One of the most iconic characters of the X-Men (and one of my personal favorites) will come out as gay in the upcoming issue of All New X-men #40. Bobby Drake, better known as Iceman, will have a moment of clarity in this weeks issue after fellow mutant Jean Grey (another favorite) probes his thoughts, and questions Iceman’s consistent overcompensation of his closeted sexuality with women, when she in fact knows he prefers otherwise.
The New X-Men series brings a time traveling group of the original core members to present day, and with the younger version of Iceman confirming he’s hidden his sexuality, this must mean a conversation will take place in the near future to get a better understanding of present-day Bobby’s sexuality and what it means for Bobby’s current closeted persona. Being a mutant in the 1960’s must have been difficult enough, so it’s not too far-fetched to propose Bobby wouldn’t feel completely comfortable being 100% open to society. There are those of us who have had some slight indication from time to time – like Iceman’s relationship with half man/ half woman named Cloud, other team members hinting at a partner besides Kitty Pryde, or even slight subtext with the openly gay character Shatterstar, so it doesn’t make the decision seem forced.
This marks a milestone moment for LGBT superheroes in comic book series, while most characters incorporated are usually background figures, with very rare exceptions. I must give major credit to Marvel for addressing an important characters sexuality by providing a more casual realization and making it a natural moment between two allies/friends without becoming an enormous spectacle. There are many comic book readers who hope to find a character they can relate to so by confirming a central figure is gay, it only opens the door for a plethora of people see that you can be different from comic books so called standards and still maintain an important or equal role.
Marvel released a statement from writer Brian Michael Bendis that said, “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.”
All New X-Men Issue #40 will be available at comic stores everywhere today, as it marks a major moment for the character development of Iceman.