flamboyant. Both less macho than Iceman.

I’m sorry, but as both a comics fan and a gay man, this just feels like Bendis is just pulling a stunt.

Shatterstar started out as an emotionless, sexless killing machine, but later writers developed and built upon the character, where he gradually learned about sexuality, love, and desire through his growing affections for his teammate Rictor. So when Peter David revealed that Shatterstar wasn’t straight, it felt real, not tacked on or forced.

The same goes for Obsidian. He had exactly TWO romantic interactions with women, and they both ended terribly. After that, he graduated from Infinity Inc to the Justice League alongside his Inf-Inc teammate Nuklon. When Nuklon tried to label Todd as gay or bi, Todd didn’t take to well to Albert trying to define his sexuality for him, especially before he was ready to deal with it…much like what Jean did to Bobby. (As a side note, the creators of Obsidian originally intended for him to be openly gay at the start, but much like with Northstar, comic companies in the early 80s weren’t ready to pull the trigger on that)

This feels like Bendis putting on a red wig and saying, “You’re gay now because I feel like it!”. Coming out doesn’t involved someone else declaring your own sexuality to you. It’s a process that you experience for yourself. Yes, Iceman had a lot of bad relationships with women, but so have a lot of straight comic book characters. If that’s all it takes to prove someone’s homosexuality, then Spiderman and Batman would have been partying at Fire Island YEARS ago. Bobby has also fell hard for women and fell harder when they left him (see Champions #17 when Darkstar bails on the team to go back to Russia – Iceman isn’t exactly saying “Oh no. Don’t…oh well I tried”). Not to mention that Jean shoots down the suggestion that he might be bi, which would be a lot more plausible since it doesn’t try to whitewash 50 years of continuity)

Bendis should have picked a different X-Men member, like Triage or Goldballs. X-23 would have been the best choice, since her sexuality has never really been touched upon, and there should be more LGBT females in comics.

Also, this retcon brings up a really nasty connotation: If past Bobby is gay, but current Bobby isn’t, then it suggests that either being gay is a choice or just a “phase” to get over. If this was an alternate timeline Bobby (like with Ultimate Colossus or X-treme X-Men’s Wolverine), this wouldn’t be the issue. But as it stands, this is Bobby from the same timeline, just from 10 years back, so hopefully Bendis clears this up soon.

Tony –

“Similarly, Bobby Drake not dating a woman for any great length of time, or being single for a long time doesn’t make him not-heterosexual (I hate the term ‘straight’)”

It’s not so much relationship status, but the reasons why those relationships failed. It always seemed that Bobby had intimacy problems, that was he never really close with his girlfriends, that he didn’t take them seriously, and that he lacked chemistry with most of them.

Of course, none of this is “mathematical” proof that he’s gay; there may be lots of explanations for his problem with intimacy. But being closeted gay is one of them, and it’s not a bad one.

“Not to mention that Jean shoots down the suggestion that he might be bi, which would be a lot more plausible since it doesn’t try to whitewash 50 years of continuity”

I agree with this bit. I also agree that Jean is not behaving in an acceptable manner.

However, people are being disingenious, naive, or ignorant of the character story by claiming that revealing Iceman to be gay is contradicting 50 years of continuity. See, that very few people have been making similar claims about Peter Parker, Johnny Storm, and other superheroes that have had bad relationships with women is evidence that the relationship failures alone aren’t what is giving Bobby a “gay vibe” (I will not discuss Batman, because yeah, a significant portion of the fandom thinks Bruce isn’t straight).

Some people are missing the point of this article. This isn’t really about “proof” that Iceman has been gay all along. It’s about constructing subtext in a way that makes sense with a narrative. Overall, it’s about revisiting old comics and rereading them in a new way. It’s fun. It’s like rewatching your favorite show after a big reveal in season 8, and seeing the breadcrumbs that might have lead up to it.

Bobby being gay has been an in-joke inside and out of Marvel for decades. Fans have been poking at this for a long time, and writers have been getting bolder and bolder as the years went on. I mean, Family Guy did a bit about Iceman sneaking off to gay bars. The X2 movie had this weird “coming out” scene. I know some people thought of young Bobby playing hookie with young Scott as “Bobby’s first date”, hahaha.

(As a side note, people mentioned Colossus. He’s apparently gay in the Ultimate universe, currently (?) dating Ultimate Northstar).

John Klein,

While less frequent nowadays, historically, there have been instances where gay men and lesbians were “beards” for one another: They “married” to have the legal privileges and avoid various social scorn — while taking discreet lovers on the other side. In present times, there have also been rumors that a certain A-list actor and his actress wife have been beards for one another. Just not the comment thread here: http://www.celebitchy.com/292507/jada_pinkett_smith_doubles_down_on_her_open_marriage_comments_makes_it_worse/.

Yep, they used to call those “lavender marriages”, like Rock Hudson’s.

This whole article is a spectacle of what is wrong with the industry. Homosexuality isn’t something you can dissect like it’s a science experiment. Why don’t you come up with a crass article about the signs of someone’s heterosexuality. The very idea that this is fodder for the masses disgusts me. This is a sham. As a gay male this is so offensive. But what do you expect from a bunch of 40 year old straight white males.

If you want to understand the way to handle homosexuality, read Young Avengers. That’s how you do it. This isn’t it. The way Iceman has been handled and the discussion that has happened as a result is so distasteful it’s sickening. Being gay isn’t click bait. I live in a society where I can’t get married. I live in a society where a bunch of dudes think it’s okay to justify a terrible coming out story by showing panels out of connotation to prove what exactly? That Bendis was right? That Iceman was gay this entire time? And you use Chuck Austen as proof? Really?

If you don’t get this outrage then you’re the reason why it’s there. For shame.

“This whole article is a spectacle of what is wrong with the industry. Homosexuality isn’t something you can dissect like it’s a science experiment. Why don’t you come up with a crass article about the signs of someone’s heterosexuality.”

Everything in human behaviour can be analyzed and dissected and discussed. Homosexuality isn’t special or sacred. And neither is heterosexuality.

“As a gay male this is so offensive. But what do you expect from a bunch of 40 year old straight white males.”

Ad hominem much?

“I live in a society where a bunch of dudes think it’s okay to justify a terrible coming out story by showing panels out of connotation to prove what exactly? That Bendis was right? That Iceman was gay this entire time? And you use Chuck Austen as proof? Really?”

Yep, the coming out story is horrible. Most of what Bendis writes these days, IMO, is crap. And probably 100% of what Chuck Austen ever wrote. That doesn’t make it any less true that there has been tons and tons of possible hints over the years. And Brian merely collected some of it.

Obviously this wasn’t what Stan Lee intended, but I can’t help but think of the moment in X-MEN #1 where Angel, Beast, and Cyclops are all drooling over their first glimpse of Jean, and Bobby’s reaction is, “A girl? Big deal!”

It’s funny, I remember following New Defenders pretty closely back when it came out (no pun intended), but I have no memory of that pink woman at the bottom of page 1. Who’s that?

Danny –

The funny thing is that even Professor X was drooling over Jean, in a very innapropriate way.

But not Bobby.

@Bizzle

As Iceman might say, “Chill”.

Brian made it pretty clear in the article that he’s trying to replicate the possible source material Bendis used when writing this story. The reason for both Bendis and Brian even needing that list in the first place, is because a lot of small-minded people don’t like it when pop culture characters are revealed to be gay, or are introduced as gay, or pal around with gay characters. Homophobes, is what I’m saying. A list like this shows that Bendis wasn’t making a spur-of-the-moment, plucked-from-nowhere decision solely to pander to the progressive community, or to try and annoy fanboys (spurious arguments that have nonetheless been tossed around).

He was taking something that many X-Men readers (especially gay comic book fans, for whom the X-Men have held a historic appeal) considered subtext, and making it text. In doing so he’s making a book about inclusivity more inclusive.

You can argue that he’s handled it badly, or clumsily, or not as ideally as he could have. But there is a breadth of experiences across the gay community, and no one perfectly representative story. Wiccan and Hulking are fantastic characters, but they were created (and grew up) in a time that meant they were lucky enough to not feel the need to be in the closet. There are a lot of gay people, young and old, across the world for whom that’s not true. To me, Bobby’s story (which is only started in this issue, and is by no means complete) is one of a man from an intolerant time/place coming to a new time/place, one where his differences are more accepted. For someone who’s struggled incredibly hard to repress his sexuality, a welcoming environment might not be enough to come to terms with their true nature. A friend trying to force the issue, while probably insensitive, is not uncommon.

(Oh, and that repression? It could largely be thanks to his strict, bigoted father, who’s barely been seen since the 90s. Someone should provide examples of him for readers who might not be familiar, that would be cool.)

While in an ideal world, Brian and Bendis wouldn’t necessarily need to justify a character coming out of the closet with context, we don’t live in that world. Fans and others online are going to debate the issue, and providing ammunition to the side supporting Bobby’s coming out can only be a good thing.

TL;DR – More positive representation, even handled clumsily, is probably a good thing. And stories dealing with complicated issues probably shouldn’t be fully judged until they’re over.

I’m gay. I’ve speculated about Booby being gay for years. And Beat. And Colossus. And Wolverine. And Cyclops. If you want to cherry-pick pieces of “evidence” that Bobby is gay, you have to do a better job than this. As others have said, having trouble with women doesn’t mean that someone’s gay. Given Bobby’s character history, in fact, he has the same problem with women that he has with his powers, his career (a CPA? Really?), and his tenure in superhero groups. Now this could all stem from insecurity which could be related to gayness, but it could also just be that daddy didn’t love him enough. Now I have no problem with them retconning Iceman to be gay (they’ve retconned worse), but the way they went about it is just ignorant. It would have been much more accurate to say that bobby was, say, a 5 on the Kinsey scale, that is to say, bisexual, but only barely (mostly gay). To say otherwise is to say that he really didn’t care about any of the girls he ever dated, and there have been quite a few. In the earlier comics, particularly, I thought he was always a bit of a skirt chaser. It could have been to prove his masculinity (especially to himself), but it implies that he wasn’t earnest or genuine for 50 years of comics, which I have trouble believing. He was always kind of a flake (snowflake?), but he always seemed to be honest and upfront, even when he was being kind of a failure.

It’s funny, I remember following New Defenders pretty closely back when it came out (no pun intended), but I have no memory of that pink woman at the bottom of page 1. Who’s that?

When Cloud first showed up, she was working for Professor Power with two other female sort-of villains. When it came time to reveal her origins (right before they then revealed her REAL origins), one of her former teammates showed up to help. That is her. Her name was Seraph. At the time, Cloud believed her to be her sister (but, just like the fellow wrote in “Hound Dog,” but that was just a lie).

Oh, and that repression? It could largely be thanks to his strict, bigoted father, who’s barely been seen since the 90s. Someone should provide examples of him for readers who might not be familiar, that would be cool.

There was a pretty notable example of him in this piece, no?

“Same thing happened with Jericho in New Titans, and Jericho was a stud that banged more girls than all the other male Titans combined. But hey, cute guy + sensitive + artist = GAY!”

Minor technical point: Jericho as a lady’s man didn’t come up until after the Is He Gay? Idea came up. Though that doesn’t change that you’re spot on about the cliched assumptions involved.

Interesting discussion. And I agree this is more about working with past stories (whether it turns out well or poorly) than about Bendis claiming Look It Was Obvious!

There was also another Lobdell issue in which Bobby and Jean go out shopping and it pretty much spells out that Bobby is gay or bi at least.

“The funny thing is that even Professor X was drooling over Jean, in a very innapropriate way.

But not Bobby.”

My interpretation was that the scene merely highlighted how young Bobby was e.g. young boys don’t like girls, or pretend not to.

I await Bendis’ next retcon in which we discover that Prof X is clearly a paedophile and the School for Gifted Youngsters was merely an excuse to surround himself with vulnerable children he could sexually exploit and then mindwipe like the Vanisher and Blob. I mean the signs are clearly all there too.

Jamie –

Yes, I am aware that that was Stan Lee’s intention. Just to show how Bobby was less mature than the others.

It’s just funny in hindsight. Sometimes a writer isn’t aware of how things can be perceived by others. My favorite is when some socially Conservative writers, when they write teen males, try to steer them away from teenage sex and so they make the characters into polite, considerate young men that don’t want to get physical with girls and so the characters end up with a huge gay vibe that the writer never intended.

As for Xavier, people have been looking at sidekicks and young proteges for decades now and seeing pedophilia subtexts. But you know, in this case, turning the subtext into text would be tantamount into making Xavier even a bigger monster than people usually do, while making Bobby gay doesn’t make him any less heroic. But I am sure you know that being gay has nothing to do with pedophilia.

You know, there is literally nothing convincing at all in all that material.

Bobby being gay, even a closeted one or a bisexual, counts as a complete retcon to me. After Lorna, Darkstar, Cloud, Moondragon and Opal, among others, there is very clearly a heterosexual drive in him. And the evidence for a homosexual one? I am just not seeing it. Nor do Northstar or Beast in the pieces above, and they are in fairly good positions to know.

The closest anything comes to evidence is Emma playing with his mind. But this is Emma Frost. She is not a reliable source, certainly not at this point in time.

Quite frankly, one can make a better case for Wolverine being secretly attracted to Cyclops. Or for Storm being a lesbian in denial.

Not buying it. I’m all for diversity, but this is just a fishing expedition to try to retrofit thing away for another hackneyed Bendis/nu-Marvel disregard for continuity and decades of established characterization.

BTW, if Marvel had any guts, they’d try one of these retcon moves with Wolverine or Spider-Man

Thanks for this thorough look, which serves to remind me why this decision didn’t sit well with me. All the stories you note as evidence were written by X-authors I don’t like, whereas the authors I like wrote Bobby as straight! The Lobdell stuff particularly reminds me why I stopped reading the series for years. The X-series have always had trouble writing for Bobby with him learning the same lessons about maturing over and over and I fear being an angsty closeted gay man will be his new characterization.

@Brian

Sorry, I should have been clearer. I was responding to the criticism of you for compiling this list, trying to say that it provides useful context for new readers. I’ll use less sarcasm next time.

This just goes to prove that crappy comics never truly die. They just lie dormant, waiting to breed even more crappy comics, sometimes years later. Like a disease.

Sorry, but making gay innuendos doesn’t make one gay. I know, since I’ve said such remarks to my closest friends many times, always in a joking manner (“Cool, we get to spend some quality time together! LOL!) No, this is just pandering, and not even a good one, since it still seems that Marvel is playing it “safe”. Make a principle character homosexual, then you can talk about being “inclusive” and “diverse”. This, and other reasons, why I’ve went from purchasing 50 Marvel/DC Comics a month to just…two. Keep it up you guys, and I might go down to…ZERO. Well, maybe I’ll start picking up the trades, but that’s about it.

First off everyone should just ignore Austen’s run. Since it’s past Bobby thats gay none of these are valid examples when trying to make sense of it.

To me these examples are a pretty clear example of people seeing what they want to see. I think some gay readers really want to see a bunch of these characters be gay and they latch onto any innocuous scene they can find and try to add intent that was never there. I actually like Bobby being outed but it seems like there is a long list of heroes that have gay fan bases that have compiled a list of scenes to try to make their case for.

@Luis Dantas
“Or for Storm being a lesbian in denial.”

There weren’t some hints during Claremont’s years..?

I don’t know about lesbian, but Storm being bisexual had some gigantic… well, hints isn’t the right word for it. It’s more like a gigantic neon sign in the sky with STORM HAS THE HOTS FOR THIS GIRL written in it. I mean, go back and re-read Storm’s interactions with Yukio as written by Claremont.

Even if you take the more Conservative fan possible chosen among Bob, Steve, Jason, dswynne, HellRazor, and Dr. Opossum (that is assuming that they’re not all the same guy posting with different names), even this guy would have trouble not seeing that Claremont was clearly indicating that Storm had attraction for this one woman (not counting her close friendships with other females over the years).

You know, I’m kind of indifferent to the retcon of Iceman being gay, but it grinds my gears that Bendis keeps trying to justify his retcons by misinterpreting/overinterpreting/exaggerating moments from previous comics and saying “It’s not a retcon at all! You see, this is perfectly backed by plenty of old stories”. Just be a man, admit when you’re retconning or changing characters and stop treating people like they’re gullible morons.

“Not to mention that Jean shoots down the suggestion that he might be bi, which would be a lot more plausible since it doesn’t try to whitewash 50 years of continuity”

Jean shoots down the suggestion that he might be bi because the Bendis version of Bobby isn’t bi. He’s not confused about his sexuality. He already knew he was gay, and the comment about being bisexual was to try to convince Jean that he wasn’t “full gay”. It wasn’t any different that when he tried to stop Jean by saying that his future self wasn’t gay (which Jean also seems to shoot down).

As for being bi being a more plausible story… Not really? Bobby being in the closet all these decades does work, even if he was written as straight for most of it. It certainly doesn’t hurt that you’ve got over a decade of writers who either intentionally put in nudge nudge wink wink moments or felt Bobby might not be straight even while technically writing him as straight. And from a story perspective, being bi just doesn’t have the same meaning, to the point of being a pointless revelation. (Now, I’m not saying that Bendis is writing anything worthwhile with an out of the closet Bobby. I highly doubt that he is, because I don’t believe Bendis has the talent.)

Okay, so we’ll concede it’s possible to look at past appearances of Iceman and conclude there was some gay subtext, even when the writer didn’t intend it and specifically wrote him as straight. Thus, having it revealed that he’s gay may not be a total asspull on Bendis’ part.

Here’s my problem: hypothetically, could a future writer look at Bobby’s history, see that for most of his 50+ year history, he was written as straight, and have Bobby conclude he really is straight, after all? It would be consistent with his past characterization (certainly more consistent with Bendis’ interpretation; some previous writers may have written Bobby as potentially gay before now, but far more wrote him as straight). Theoretically, there should be nothing wrong with that (it wouldn’t be like making, say, Northstar straight, since he didn’t really have any characterization prior to Alpha Flight #1, and Byrne intended him to be gay right from the start of that series), but I can’t imagine any scenario in which that’s not taken to be highly offensive and homophobic.

So taking a character who was created straight, and written straight for the better part of five decades, but who was later retconned to be gay, and making them straight again… would that be acceptable? Why or why not?

@Green Luthor
That comes pretty close to making sexual preference look like a conscious choice, or something that you grow out of (or “get better” from).

With the Bendis story: O5 Bobby is gay, and admits to being gay. Current/Normal/Adult/whatever Bobby is almost certainly gay, and has spent his life in the closet. The bit where Jean and O5 Bobby discuss this certainly implies that Jean figures Adult Bobby is gay, but her assumption is also presumably coming heavily off believing O5 Bobby is gay.

There are two potential issues with Adult Bobby being gay in the Bendis story, which is why I said “almost certainly”. The first is that Jean only implies Adult Bobby is gay, and never directly says it the way that she says O5 Bobby is gay. The second is that we are not guaranteed that O5 Bobby and Adult Bobby are 100% connected. Beast might have messed up and pulled X-Men from the wrong timeline and/or alternate reality. Time being broken could have caused a problem. Future changes to time might separate them the same way a Crisis does at DC. Adult Bobby might have been zapped by a “Straight Ray” some time after the period where O5 Bobby was pulled.

The second seems like the better way to retcon the retcon. The first just seems like a bad idea. “One day Bobby looked at Jean and felt flush. He now understood why everyone was interested in her. It was the same way he had previously felt about Rick on the football team. As Bobby watched, thoughts of Rick faded from his mind, replaced by images of Jean. Bobby was now heterosexual.”

I think it is really stupid to use the fact that he has not had any long term relationships as proof of being gay. If that’s the case then label the whole marvel universe, cause that’s almost everybody.Having trouble with the opposite sex ,does not equate attraction to the same sex.Too many people make that wrong assumption in real life. If they wanted to make a another gay character they should have created a new one. In 50 years of being around,Iceman has never shown to be hiding out. Now people are old things out of context and say”oh now it makes sense……..” Only thing that makes sense is, somebody at Marvel wanted to make some shocking changes to an iconic character,and Iceman was the fall guy.

It’s funny when it is such a big deal when it is a male character coming out. In 2013 (?) I think, Sam Humphries outed Psylocke as bisexual, had her sleeping with another woman ON PANEL, and nobody freaked out. Now when it is a male character, all hell breaks lose.

@Amanda
There is a difference between making a straight character bi and making them gay. Making Psylocke bi didn’t change any of her past relationships with male characters to mean something other than they were at the time, and it didn’t negate her having continuing relationships with male characters, even revisiting certain past relationships with male characters that fans love, like Archangel, in the future.

Iceman has strong ‘ships with a number of female characters he has had relationships with over the years, and fans love seeing those relationships revisited, even rekindled. Making him “full gay” will eradicate and rewrite a lot of what people like about the character, and have liked for 50+ years. Without exaggeration, I would argue that Iceman’s relationships with women, and certain female characters in particular, is probably about 80% of the character’s appeal. If this is done to adult Iceman, something significant will be lost.

@Amanda: That’s because two women… well, don’t actually need to spell that out.

Liz Day Apocrypha

April 26, 2015 at 2:17 pm

Moondragon isn’t a lesbian. It’s canon that she’s bisexual.

From Wikipedia:

“She is openly bisexual, and has been romantically attracted to Daredevil, Thor, Cloud, Quasar, Marlo Chandler, and Phyla-Vell.”

Liz Day Apocrypha

April 26, 2015 at 2:34 pm

@Amanda:

The difference between outing a character as bi and as gay is that being bi doesn’t invalidate past relationships.

When a longtime character is suddenly gay, it’s turns all their past heterosexual relationship into “experimenting” or “mistakes” or “lying to themself” even if the stories themselves don’t support this interpretation. (How exactly is Rictor not bisexual? Please, someone explain that to me.)

Ironically, many bi people in real life are pressured to declare themselves as either gay or straight and write off any relationships that don’t fit that narrative in the same way.

What annoys me as a member of the LGBT community is that how often attempts at “diversity” follow into well-ground patterns of “safe queers” and the types too strange or confusing to bother with.

Archie Comics brings diversity by introducing Kevin Keller, a blond, white gay man.

DC brings diversity by debut a new version of Alan Scott, a blond, white gay man.

Now Marvel brings diversity by an exciting new twist for on Iceman’s character, he’s now a… blond, white gay man.

If a male character came out as bisexual or any established character came out as transgender? Now, that would actually be something to talk about.

But the trend that every female character who’s a bit of a “bad girl” is bisexual and every cleancut blond guy is gay? That’s just stereotyping.

@Liz Day –

People want to belong. Declare yourself straight, and the world is yours. Declare yourself gay, and at least you have one community that is ready to accept you. Declare yourself bisexual and… well… you’re on your own, mostly.

I had one openly gay friend that had an on-again, off-again girlfriend on the side. Another (mostly) openly gay friend that flirted with and kissed girls on the mouth and when he went clubbing. To my eyes, they’re bisexual, but I suspect they’d run from that label.

I think the full spectrum of sexuality will only be accepted after society becomes totally accepting of gay people, and that is still a long way into the future.

“Without exaggeration, I would argue that Iceman’s relationships with women, and certain female characters in particular, is probably about 80% of the character’s appeal.”

hahahahahahahahaha.

Great joke, you really gave me a good laugh this morning.

“it’s turns all their past heterosexual relationship into “experimenting” or “mistakes” or “lying to themself” even if the stories themselves don’t support this interpretation.”

You seem to have a very narrow view of something. Homosexuality or relationships or something. Relationships are not “invalidated” when a person comes out as gay later in life.

Sean –

Yep, seeing as how enormous’s Opal Tanaka fandom is, I can well see that Iceman coming out as gay will destroy this most important of Marvel’s power couples. I can already imagine Hollywood studio execs angry, because they had a trilogy of Opal Tanaka movies planned.

Or, you know, Iceman’s earlier infatuation with Polaris. No one ever heard of Polaris hooking up with Havok, of course. But everybody knows of Iceman/Polaris. It’s in the same league as Superman/Lois. But now they destroyed it. Or Iceman/Darkstar. That was also the stuff of legends, man. I just heard that Alan Moore had planned to come to Marvel just to write Iceman/Darkstar, but now that is never going to happen.

Yep, Iceman coming out has destroyed some of past Marvel’s most important moments. :p

Now Marvel brings diversity by an exciting new twist for on Iceman’s character, he’s now a… blond, white gay man.

Um, Bobby is not now nor has he ever been blond. He has brown hair. See, diversity!

Without exaggeration, I would argue that Iceman’s relationships with women, and certain female characters in particular, is probably about 80% of the character’s appeal.

Yep, no exaggeration there at all. When people think of Iceman, all they think of is “likes the ladies.” Does he have superpowers? They don’t even know. His superpower has always been heterosexuality.

Ha, now I see him changing his superhero moniker from the “Ice Man” to the “Ladies Man.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ladies_Man_%282000_film%29

This is why I loved Strangers in Paradise. Moore never tried to put his characters into boxes.

Personally, reading this compilation, I think this is just further proof that Bendis is full of crap and treats Marvel characters as his own personal fanfiction. However there is an out to all this. Obviously at no point did the original X-Men ever time travelled to the future and had these current adventures, so one can only come to the conclusion this isn’t our (or 616 if you prefer), so this is a parallel universe Bobby who be any sexuality that he wants to have and have absolutely no impact on 616 Bobby….

I’m gay and as a fan of Iceman, I think it’s great, but honestly there shouldn’t have to be such scrutiny over if it’s based in “reality.” I know many men who are gay that went out and even married women because of family pressure, visits to anti-gay pyschoanalysts, simply from not being ok with themselves (“it’s just a phase” to “it’s wrong” and so on.) There are many men who are still married to their wives due to living them/ devotion to their families despite the fact they’re not truly happy. These friends may look for that special something outside the marriage by actual physical contact to “simply” watching porn online. Some men are content with this and othets aren’t – they find they can’t take the unhappiness, the lying, the lack of freedom and divorce their wives and find a new life. It can be liberating but also devastating due to the guilt of messing up their family. Sometimes those straying get caught and are forced to suddenly be themselves though this too can eventually lead to some happiness. As for sex, just because a man is gay doesn’t mean that he can’t perform with a woman. In any case, I don’t think Bendis did this as a shallow attempt to sensationalize. He chose Bobby because he is a founding character but not one that would instantly seem difficult for fans to accept – while it’s possible Cyclops could somehow be bisexual or gay, due to the psychic rapport Jean and Scott once had it would make it seem more unlikely and fans would be more upset. There’s already enough negativity when Power Girl doesn’t have her cleavage bared, when Human Torch is Black, and when a series follows a gay Wolverine and Hercules, for example. There’s already people declaring that it’s not ok for Bobby to be gay “here” in 616 but some other universe. While sexuality can be defining, who Bobby ultimately is attracted to and *falls in love with* shouldn’t change his character other than he might be provided with some extra growth. His personality and status of a hero shouldn’t be fundamentally changed by this. He’s still Bobby. He’s still Iceman. He’s not a new character who is gay who takes his code name, it’s still him. As someone who had struggled with being gay for the majority of his life, Bobby being outed (not how Jean did it, ouch) as Bendis did (and I’m generally not a fan of his) doesn’t feel so phony as other attempts at being “diverse.” Again, gay or straight, or anything else, Iceman is still the coolest hero out there. :p

Trikki Nikk says it all.

I read a good chunk of Bobby’s story when I collected the entire run of the original X-Factor. There’s plenty of evidence there that Drake is not gay, nor has ever been gay.

This is just another case of a corporation seeking to move more units of a product by using controversy or tokenism instead of actually producing a quality product.

I’m sure Tony Stark will decide he’s “always been a woman” pretty soon because of his relationships with women. Ugh.

[…] at The Mary Sue, Jon Erik Christianson’s piece about queer invisibility for Panels, and Brian Cronin’s in-depth analysis of past evidence of Bobby’s sexuality for Comic Book […]

None of the panels support him being gay, in fact I see a straight man who has issues with women.

I loved the 1980s Ice Man limited series when it came out, and that really went into his inner psyche, and showed he has problems with relationships.

That does not equate being a bisexual or homosexual.

If there is indeed obvious evidence “from the last 15 years”, I’d like to see it.

There is a danger of stereotyping guys who are not macho or can’t hold on to a relationship as being homosexual. Seriously as others have said, Peter Parker fits this trope, and it may be a subconscious reason why some fans petitioned Stan Lee to admit that Spider-Man could be gay.

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