thoughts on Iceman coming out
Iceman has always been one of my favorite characters. In 616 continuity he is the kind of guy who is powerful, but doesn’t really take himself so seriously. The quintessential prankster, who can liven up any situation.
I never thought of him as a closeted homosexual which is what Bendis is doing in New X-Men #40 where a 16 year old time displaced Jean Grey tells her 16 year old teammate that he’s pretty gay.
It should be noted that Iceman has never had luck with the ladies. Whether it was because of outside forces that kept him from truly sealing the deal with Polaris & Rogue. To whom are both canonically tied to Havok & Gambit respectively.
What about Mystique? They seemed to have a fleeting romance, she was also the catalyst for Bobby to evolve and thus gain a certain master and control of his powers. He always seems to be the guy who gets left behind. The one left on the outer fringes of happiness, hiding behind a wise crack and a smile.
So no the character never struck me as a homosexual per se. If anything just a bachelor who hadn’t quite found someone his speed.
The X-Men are a euphemism for the outcast. The misfits, everybody and anyone who felt like they didnt have a place to call their own.
Social issues dealing with gender,race, sexuality have a common thread here.
But it wasn’t until the last two decades where stories featuring homosexual characters started to become a little more normalized.
Northstar, the former Alpha Flight member and long time mainstay of the X-Men is probably the most popular character on the roster. Admittedly he isnt the most well treated either. Often regulated to background duties in many of the stories he was featured in. I’m a fan of his powers. He’s a very under-utilized character, and for a minute there was being killed off in every single verse he was in.
Perhaps its the institution of western society showing itself in a medium that is supposed to be devoid of such strange occurrences. As I become older i started to realize that the X-Men have a running thread of hypocrisy running through their stories. Characters exhibiting multi-ethnic backgrounds generally get put into the backdrop of the story arcs. So there’s that.
The quest for social legitimacy is a harrowing one. People all over social media have chimed in with their thoughts on the matter. Many of them extremely divisive. To which I can understand both sides. At the end of the day, Iceman is a fictional character. People of all ethnicities, creeds, sexual orientations etc etc should be represented well. They should be heard, and not just out in a splash page fighting evil doers. They need thought provoking stories that will usher progressive thought patterns to the readership.
I think a character like Ice Man doesn’t necessarily deserve the press: good or bad. He’s part of the original X-Men. He’s got 60 something years worth of content that has driven his story home. If we’re going to retcon characters, why not retcon characters that actually need the love?
James Proudstar better known as Warpath is a perfect example of an ethnic minority, usually regulated to the background, and then beefed up for his inclusion back into X-Force. In his first appearances he was a part of Emma Frost’s Hellions. The opposition to Xavier’s New Mutants. He was just a typical strong man, albeit an angry one because of the death of his brother Thunderbird.
My point is that there are enough established caucasian characters written and or created by a caucasian dominated industry. Adding the subsets of sexuality can be a tricky thing, especially when writing about characters with a long history of being in another category for sexual orientation.
As a creator myself, I’m always trying to convert readers into fans. I can understand when someone like Bendis wants to add a plot twist. The more shocking the better I think. But perhaps these types of things shouldn’t be taken so lightly when writing for a demographic that is mostly young adult. As an artist you want to be inclusive, the smart man/woman would never try to alienate a fanbase, especially one as extremely rich as the X-men
Does sexuality need to matter here? Could not Iceman be a character who isn’t defined by traditional indentifier measurements? Could he instead be a strong character in which his sexuality was never even a topic of interest?