Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Iceman Gayeth!

I'm not saying the writers are on coke,
I'm just saying it would explain a few things.
So get this: Iceman from the X-Men is gay. In fact, he was always gay, just nobody even knew; possibly not even him. Well, his present self that is, not his past-self who is now hanging out in the future with his fellow X-men from the past and the present. Confused? Yes. You are, and that's sort of why Marvel is explodenating their own fictional universe by having it collide with their other fictional universe. Because comics are goddamn bonkers. I'll try (and likely fail) to clarify.

Oh, and let me be upfront about this right now. It's going to get super-nerdy from here on out, so if you aren't a grown-up man-child (or woman-child) who follows comics, and you want to bail out now, I'll understand.
Everyone put on their nerd-hats and protective
turtlenecks, we're going to run into some chop.
"That's just barmy, that is. Pure
tosh. Even by our standards..."

-The Doctor[s]
Still with me? Ok, to catch you up, right now there are two Icemans (Icemen?). They're both Bobby Drake, but one is adult Iceman and the other is his teenaged self who, along with the other original X-Men, Jean Grey, Cyclops, Beast and Angel, were transported from the past to the present. Why, you ask? Because present-day Beast was tired of not screwing with the time-line. How is this not a clusterfuck of paradoxes and brain-melting chrono-horror, you inquire? Got me.

Anyway, I only mention this temporal goat rodeo because while we are talking about a time-displaced Bobby Drake, he's as legitimately Iceman (from the non-alternate universe) as his adult self. This means that despite dating Kitty Pride and constantly making randy comments about women so we all know how gay he's not, he totally was the whole time.
"Hey there ladies. Have I mentioned how much I love the sports? Oh and beer.
I love beer. Hey maybe later we can make out and then have straight sex."

-Iceman, trying a little too hard
Besides, it was more plausible than having
Jean Grey come out as secretly Asian.
Not buying it? That's fair. I mean, the fact that the character was written for the last five decades as not being gay does make this a textbook retcon and one that feels a little like Marvel trying to cram in some diversity where none existed before. But then, so what? Why not cram in a little more diversity? Marvel retcons shit all the time and Bobby Drake being in the closet his entire adult life is far from the most preposterous curveball they've ever thrown at us.

You can be forgiven for not knowing
who Northstar is. I mean, he is Canadian.
Sure, this move might feel a little forced, but you've got to give writer Brian Michael Bendis credit for taking a risk with such a long established character. Ever heard of Anole? Or Karma? What about Northstar? You know, from Alpha Flight? No? How about Colossus? Yeah? You have heard of that one? Great. He's not gay, but his alternate universe counterpart is. LGBT characters tend to be B-listers or alternate reality versions of more popular characters. I think it's probably a combination of Marvel's editors playing it safe and the lingering effects of Fredric Wertham. Wait, who?

I'll pretend you just asked me who that is. He's the psychiatrist who back in the 50's testified before Congress that comic books were corrupting the nation's youth with veiled references to homosexuality. The hearings led to the creation of the Comics Code and to decades of self-censorship. All because one guy thought Batman and Robin were doin' it and that kids would catch the gay from reading comics. This one's for you Fredric...
Pictured: That time back when Congress was treated to a lengthy harangue
on the subject of Batman and Robin's hot man-on-youthful ward action.

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