As Marvel continues to make more and more diverse comics and characters, Ice Man, one of the most iconic X-Men characters has come out as gay…
For several decades now, comics have done an admirable job of presenting socially important issues inside books designed for readers who range from children to elderly adults. Books like ‘X-Men’ have done outstanding work in relating problems like racial inequality, bigotry and prejudice throughout their issues while using mutants as a metaphor for any number of persecuted groups represented throughout history.
Another of those socially important stories happened this week with ‘All New X-Men’ No. 40.
Writer Brian Michael Bendis decided to make a major change to an iconic character as he outed one of the first ever X-Men, Bobby Drake aka Iceman as gay.
Bendis actually had no plans for the news about the story to leak out early, but someone, somewhere whether a distributor or book retailer decided to release the pages from inside the issue and the headlines soon followed.
“There are thousands if not millions of stories of people who, for many different reasons, felt the need to hide their sexuality. The X-Men, with the conceit of time travel, give us a fascinating platform in which to examine such personal journeys. This is just the first little chapter of a much larger story that will be told,” Bendis said after news of the story was released.
In the comic, it’s Jean Grey who actually discovers Bobby’s sexual orientation after reading his mind (she’s a telepath after all) and talking with him in the issue about it. Eventually, Bobby admits that he’s gay and Jean’s reaction is what anybody’s should be when finding out someone is gay — she doesn’t care at all because it doesn’t change who he is as a person and “it doesn’t matter to me or anyone else”.
How time travel plays a part in the story is like this — in Bendis’ X-Men universe, the original X-Men (Cyclops, The Beast, Jean Grey, Ice Man and Angel) travel to present day to help with a catastrophe where they are needed, but after they resolve the problem the teenagers decide to stay in 2015. So the Ice Man who was just outed as gay is the teenage Bobby Drake from Bendis’ story.
That means there’s another Bobby Drake — an older Bobby Drake — who also exists in this same X-Men universe that had numerous relationships with women over the years. From the sound of things, Bendis and the other creators at Marvel have bigger plans for Drake that will cover numerous books and both incarnations of the character.