“X-Men” character Iceman comes out as gay
While the movies have not always done a phenomenal job of conveying it, comic books — the X-Men in particular — have historically represented an artistic platform for representation of the disenfranchised. For that reason, it really should not come as a huge surprise to longtime fans that longtime X-Man Bobby Drake, also known as “Iceman,” was recently revealed as gay in the comics. Iceman is a founding member of the X-Men team in the comics, as well as fan a favorite. A heterosexual version of Drake was seen in the “X-Men” films, portrayed by actor Shawn Ashmore.
For such a grand development, the comic handled it in a rather nonchalant manner. Traveling back in time, an older version of Drake — who identifies as straight — meets an apparently homosexual younger version of himself. Drake speculates at the possibility that he could identify as bisexual, but a telepathic character declares him a full homosexual.
As a result of this development, some fans have spoken out against writer Brian Bendis for supposed “bisexual erasure:” the tendency to ignore, remove, falsify, or re-explain evidence of bisexuality. Bendis took to Twitter to explain that he had no intention of crafting a story “sensational” in nature.
It is a tradition for writers and artists to use comics as a platform to highlight social issues in America; the “X-Men,” in particular, have always acted as an allegory for civil rights issues, with “mutants” representing everything from race to sexual orientation.
Iceman does not represent the first time homosexuality has been addressed in comics. Several characters over the years — from both DC and Marvel comics — have been revealed to be gay or bisexual, including Batwoman, Harley Quinn, and original Green Lantern Alan Scott. More recently, hit TV show “The Flash” features an engaged homosexual police chief but never specifically makes a big issue out of it; the character’s sexuality merely exists.
What do you think of Iceman’s sexuality? Do you think it is just a ploy to grab headlines or is it a welcome development for the comics? Comment below or tweet @connerws!