The Iceman Cometh Out
April 24, 2015 9:49 AM   Subscribe

Scans leaked from next week's issue of the Marvel Comic All-New X-Men have revealed that original member Bobby "Iceman" Drake is gay. While the character has been written as straight for the past fifty years, some readers have read otherwise between the panels. Director Brian Singer sees parallels in the movies.

This is actually a time-displaced younger version of Bobby Drake (because comics.) Aside from the predictable homophobia, the fact that the older Bobby hasn't come out has caused some confusion. The telepathic Jean Grey's mentally-invasive outing of Bobby has drawn criticism and defense. Writer Brian Michael Bendis has taken to tumblr to deny accusations of bi-erasure.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker (143 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm hoping this leads to a reveal that present!Bobby is an imposter.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:55 AM on April 24, 2015


Yeah they already did this with Collosus in Ultimate X Men. And before him with Northstar in Alpha Flight.

Sales declining? Got a supporting character the fanbase isn't heavily invested in? Is he a bit... metro?

Hey everyone! X is gay now! Give us press publicity! Buy the new issues just to see what whacky one-liners ensue!

Now 50% more progressive than DC the leading brand!

Don't worry, true believers. If it doesn't work out we can always retcon it in a year. Or it's in an alternate universe. Or something.
posted by clarknova at 9:57 AM on April 24, 2015 [20 favorites]


I'd be a little more excited if they weren't giving themselves an out (so to speak) by having past Bobby come out instead of current Bobby.

Oh and Secret Wars is right around the corner and threatening to CHANGE EVERYTHING FOREVER. Hopefully this'll stick.
posted by davros42 at 9:58 AM on April 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


I kinda hope it turns out that Xavier had telepathically suppressed Bobby's orientation at some point in the original X-Men.
posted by Auden at 9:59 AM on April 24, 2015 [12 favorites]


Actually, didn't they double down with Northstar by throwing him a huge same-sex wedding a few years back? I don't think that's a case of Marvel backing down or retconning something there.
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:01 AM on April 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


No, this is in this week's issue, released Wednesday.
posted by mikeh at 10:01 AM on April 24, 2015


I think they do a pretty good job of communicating that what Jean did is shitty (I can't actually read the 'defense' link, unfortunately.) Plus it's in the context of the X-Men wherein for 50+ years getting outed as a mutant to the wrong people has been a death sentence.
posted by griphus at 10:02 AM on April 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


Oh my god, for a second I thought Drake was gay.

So THAT's why on "Only" he never mentions whether he had sex with Wayne.
posted by milk white peacock at 10:03 AM on April 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


I kinda hope it turns out that Xavier had telepathically suppressed Bobby's orientation at some point in the original X-Men.

That would explain the discrepancy, and also be consistent with the way Xavier treats people; it's a terrible thing to think about, but it'd work as a story certainly. (Also, the extent that gay conversion therapy would work in a universe with powerful telepaths seems like an open question).

I'm uncomfortable with the idea of Jean reading his mind without permission. If it's just sort of a thing that's happening without her control (the idea in the "defense" link), that makes that better, but talking to him about it is still not so great. That said, in the context of X-Men comics its probably not even in the upper quartile of ethical lapses in the use of telepathy, even by good guys.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:05 AM on April 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


Yeah, fair warning: the "defense" link goes to playboy.com, which may pop up a big ad with a woman in lingerie.
posted by specialagentwebb at 10:05 AM on April 24, 2015


Actually, didn't they double down with Northstar by throwing him a huge same-sex wedding a few years back? I don't think that's a case of Marvel backing down or retconning something there.

Northstar has been gay since the John Byrne Alpha Flight days, they just couldn't actually say much about it (thanks Comic Code Authority).
posted by davros42 at 10:06 AM on April 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


Also I don't read cape books too much anymore, but man I would very very much rather have "now [hero] is a woman" or now [hero] is gay" as the attention-grabbing storyline than the default "you'll never guess who we're going to kill/resurrect." Even if they pedal back on it, at least they have some time for some interesting writing with a character people know and like. Because god knows when they put in a new gay character then it's "shoehorning" and why even bother having the damn goalposts?
posted by griphus at 10:06 AM on April 24, 2015 [7 favorites]


Yeah, fair warning: the "defense" link goes to playboy.com, which may pop up a big ad with a woman in lingerie.

I swear boss, I'm just reading it for the articles. About comic books.
posted by griphus at 10:06 AM on April 24, 2015 [16 favorites]


Iceman in Top Gun is still straight though, right?
posted by sobarel at 10:06 AM on April 24, 2015 [22 favorites]


As straight as he ever was, sobarel, which is to say, probably not.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:08 AM on April 24, 2015 [36 favorites]


As straight as he ever was, sobarel, which is to say, probably not.

Jeez, can't a man be not-so-secretly heavily attracted to another man without being gay anymore?
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 10:15 AM on April 24, 2015 [10 favorites]


No, but Northstar was such a minor character to begin with that the only thing that made him a household name was his rebranding. Er. "coming out".

The Ultimate X Men Colossus was very explicitly in an alternate universe.

My point is that making Bobby Drake gay, much like making Pitor Rasputin gay, is a gimmick to drive sales. It's not part of a decision to make a well-fleshed character with human depth. It ignores that both of these characters already had well-established orientations and subplots involving romance, love and sacrifice. Bobby was already very much striaght for Opal Tanaka. Now what? She was a beard all along?

Yeah, of course it's comics. The writing is goofy. People turn out to be secret Hydra agents or Skrull clones or Unwitting Androids returned from the dead all the time. I just find it irritating that an important subject like sexual identity and social prejudice is reduced to this class of gimmicks.

Marvel handled the issue of racial discrimination via the mutant prejudice allegory very well. Excellently, in fact. With the possible exception of Northstar they're handling this one poorly.
posted by clarknova at 10:15 AM on April 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


I kinda hope it turns out that Xavier had telepathically suppressed Bobby's orientation at some point in the original X-Men.
...
(Also, the extent that gay conversion therapy would work in a universe with powerful telepaths seems like an open question).


These are basically the only stories I want to read now, such that I may just have to write it myself.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:15 AM on April 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


Check Pinterest. Someone may have already written it for you.
posted by clarknova at 10:17 AM on April 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


All I have to say is "Big whoop."

The comics industry has always had it's closeted characters, which are JUST LIKE NORMAL PEOPLE, BUT GAY! without having that have any real consequences. And then there's the annual Aren't We Progressive? - Not Your Parents' Comics! Parade, which also features the popular "Guess Who Is REALLY Gay" Cavalcade...

Meh. Although I like alternative life styles being seen as more normal, I want them seen as that because they are, not because some people are sitting around in a boardroom patting themselves on the back about their social conscience, and noting increased sales figures.
posted by Samizdata at 10:22 AM on April 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


It feels like Bi would make more sense, but ok young Bobby is 'full gay' while older is...well, we'll see.

Sounds awkwardly handled, but there's potential for a interesting story or two and of course, the diversity of the book is always good. It's not a perfect story, but then so few are.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:24 AM on April 24, 2015


Bobby was already very much striaght for Opal Tanaka. Now what? She was a beard all along?
clarknova

Technically it's not that Bobby.
posted by Sangermaine at 10:26 AM on April 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


If it does turn out that Xavier suppressed him early on, it will be interesting to see how the older Bobby handles it, and deals with the possibility of a telepathic reversion to his original homosexual orientation (as well as how he wrestles with such a huge betrayal by Xavier, and everything else).
posted by Auden at 10:28 AM on April 24, 2015


I just find it irritating that an important subject like sexual identity and social prejudice is reduced to this class of gimmicks.

The idea that through sheer chance, literally every single long-lasting character in the 616 that we've encountered save for a wee tiny handful have all been straight is equally as gimmicky.
posted by griphus at 10:29 AM on April 24, 2015 [7 favorites]


Oh. Did...

You know what? I don't want to know.
posted by clarknova at 10:30 AM on April 24, 2015


Or... We could just have young gay Bobby and older straight (or bi) Bobby and not get into more Xavier skeeviness.

What with the way Marvel time travel (usually) works there's no real guarantee that young Bobby = older Bobby anyways.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:31 AM on April 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah, fair warning: the "defense" link goes to playboy.com, which may pop up a big ad with a woman in lingerie.

Oops. ClickToFlash may have spared me that.

No, this is in this week's issue, released Wednesday.

That explains the better images, but not its absence from my pulls.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:31 AM on April 24, 2015


Maybe Jean has been taken over the PSI-Lord and he's slowly manipulating her from to manipulate others to tear the team apart? Yes, I made up the name PSI-Lord.

Didn't Peter Parker have a lot of close male friendships and have trouble with women? Perhaps he's gay also? Or one of the clones?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:31 AM on April 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


The whole idea of bi vs "full gay" is just... ugh. Come on Bendis, you can do better.
posted by kmz at 10:31 AM on April 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yes, I made up the name PSI-Lord.

Franklin Richards you mean?
posted by MartinWisse at 10:33 AM on April 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yes, I made up the name PSI-Lord.
Brandon Blatcher

Nope.

On preview: Damn it, MartinWisse...
posted by Sangermaine at 10:37 AM on April 24, 2015


Iceman in Top Gun is still straight though, right?

Actually, Iceman in Top Gun is now the Big Lebowski.
posted by Fizz at 10:43 AM on April 24, 2015 [7 favorites]


You guys are totally ignoring the possibility that Xaviar was suppressing Bobby's interest in women as the initial telepathic grooming in a plot to have a hebephiliac teacher-student playmate.
posted by bswinburn at 10:55 AM on April 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


So do they notice that a (fictional) character might actually, arguably be gay, and decide, "We should remain true to this character and develop him further, even if it's not accepted by everyone"?

Or do they just need to sell more mags, and pick someone at random to do some attention-getting thing to?

I have respect for one of these.
posted by sidereal at 10:59 AM on April 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


And before him with Northstar in Alpha Flight. Sales declining? Got a supporting character the fanbase isn't heavily invested in? Is he a bit... metro? Hey everyone! X is gay now!

Northstar being gay isn't a retcon. Though he was first introduced in 1979, he wasn't fleshed out at all until Alpha Flight had its own comic starting in 1983 and Byrne is on record as having always conceived of him as gay, but that he couldn't be explicit about it due to editorial order. I wouldn't take all of Byrne's self-reporting about his career at face value, but I buy it here. There's an early reference to a very close male friend and in '87 (before the 1989 Comics Code revision that explicitly okayed positive portrayal of homosexuality) he seems to indicate he'd been in love with Walter Langkowski (though the book was being written by Bill Mantlo by then.)
posted by Zed at 11:00 AM on April 24, 2015


Does anyone else remember that magnum opus fanfic where Bobby falls in love with Remy/Gambit, and then Remy gets lung cancer and the story is like 800 pages of Remy getting chemotherapy in the basement of the X-mansion? There were also angsty scenes where Logan would smoke his cigars and it was so UNFAIR because his body would HEAL ITSELF and Remy's powers couldn't DO THAT SOB SOB

I definitely read that story multiple times. (There were also lots of scenes about how Remy almost died of exposure in Antarctica after the Morlock thing, and wasn't it so ironic that he ended up falling in love with Iceman? WASN'T IT????)
posted by a fiendish thingy at 11:02 AM on April 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


I initially enjoyed seeing Xavier as a fleshy, terrible version of the GCU Meatfucker.

But then it got super creepy.

And kept going.
posted by Slackermagee at 11:03 AM on April 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Franklin Richards you mean?

My bad, I meant Psi-Hunter X98, the human Sentinel hybrid from the future who's been hiding out in the Morlock tunnels underneath Australia.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:06 AM on April 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


I started uncanny x-men way back to issue 1 a while back, and I'm not quite out of the eighties yet. So obviously I'm missing a lot of character development.

But the sixties was pretty uneven, to be polite, and one of the few bright spots were Bobby and Hank's double dates with Zelda and Vera. I'm sad we're undermining that.
posted by politikitty at 11:07 AM on April 24, 2015


I'm really not buying Bendis' denials about bi-erasure.
posted by ursus_comiter at 11:07 AM on April 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Non Playboy version of the Rachel Eddings article will be available Saturday.
posted by Artw at 11:15 AM on April 24, 2015


I'm really not buying Bendis' denials about bi-erasure.

He didn't really explain why he was denying it beyond saying "it's not there, so don't worry!" Oh and he sort of implied that people were seeing the bi-erasure because the quality of the scan was bad which I found fairly amusing.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:18 AM on April 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


Maybe Jean has been taken over the PSI-Lord and he's slowly manipulating her from to manipulate others to tear the team apart? Yes, I made up the name PSI-Lord.

You mean Shadow King?
posted by eustatic at 11:18 AM on April 24, 2015


Hey everyone! X is gay now! Give us press publicity! Buy the new issues just to see what whacky one-liners ensue! Now 50% more progressive than DC the leading brand! Don't worry, true believers. If it doesn't work out we can always retcon it in a year. Or it's in an alternate universe. Or something.
posted by clarknova at 9:57 AM on April 24


I'm sorry that three (3) heroes being gay out of at least a thousand bothers you. It's especially weird it does because that's still way fewer than would be expected if LGBT people were as common in comics as they are in reality.

I'll make you a deal. On the day that LGBT people are more common in popular culture than reality, you can message me saying it's a big problem that has to be solved. Thank you.
posted by Awful Peice of Crap at 11:20 AM on April 24, 2015 [8 favorites]


You mean Shadow King?

Heh, I actually was, but couldn't recall the name. Thanks!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:26 AM on April 24, 2015


You know what's interesting is I wonder if we might see more of this kind of thing now that it seems the X-books may be relegated to their own little world as Marvel tries to push the Inhumans as the "new mutants" since they don't own the movie or tv rights to the X-characters. Perhaps that will actually open up the opportunity to do more exciting things with the characters if the spotlight isn't so bright on them. And honestly, this is just the "first little chapter" as Bendis writes... we don't know what the end game is. It could very well be that he (older or younger or both) ends up identifying as bi-sexual. We just don't know.
posted by tittergrrl at 11:30 AM on April 24, 2015


It's pretty amazing that X2 would contain a scene where Bobby's mom says, rather hilariously, "well, um, have you tried not being a mutant?" I can't help wondering if this decision wasn't informed by that scene.

Also as several of the links point out, the comic book universe, particularly these days, deals pretty heavily in alternate histories and variants of characters (who sometimes are even obliged to coexist in the same reality for a spell), none of which is any "realer" than any other. Which kind of annoys the fuck out of me at times.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:31 AM on April 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


Bobby's mentor dated outside his species. No one judges too harshly at Xavier's.
posted by delfin at 11:39 AM on April 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm sorry that three (3) heroes being gay out of at least a thousand bothers you. It's especially weird it does because that's still way fewer than would be expected if LGBT people were as common in comics as they are in reality.

The omission of explicitly gay people in a character lineup drafted in the 1960s is a historical artifact of that era's prejudices. Well. It's too late for them. When you establish that they're straight by having them fall in love with opposite-sex partners and sharing their inner dialog with us, we know who they are now.

They could have Bobby BECOME gay, or bi, or discover something new about his sexuality. Maybe he finds himself attracted to another man. He wonders why. What does it mean? His confusion and perhaps ultimate acceptance of that could be a story. With an arc. With tension and plot. But this sudden revelation reads like they're ticking off a box.

Or you know. They could make entirely new characters. People with their own stories. And super powers that aren't generic energy beams. But god forbid Marvel make a 50 year old character an actual fifty year old.

And for the one character whose superpower includes reduced aging, why is he the only one that looks older every year?

Fuck you, Marvel!

You mean Shadow King?

Does it make me a nerd if I know that the Shadow King's given name is Amahl Farouk?

Can Jean Grey read my mind and discover I'm secretly a normal person who's into football and Adam Sandler movies?
posted by clarknova at 11:49 AM on April 24, 2015


They could have Bobby BECOME gay, or bi

I'm bi. This idea makes me feel almost physically ill.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 11:54 AM on April 24, 2015 [7 favorites]


Well that's kind of prejudiced of you.
posted by clarknova at 12:01 PM on April 24, 2015


Family Guy did it first
posted by Renoroc at 12:02 PM on April 24, 2015


...hebephiliac teacher-student playmate...

I didn't even realize Bobby was Jewish. I'm so sorry
posted by The Tensor at 12:04 PM on April 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


They could have Bobby BECOME gay, or bi

Perhaps he gets bitten by a radioactive homosexual?
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:04 PM on April 24, 2015 [32 favorites]


Perhaps he gets bitten by a radioactive homosexual?

Bobby and Johnny Storm are hanging out in the lab at the Baxter Building when Reed accidentally crosses some wires and opens a portal to the Homosexual Zone, bathing Bobby in Gay Rays.
posted by griphus at 12:06 PM on April 24, 2015 [8 favorites]




But what happens to the radioactive homosexual, is it cursed to become hetero?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:07 PM on April 24, 2015


Jeez, can't a man be not-so-secretly heavily attracted to another man without being gay anymore?

Yes, he might be bi.

I was really annoyed the other day at a clickbait headline about "Gay celebrities who were once married to women" - illustrated with a picture of the proudly-bi Alan Cummings. Of course, being a stupid clickbait article, there was no where to complain.

Well that's kind of prejudiced of you.
posted by clarknova


I think what Mrs P means is that she objects to the idea that people "become" gay or bi, as most are born that way.

That said, sexuality can fluid. Some people have very fixed sexual orientations, but others, particularly many bi/pan people, experience fluctuations in their orientation over time.

Other people may not have a fluctuation in their orientation, but do come to a realisation later in life, especially women. There are lesbians, for example, who talk about not realising they were lesbian until they fell in love with a woman; they just thought sex was overrated - and then they switched partners and wow.
posted by jb at 12:07 PM on April 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


I still don't know why the telepath mutants haven't just teamed up and secretly taken the world yet.
posted by The Whelk at 12:08 PM on April 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


This idea makes me feel almost physically ill.

I totally get that. The idea that our personalities can so drastically change based on physiologically trauma or disease is a deeply disturbing one. But, as pointed out in this recent fpp and this sad askmefi our personalities can vastly change.

There are many cases of people's sexuality changing due to brain tumors to the point they become sexually attracted to paperclips or children.

We are all, it seems, one unfortunate fall away from being a completely different person. I'm straight, but I remember having attraction to other men when I was a teenager, but those feelings have just gone away. But I have to live with the knowledge that not only my sexuality, but my the most basic beliefs and parts of my personality are a bad drug interaction or car crash away from just being gone.

The moral implications of what telepaths can and cannot do has rarely been well discussed in the marvel universe. And, frankly, I don't expect it to be. It's not our universe and the implications of souls*, multiple universes, and time travel make jokes of our moral intuition.

*For instance, I make the point that in our world it appears the physical structure of the brain creates our identities. Souls, however, appear to be the locus of identities in the marvel/dc worlds and not dependent on the physical structure of the characters bodies at all. If telepaths can only effect the physical brain of people they really aren't effecting the person's identity at all, and thus the transgressions would be much less (in my opinion) than they would be if the physical brain of the person was all there was. In the first case mind control would be akin to assault, as the person's identity is still in place. In the second case mind control would be akin to murder, as the person's identity is now gone.
posted by bswinburn at 12:10 PM on April 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


Bobby and Johnny Storm are hanging out in the lab at the Baxter Building when Reed accidentally crosses some wires and opens a portal to the Homosexual Zone, bathing Bobby in Gay Rays.

Pretty sure I read this fanfic.
posted by The Whelk at 12:10 PM on April 24, 2015 [10 favorites]


I'm sorry that three (3) heroes being gay out of at least a thousand bothers you. It's especially weird it does because that's still way fewer than would be expected if LGBT people were as common in comics as they are in reality.

I didn't read it that comment in that way. My personal opinion from a comics fan who is also bisexual is that I've been burned so many times by the big two giving us coming out statements from a b-list, alternate universe, or alternate timeline character. The character will then get sent to publication hell, retconned away, maimed or murdered as plot fodder, put back into subtext, or put under editorial constraints. The Big 2 spin this into a big progressive thing for LGBTQ comics, ignoring the fact that we've been on this merry-go-round with them since the late 80s.

So yeah, I'm a bit sick of Marvel and DC tooting their own horn and getting fans to toot their horns as well every time they do a handful of panels. After Loki, Angela, Darwin, and Julie Power, is this really news? (That's just naming recent reveals.) I know I shouldn't be looking gift horses in the mouth, but other publishers are doing so much better than this.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 12:10 PM on April 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


I guess it shows my age that my reaction is not so much "Iceman is gay?" as "Jean Grey is alive?"
posted by escabeche at 12:11 PM on April 24, 2015 [11 favorites]


Jean Grey dying and coming back to life is the alternating current powering the 616.
posted by griphus at 12:12 PM on April 24, 2015 [33 favorites]


Oh and Secret Wars is right around the corner and threatening to CHANGE EVERYTHING FOREVER. Hopefully this'll stick.

Well, maybe. Part of the purpose of these big crossovers is to clear out the deadwood and maybe come up with some new titles that will sell, and I think that with both this and DC's Convergence, they're also looking at maybe bringing back some older characters/versions of characters that were killed off or retconned away. (Pretty sure that I saw some version of Spider-Man that had him still married to Mary Jane Watson.) Having the time-traveling versions of the original X-Men was a way of sort of pre-loading that.

Then again, maybe this is all just sloppy, badly-thought-out writing from Bendis, who can run hot and cold WRT the quality of his work, as witness his work on Avengers: Disassembled.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:14 PM on April 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sangermaine upboated for best mefite.
posted by clarknova at 12:14 PM on April 24, 2015


Marvel is about to reboot their universe with this whole Secret Wars/"Time Runs Out" Jonathan Hickman clusterfuck, so this is either floating an idea for the reboot or doing something that will be retconned within the year.

Personally, of the founding X-Men I'd have pegged Beast or Cyclops as the most interesting choices for this sort of reveal or character point, but both of them have been made into complete fuckwits whomtd he other characters call out.

I'm actually getting kind of bored with the whole, "You know, the way these characters were written in the 1960s and 1970s would make them total assholes today, so they must just be total assholes" mode of characterization. (for that matter, yes, the X-Men are, by modern understandings, child soldiers in the original series; this was hardly the intent, though, and it's perverse to read that back into it instead of modifying the premise so that it does work and moving on. Look, no mater how much writers insist that, say, Reed Richards is a total dickhead because of how he treated Sue in stories written by tiresome chauvinists forty or twenty or whatever years ago, the Fantastic Four is likely to always default back to those four characters. Reboot so he's something else more interesting and workable. And a world without Patrick Stewart and/or James McAvoy in the X-Men movies is a sad world indeed.
posted by kewb at 12:15 PM on April 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Then again, maybe this is all just sloppy, badly-thought-out writing from Bendis, who can run hot and cold WRT the quality of his work

It's been a damned long time since he ran hot.
posted by kewb at 12:15 PM on April 24, 2015


There are many cases of people's sexuality changing due to brain tumors to the point they become sexually attracted to paperclips or children.

I do enjoy having my sexuality compared to pedophilia. Bswinburn, you are really, really not digging yourself out of "feeling physically ill" territory here.
posted by sciatrix at 12:16 PM on April 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


The omission of explicitly gay people in a character lineup drafted in the 1960s is a historical artifact of that era's prejudices. Well. It's too late for them. When you establish that they're straight by having them fall in love with opposite-sex partners and sharing their inner dialog with us, we know who they are now.

my man these are characters who routinely die, are replaced by clones, and are then reborn after a magic candle falls on their grave. i think the writers can say they like dudes now
posted by Awful Peice of Crap at 12:16 PM on April 24, 2015 [12 favorites]


The omission of explicitly gay people in a character lineup drafted in the 1960s is a historical artifact of that era's prejudices

Also by this logic Captain America should still be fighting slanty-eyed Japs
posted by Awful Peice of Crap at 12:19 PM on April 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


Somebody's not happy that they're made out of slowly-oxidizing meat.
posted by clarknova at 12:19 PM on April 24, 2015


There are many cases of people's sexuality changing due to brain tumors to the point they become sexually attracted to paperclips

Can't say as I blame them. Have you seen the bedroom eyes on Clippy?
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:20 PM on April 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


Also by this logic Captain America should still be fighting slanty-eyed Japs

That is the a horrifying picture of Bucky.
posted by bswinburn at 12:21 PM on April 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Bobby was already very much striaght for Opal Tanaka. Now what? She was a beard all along?

I vote that Opal is a Skrull. I can see the editorial meeting now: "Opal's an innie for the outdoors, and an outie for the indoors!
posted by happyroach at 12:26 PM on April 24, 2015


I totally get that. The idea that our personalities can so drastically change based on physiologically trauma or disease is a deeply disturbing one. But, as pointed out in this recent fpp and this sad askmefi our personalities can vastly change.

There are many cases of people's sexuality changing due to brain tumors to the point they become sexually attracted to paperclips or children.


I realize you probably didn't mean it this way, but comparing non-heterosexual sexuality to a brain disorder and then further paralleling being gay (however vaguely) to an attraction to children is pretty damned offensive and disturbing. Especially since the very worst right wing stereotypes of LGBT people are that they are in some way brain damaged and either pedophiles or harmful to children.
posted by zarq at 12:27 PM on April 24, 2015 [18 favorites]


I realize you probably didn't mean it this way, but comparing non-heterosexual sexuality to a brain disorder and then further paralleling being gay (however vaguely) to an attraction to children is pretty damned offensive and disturbing.

I didn't mean it that way, nor do I think I actually did, I was pointing out that sexuality is not a special trait immune to changes in the physiological structure of the brain.
posted by bswinburn at 12:36 PM on April 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Awful Peice of Crap: "Also by this logic Captain America should still be fighting slanty-eyed Japs"

Does that Japanese guy have actual fangs? Is he some sort of supervillain monster, or did Marvel just think Japanese people had fangs for some reason?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 12:37 PM on April 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


While he might also be a monster in universe of some sort, fangs were somewhat prevalent in racist propaganda pictures of the Japanese in World War II (and let's face it; propaganda is exactly what Captain America often was around that time).
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:42 PM on April 24, 2015


It doesn't seem like such a big deal. So Bobby's gay. Have any of his past relationships ever amounted to a goddamn thing ever? No? Maybe he was sabotaging himself. Conversely, there are as many past Bobbies as there are future Bobbies. Oh, and one is Don Draper's son. Seriously, I like having more gay characters. I like new character development. Let's all just admit that Bobby hasn't had much going for him since like I dunno, 71 or so, and that's being pretty liberal.

I'm triage_lazarus. This was delivered by triage_lazarus. If any of you colorful rogues would like to take revenge out on me on a full-time basis, my schedule is open.
posted by triage_lazarus at 12:54 PM on April 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


You guys are totally ignoring the possibility that Xaviar was suppressing Bobby's interest in women as the initial telepathic grooming in a plot to have a hebephiliac teacher-student playmate.

Plausible. In his first appearance (!) Professor X pondered his attraction to Jean Grey, who was a) his student and b) in her early teens.

It's hard to see why Professor X would be depicted as anything other than a monstrous villain, the most alarming and disgusting threat the X-Men have ever faced, both extremely powerful and insidious. He posed as their mentor for decades, when really...

At least Magneto only kills people.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:02 PM on April 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Sometime in the distant past I got it confused in my head and thought it was Vindicator and not Northstar that was gay. That gave me some confused feelings about the Canadian flag for a while.
posted by lumpenprole at 1:06 PM on April 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


The idea that sexuality is fluid is valid, and a topic of discourse within queer communities. However, for a mainstream outlet, or for a straight cis person who isn't involved in queer culture to address it, one needs to have established a very strong ethos with queer people if they don't want it to be a dogwhistle for bigotry. Marvel and comics in general do not have that established sense of rapport and allyship for queer people for them to pull off such a tricky trope well.

I'm sick of this message being spun on its head to imply that queer people are close-minded or are somehow stunted sheeple who don't discuss these things within our own communities. We talk about it just fine, we just want cishet people to stop weaponizing nuance against us.
posted by Conspire at 1:14 PM on April 24, 2015 [9 favorites]


Have you seen the bedroom eyes on Clippy?

It looks like you're coming to terms with your sexual identity. Would you like some...help with that?
posted by nubs at 1:14 PM on April 24, 2015 [29 favorites]


Have any of his past relationships ever amounted to a goddamn thing ever?

They seemed happy as couple, until they were not. Isn't that enough?

Fine, young Bobby is gay, whatever. As someone else noted, these people regularly come back from the dead, rarely age and have superpowers. Gay is no big deal.

But the context and reasoning of why this particular character is gay sounds odd as hell, but alrighty then.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:16 PM on April 24, 2015


All indications show that the past-kids are going to be a staying thing (I mean, yeah, Secret Wars is going to happen and anything goes, but I think that if either set of original X-Men are going to be exiled to non-canon status, it'll be the older ones--and more likely both will still be around in some capacity.) I think that the reason for choosing young!Bobby to come out is that having a character about a teenaged character discovering/revealing his sexuality is both more resonant to the audience Marvel is courting and less...complicated than a story about a guy in his 30s-40s whose been deeply, deeply closeted for his whole life (not that that doesn't happen, just that it is a much harder story to handle well.) There's plenty to discuss and criticize about why and what that means, but I don't think it's to facilitate future retconning.
posted by kagredon at 1:23 PM on April 24, 2015


Plausible. In his first appearance (!) Professor X pondered his attraction to Jean Grey, who was a) his student and b) in her early teens.

The early X-Men were pretty clearly the last thing on Stan and Jack's to-do list, and are written really inconsistently until about issue #5 or #6 or so. Beast, for example, is portrayed loudmouthed redneck idiot in the first two issues, and only becomes the sesquipedalian polymath we know in issue #3 or so. The Angel starts out as part of a love triangle with Scott and Jean. And Jean herself is really just The Girl.

It's worth noting that the only reason anyone even remembers that single line -- a plot point that was immediately dropped and never even mentioned again for over 30 years -- is because Mark Waid dredged it back up as part of the justification for Onslaught, one of many stories from the 1990s on where Xavier slowly turns out to have retroactively done all kinds of awful things as the writers continued looking for ways to remove him from a comic where he no longer filled much of a useful role, and where his powers were hard to write around.

In the end, it took Joss Whedon revealing he'd enslaved an A.I. -- an A.I. invented for Wehdon's shock reveal -- and Ed Brubaker havign Xavier throw previously unseen children into a abattle that got them all killed -- a battle Brubaker rewrote fromt he ground upt o make room for this reveal -- to funally push Xavier out of the titles.

I'm not claiming that an injustice was done to an imaginary impossible man made of line drawings and hastily assembled clichés, but I would note that it would have been quite possible to use Xavier in more salutary, interesting ways, and that many writers *did* exactly that. Even Chris Claremont, who also tended to write the charcater out for years at a stretch, tended to treat Xavier as well-meaning but clueless and stodgy, unable to see that his students were now grownups.

It's hard to see why Professor X would be depicted as anything other than a monstrous villain, the most alarming and disgusting threat the X-Men have ever faced, both extremely powerful and insidious. He posed as their mentor for decades, when really...

Really what?

See, this is the odd thing. It makes sense to call out real people for shitty behavior. It's a bit weirder to do this to fictional characters who have been inconsistently, even wildly contradictorily written by dozens of people across many decades. Xavier's creepy attraction his student isn't a real person's character trait, it's Stan and Jack having the world's worst idea for their third-string title and then immediately dumping it.

How many of Xavier's horrible, horrible deeds reflect some sort of organic character development, and how many are retroactive insertions aimed at removing the character from the comic? How many of them reflect a shift in attitudes from the assimilationist movements regarded, however wrongly, as mainstream and sensible the 1960s to more contemporary models of responding to oppression? And how much of this argument would apply tot he version from the Bryan Singer movies. (We don't talk about the Bret Ratner one, for obvious reasons.)

Is the character best used as a device for calling out the political and creative problems of the context in which it was created age? I don't know what answer is legitimate, but I do know it could be done to just about any character.
No one (except, again, Mark Waid) brings back those two stories where Peter Parker fakes photos to get money from Jonah Jameson (ASM #4 and #9, for those who want to check my work), or Captain America tossing around racial slurs as part of wartime propaganda comics. (Hell, Cap's awful 1950s red-baiting phase, which at the time was very clearly a continuation of the 1940s character, was shoved off onto a newly invented 1950s impostor in a fondly remembered storyline.) Some characters get enshrined as Good People and have their uncomfortable past moments quietly dropped as bad creative choices; other characters get turned into villains by flagging up similarly bad, usually isolated or dated creative choices. It's all rather arbitrary in the end.

If it's OK to reveal that Iceman is gay when past writers have written him as het, why isn't it OK to decide that Xavier didn't have that terrible thought in a single panel of an ancient story? Xavier was created as Stan and Jack's idea of a peace-minded utopian, with the twist that he had a classically "evil" power which he used for what were supposed to be good purposes; surely it might be nice to have a character who plays up a 21st century take on that idea. It needn't be Xavier, but it's still an interesting idea.
posted by kewb at 1:26 PM on April 24, 2015 [13 favorites]


other characters get turned into villains by flagging up similarly bad, usually isolated or dated creative choices.
kewb

I sense a Hank Pym fan.
posted by Sangermaine at 1:31 PM on April 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


TL/DR: Maybe less LGBT X-men and more LGBT Avengers/Guardians/Defenders/etc.

I suppose the issue is not Iceman being gay, but the over-all distribution of gay characters in the Marvel universe. With Bobby being gay, that now ups the total number of X-men who've had gay phases to Bobby, Piotr (Colossus), Xi'an (Karma), Hank (Beast), Phat, Bloke, Vivisector, Raven (Mystique), Irene (Destiny), Northstar, Anole, Shatterstar, Rictor, Daken, Benjamin Deeds (Morph), Bling, Graymalkin, and James Howlett (Wolverine). Granted, three of those are from the X-Statix,

That's 5 major, 6 significant, and 5 minor characters. The X-Franchise is pretty well represented on the rainbow spectrum.

Let's now look at the Avengers: Hercules, Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew), Wiccan, - not so many, despite a considerably larger roster.

Part of this is a thematic transference. X-Men were originally a metaphor for the struggle for civil rights for racial and religious minorities/ immigrants (consider how many core X-men are non-American: Nightcrawler/Storm/Colossus/Wolverine). As that issue has subsided in the consciousness of the target audience, it has been subsumed into a new metaphor: mutants as a metaphor for the struggle for acceptance of LGBTQ characters.

I suppose the question is how you prefer your representation on LGBTQ characters in comics. Is it better to have a fair distribution across all the lines? Or is it better to have the one team/franchise that is the gay team?

There's still enough het storylines within X-men (mainly the Scott/Jean/Logan/Emma quadrangle, the Remy/Rogue, etc.) that it still keeps within the core theme, which is diversity = strength (note how X-men villain groups tend towards homogeny of power sets- Sentinels, for example).

But while the metaphor is apt, I don't want X-men to be the LGBTQ ghetto for Marvel universe characters. And that's a fair concern.
posted by LeRoienJaune at 1:32 PM on April 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


Iceman
Powers

* Thermokinesis: Can lower his external and internal body temperature. Can project intense coldness from his body. Unaffected by sub-zero temperatures. Can consciously, immediately lower his body temperature from its normal 98.6 Fahrenheit to absolute zero. Can selectively lower the temperature of isolated parts of his body.
* Thermal Vision
* Cryokinesis: Can create ice sculptures out of thin air. Doesn't have to hold the ice in order to shape it. Can make it snow or cause a blizzard.
* Can form a rising column of ice beneath his feet, capable of lifting him off the ground. Can fly on his own with his control over moisture.
* Can freeze all of the molecules of an object/being with a thought.
* Organic-Ice Form: Ability to not only cover his body with ice, but to actually become organic ice. Virtually indestructible in this form
* Hydrokinesis: Can use surrounding moisture to augment himself, allowing him to travel within large bodies of water very quickly. Can break himself down to his base levels and reform at a given destination. Can make his body larger or smaller through absorption of a body of water or water vapor in the air. Can turn into water vapor. Can exist simultaneously in two places at once.
* Molecular Moisture Inversion: The ability to freeze water molecules turning them into solid ice.
* Molecular Moisture Conversion: The ability to transform organic matter, such as a human body, to organic ice and back again.
* Ice Clone Generation: The ability to generate ice clones of himself.

Clearly being closeted for years is a bridge too far.
posted by zarq at 1:39 PM on April 24, 2015 [7 favorites]


Marvel handled the issue of racial discrimination via the mutant prejudice allegory very well. Excellently, in fact. With the possible exception of Northstar they're handling this one poorly.

I always found it strange that for a comic that is a civil rights allegory, the X-Men never really had an African-American member. Storm is African. Bishop is an Australian Aborigine. Sunspot is Afro-Brazilian. So maybe their handling of racial discrimination wasn't handled as well as you thought.
posted by thecjm at 1:39 PM on April 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm sorry that three (3) heroes being gay out of at least a thousand bothers you. It's especially weird it does because that's still way fewer than would be expected if LGBT people were as common in comics as they are in reality.

I'm not, in the tiniest bit, bothered by characters being gay.

I am bothered by characters who have already had important, passionate, opposite-sex romances, suddenly turning out to be Gay All Along to sell comics.

Hell, I'd have a lot more respect for something like "Was bi all along, used to prefer men, now likes ladies more!" than this stuff.
posted by corb at 1:39 PM on April 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


I sense a Hank Pym fan.

The reason that one stuck to Hank was that, unlike most of Marvel 1960s characters, there wasn't much else to him. He had the creatively weakest and shortest-lived solo series of all the original Avengers, and writers had resorted to reinventing his powers and costume ever couple of years in a desperate attempt to make him interesting.

And the thing is, the actual story worked pretty well, especially after Roger Stern and Steve Engelhart took over and made it the story of someone who had done wrong and was now trying to turn himself into a decent person. I mean, Engelhart took him into suicidal depression and had him come out the other end by inventing and addressing the roots of the character's insecurities and his bad behavior.

While it wasn't where Jim Shooter was going, necessarily, it was a good story about the possibility of getting beyond toxic masculinity. Of course, after that some writers wanted to pretend Hank had never been anything but generic Silver Age goodness and others wanted Monster Wife-Beater Hank back, and between them the character became a mess once again. The only version I've liked since was Dan Slott's portrayal of an insecure eccentric who kept giving others reasons not to trust him.

Pym is an option I hadn't thought of earlier: have the characters actually develop from their flaws. But then, how likely is that to be handled consistently in the first place? And at a certain point, readers will never forget the character's flaws. In the end, that probably has happened to Hank Pym. Of course, what marvel did to Bill Foster was worse in many ways. He was an angry, possessive ex years before Pym; fell swiftly into obscurity; and then Mark Millar used him as the punchline to a tasteless joke in the inexplicably popular, grossly overrated Civil War.
posted by kewb at 1:42 PM on April 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


I am bothered by characters who have already had important, passionate, opposite-sex romances, suddenly turning out to be Gay All Along to sell comics.

well great news that didn't happen
posted by kagredon at 1:46 PM on April 24, 2015 [7 favorites]


Personally, of the founding X-Men I'd have pegged Beast or Cyclops as the most interesting choices for this sort of reveal or character point

Grant Morrison had Beast pretend to come out as gay for a couple of issues of New X-Men in the early 2000s. When Cyclops called him out for being a huge phony, Hank fessed up that it was all a wacky publicity stunt in the name of intersectionality between the mutant and gay-rights causes.
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:54 PM on April 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


I always found it strange that for a comic that is a civil rights allegory, the X-Men never really had an African-American member. Storm is African. Bishop is an Australian Aborigine. Sunspot is Afro-Brazilian. So maybe their handling of racial discrimination wasn't handled as well as you thought.

Cloak, briefly. Darwin, briefly. Prodigy, Bling and Tag were trainees. Frenzy, sort of. Cecilia Reyes, sort of.

Still, it's probably fair to say that they've had more members with NO skin (or blue, green, hot pink, golden, furry, or crystalline) than brown.
posted by delfin at 1:57 PM on April 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Ironically, I always think of Iceman as gay, because the character in the movie who is played by Shawn Ashmore has a twin brother named Aaron (both of whom are straight as far as I know), but Aaron played a gay character on Warehouse 13, and it was handled very elegantly; there was no big shocking reveal, it was just a (paraphrased for effect) "Hey I could like you", "Sorry, I'm gay", "Okay, let's fight this artifact that turns people into cannibals.", "Sounds good." kind of thing. They never made an issue of it and that was cool.

When I went back and rewatched the X-Men movies, all I could see was Shawn's brother's character, and therefore, Iceman was gay in a no-big-deal way.

What bothers me most is how upset people get when a character is homosexual. I don't get how it somehow ruins them for the fans; I mean, if the next movie outed James Bond, it would totally change the viewings of his interactions with women in all the previous films, but it could also add a really interesting component to his psychology. Same with any of my other favorites; Indiana Jones, Snake Plissken, Mad Max, Jake Blues... none of these characters would be worse for having a different sexual orientation than suggested.

Seriously, would it make Batman any less awesome if he had more interest in Harvey Dent than Rachel Dawes?
posted by quin at 2:00 PM on April 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


Actually all gay guys can generate an ice clone of themselves so that's not that big a deal.
posted by The Whelk at 2:01 PM on April 24, 2015 [18 favorites]


1) Glad this version of Bobby came out, I think he'll be a happier person.

2) He might be one of a handful of gay superheroes, but, AFAIK, he's the only Omega-level gay mutant. So homophobes in 616, watch out!
posted by signal at 2:03 PM on April 24, 2015


Why do I constantly think Quentin Quire is gay?
posted by griphus at 2:06 PM on April 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


Arguably, they did out James Bond in Skyfall, which I just watched this week and was a very good, if somewhat weird self-referential bond movie.

But I'm generally spoiled by series where the characters were LGBTQ from the very start, so the project of retconning LGBTQ characters into existing franchises doesn't appeal to me as a comics reader.

It probably doesn't help that this was done via a time-travel plot device, and I hold X-Men as the primary example of how not to do time travel. Time travel in general is best handled like a cow patty, drop it as fertilizer and move on. Time travel in X-Men continuity has become a pyramid of black rhino dung. Writers seem motivated to stick their nose in, wiggle it around, inhale several times, and leave their own deposit on the top.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 2:19 PM on April 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


What about people who have had important, passionate, opposite-sex romances, suddenly turning out to be gay in real life? Let's be honest folks. That never happens!
posted by triage_lazarus at 2:31 PM on April 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


It probably doesn't help that this was done via a time-travel plot device

That's the in-universe assumption, but there are suggestions that it isn't actually the case.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 2:31 PM on April 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm willing to invalidate this time travel plot device if we invalidate the other 200 ones in the X-men chronology.
posted by triage_lazarus at 2:32 PM on April 24, 2015


Arguably, they did out James Bond in Skyfall, which I just watched this week and was a very good, if somewhat weird self-referential bond movie.

What? It was a fantastic antithesis-of-a-Bond-movie action movie featuring James Bond but he is flirted with while captured by a male captor and maybe flirts back a little with a male captor if I remember the scene correctly but I feel like you're reaching there. He doesn't like bring his boyfriend to the MI-6 party.
posted by edbles at 2:33 PM on April 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Or at least the twenty that happened in the last 2 years.
posted by triage_lazarus at 2:33 PM on April 24, 2015


ChurchHatesTucker: "That's the in-universe assumption, but there are suggestions that it isn't actually the case."

Yeah, I don't see how the All New X-men could possibly be younger versions of the Classic X-Men, unless there's some massive mind-wipe in their future, in which case, WTF.
posted by signal at 2:39 PM on April 24, 2015


It was a fantastic antithesis-of-a-Bond-movie action movie featuring James Bond but he is flirted with while captured by a male captor and maybe flirts back a little with a male captor if I remember the scene correctly
edbles

I think they're referring to this:

[Silva opens the top button of Bond's shirt and pulls it aside to reveal the shrapnel wound on his shoulder]
Silva: Oops. See what she's done to you.
James Bond: Well, she never tied me to a chair.
Skyfall QuotesSilva: Her loss.
[Silva then softly touches the base of Bond's neck with his fingers]
James Bond: Are you sure this is about M?
Silva: It's about her, and you, and me. You see, we are the last two rats. We can either eat each other. Mm? Or eat everyone else.
[Silva softly touches Bond's neck]
Silva: Huh, you're trying to remember your training now. What's the regulation to cover this?
[Silva runs his hands down Bond thighs]
Silva: Well, first time for everything. Yes?
James Bond: What makes you think this is my first time?

Silva: Oh, Mr Bond. All that physical stuff is so dull. So dull. Chasing spies. So old-fashioned.
[Silvan unties Bond's hands]
Silva: Your knees must be killing you.
posted by Sangermaine at 2:40 PM on April 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Re: bi-erasure, full-gay, etc.

I'll admit that when I was younger, I actually did not have a concept of bisexuality. I was, after all, gay, and everyone else was not. So the 'full'/'partial' gay thing did actually make sense in my mind as to how things worked.

It's not, obviously. I've since learned. Quite a bit, I like to think, since my late teens. So while I don't know about Bendis's intent or his knowledge of the subject (though I've liked most of his stuff in the past), Bobby and Jean's reaction to the whole 'full gay' thing actually makes sense to me, in that, "Oh, kids..." sort of way.
posted by qcubed at 2:40 PM on April 24, 2015


Which is why I said "arguably."
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 2:41 PM on April 24, 2015


When I went back and rewatched the X-Men movies, all I could see was Shawn's brother's character, and therefore, Iceman was gay in a no-big-deal way.

Well, there's also that entire scene where Bobby comes out to his parents, and his own mother asks him to try and not be a gay mutant.
posted by qcubed at 2:42 PM on April 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


What about people who have had important, passionate, opposite-sex romances, suddenly turning out to be gay in real life? Let's be honest folks. That never happens!

I mean, some of us would call those people bi. If there are any examples of someone completely changing their sexuality 100% after having passionate fulfilling relationships with any gender, I haven't heard of it. I mean, that's the kind of crap 'gay conversion therapy' is made of.
posted by corb at 2:45 PM on April 24, 2015


[Hank Pym]
And the thing is, the actual story worked pretty well, especially after Roger Stern and Steve Engelhart took over and made it the story of someone who had done wrong and was now trying to turn himself into a decent person. I mean, Engelhart took him into suicidal depression and had him come out the other end by inventing and addressing the roots of the character's insecurities and his bad behavior.
And Englehart would take it further in West Coast Avengers too, taking Hank to his lowest, then building him up, something even John Byrne didn't mess with when he came on the title and fucked up the Vision, Tigra, Wonderman and the Scarlet Witch.

You had decades of character growth for Hank after he slapped Jan happening in the backgrounds of Avengers titles, all done very naturally, all swept aside by the 2000s generation of Avengers writers for some cheap drama and obnoxious resetting of continuity to when they were kids.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:46 PM on April 24, 2015


And Englehart would take it further in West Coast Avengers too, taking Hank to his lowest, then building him up, something even John Byrne didn't mess with when he came on the title and fucked up the Vision, Tigra, Wonderman and the Scarlet Witch.

Yeah, that was what i was referring to with Engelhart. But Byrne did screw one thing up: he had Hank and Jan restart their relationship out of the blue. And that made it much easier for the 200s writers to set things back first tot he 1960s status quo and then (via the dependably awful Chuck Austen) to the "wife-beatin' Hank" idea that had taken root in the fandom by then.
posted by kewb at 3:02 PM on April 24, 2015


I mean, some of us would call those people bi. If there are any examples of someone completely changing their sexuality 100% after having passionate fulfilling relationships with any gender, I haven't heard of it. I mean, that's the kind of crap 'gay conversion therapy' is made of.

I guess what I was trying to say is that it often can appear so on the surface that you are attracted to the opposite sex. I bet it can be convincing to the point where you even lie to yourself. In such a case, what's so odd about Bobby having a string of passionate opposite sex relationships over the years? It's not like folks here haven't posted at least 6 or 7 examples in continuity of Bobby not being honest with himself. This of course in no shape way or form means bi people don't exist.
posted by triage_lazarus at 3:07 PM on April 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


corb: "If there are any examples of someone completely changing their sexuality 100% after having passionate fulfilling relationships with any gender, I haven't heard of it."

And you're not hearing it here, either. The outed-bobby is either a before version of current 616 bobby, or a whole 'nother bobby, but he's definitely not someone who had a passionate relationship with Opal in his subjective past.
posted by signal at 3:07 PM on April 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


He doesn't like bring his boyfriend to the MI-6 party.

No, he just sits in a museum and discusses art with him.
posted by maxsparber at 3:10 PM on April 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


Can Jean Grey read my mind and discover I'm secretly a normal person who's into football and Adam Sandler movies?

See, I think that's the point where she screams about abominations. I mean, really, Adam Sandler? Send Sentinels after HIM.

Anyway, one of the rules of time travel, and in general every decision, in the Marvel Universe is that it splits off Yet Another Parallel Universe. (Theoretically, you could go far enough back in time to find the exact place where the comic book universe split from the cinematic universe, but thankfully that hasn't happened yet and Kirby protect us from that possibility.) So this could just be a Bobby from an alternate past who came into 616, where he is gay, whereas the 616-Iceman might just be bi and prefers to not think about it (as was the denial when Northstar quietly noted he had a crush on Bobby and Bobby's reply was, basically, thanks but nope).

As far bi-erasure and stuff, I think if they let past-Bobby be bi, and what Jean picked up was him in one of his thoughts on the gay side about Fantomex (I know I am simplifying the situation, but in Kirby's name I don't know the precise terminology to use), and maybe he'd be thinking five minutes later that hey, Psylocke's got an amazing butt, that would have been better. Maybe that's going to happen, and then it gets 616-Bobby into a place where he has to deal with it when he didn't before. Maybe it's just going to end up kind of dumb. We'll see what happens.
posted by mephron at 3:16 PM on April 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


thecjm :...Bishop is an Australian Aborigine...

At the risk of being a complete pedant, but Bishop's father is an Australian Aborigine. Bishop and his sister, however, were born in the USA at a Brooklyn, NY Mutant Relocation Camp. There's also Synch (Generation X), Anarchist (ex-leader of X-Force/X-Statix), and Angel Salvatore.
posted by tittergrrl at 3:21 PM on April 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


tbh all of these "oooh, it's just to sell comics" comments are leaving a pretty bad taste in my mouth, especially after so frequently hearing "oooh, it's just not what the market wants, don't take it so personally" in threads where marginalized people are talking about the need for representation.

Literally the only things that Marvel does that aren't to sell comics are the things they do to sell movies and television shows. No one here is unaware of that. That does not mean that more representation isn't a conscious choice on their part. And yes, there's a lot to unpack about how it was done and that it's a heterosexual cis dude writing some kind of cringey dialogue that may have been intentionally awkward to capture the characters' understanding and may have been just kind of clueless on an authorial level (I think probably a little of each), and whether it's being done in a way that reads as tokenism or grabbing at ally cookies is also something that's worth discussing, but noting that Marvel is still a media company in a capitalist society is the least interesting or insightful place to plant your flag.
posted by kagredon at 3:31 PM on April 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


How and where people want to plant their flag is their business.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:43 PM on April 24, 2015


They're allowed to plant their flag there. I'm allowed to comment on their flag-planting. That's a thing we do here, yes?
posted by kagredon at 3:45 PM on April 24, 2015


No, that only happens on Metafilter-616.
posted by corb at 3:46 PM on April 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


Is that the one with the zombies?
posted by asperity at 3:49 PM on April 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


STOP EQUATING ZOMBIES WITH GAY PEOPLE
posted by lumpenprole at 3:51 PM on April 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


that's a thing that happens, right?
posted by lumpenprole at 3:51 PM on April 24, 2015


How and where people want to plant their flag is their business.

Which is why Jean outing him like that is pretty shitty.
posted by kafziel at 3:54 PM on April 24, 2015


I don't mean this in a mean or dismissive way, but I don't care. Isn't that what we should want? Someone very smart once said that "To most young people today, being gay is about as interesting as being left handed." I accept the obvious criticism that there are many, many differences between the two, but I want to circle back to my question...shouldn't we want things to be this way?
posted by Mr. Fig at 3:57 PM on April 24, 2015


Why do I constantly think Quentin Quire is gay?

Because you're confusing him with Quentin Crisp?
posted by webmutant at 4:22 PM on April 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


Considering the like, vast amount of shit that happens in the past-future to basically all of the original X-Men, maybe present-present Iceman not being gay isn't the biggest worry. Angel has all kinds of shit to have-going-to-have happen/ed. Jean dies like 5 times, becomes a universal force, etc.

"We'll solve your future missing homosexuality right after we crack the case of me turning into a cosmic force that wants everything to burn"
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 4:24 PM on April 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


Sure, Marvel is a media company in a capitalist country. So are the other comics publishers who write entire series around LGBTQ characters but don't get cookies from CNN, ABC, and Rolling Stone for doing it. Really though, it highlights the conservatism of comics that this is news, or that it's news to re-imagine franchise characters as black, latino/a, or women.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 4:24 PM on April 24, 2015


James Bond: What makes you think this is my first time?

Regardless of actual orientation, it's pretty likely that an agent of his caliber has slept with both women and men merely as a part of his job as a secret agent.

(On second thought, he's clearly heterosexual, because his only true love is the Queen and country)
posted by ymgve at 4:34 PM on April 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Someone very smart once said that "To most young people today, being gay is about as interesting as being left handed."

Really? I, uh, categorically disagree, both from my own perspective and from my interactions with current teenagers. It's maybe not any better or worse than being left handed, but it's certainly a much more interesting piece of information about someone, not least because it ties into how you can expect them to relate to other people. (Can I date this person? Could they be interested in me? How should I take any potentially-flirtatious behavior from them--serious or not? What boundaries should I enforce?) It's not the only thing that factors into the answer to those questions, but it's a part of how people respond to them in a way that handedness really isn't.
posted by sciatrix at 4:35 PM on April 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


Which is why Jean outing him like that is pretty shitty.

Yes and no. They're close friends and around each other a lot, so a telepath picking up thoughts isn't too strange. Plus she pulled him away from the group to talk to him, so it's shitty, but being around a telepath would be shitty. And she did it to help him.
Still not great, but not completely terrible.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:41 PM on April 24, 2015


If I tell people in certain parts of the country that I'm left-handed, is my life in danger? Could my boss fire me for being left handed?
posted by triage_lazarus at 4:41 PM on April 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


Or alternately, it highlights the incestuousness of big media that LGBTQ characters in comics are only newsworthy if there's a movie franchise involved.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 4:50 PM on April 24, 2015


Could my boss fire me for being left handed?

Yes.

Are they likely to? No, of course not. But I'm not aware of handedness being a protected class anywhere in the US, so absent an employment contract to the contrary (either with you individually or with your union), you could be legally fired for being left-handed.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 5:44 PM on April 24, 2015


I'll get on that with my union. I'll, uh, get a union.
posted by triage_lazarus at 5:52 PM on April 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Sinister Local 6? I'm on to you, Mysterio, assorted pipefitters, and flange-drivers.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 6:04 PM on April 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


That's my point, though--my interest in the sexual orientations of my friends has precisely jack all to do with their oppression under the law or even in broader society. I want to know what their orientations are because I care about them and their experiences, even if I have no interest in dating them myself. Even if there was literally no societal change in approval between being in same gender or opposite gender relationships, I would still be definitely interested in knowing because it's an integral part of my friend. Same as is true of race, actually. The end goal is not to erase difference, it's to be comfortable with it. These are not the same thing.
posted by sciatrix at 6:08 PM on April 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


clarknova: " I'm secretly a normal person who's into football and Adam Sandler movies?"

That... that explains so much! ;)
posted by symbioid at 9:40 PM on April 24, 2015


Marvel's Axel Alonso weekly interview with CBR starts off on this topic.
Of course, we realized that if young Bobby were to come to this moment of clarity there would be ramifications for adult Bobby. So we talked about that, and we agreed what they would be, and Brian will deal with them when he drops the mic with "Uncanny X-Men" #600. I'm very excited about the stories ahead.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:53 AM on April 25, 2015


"If members of a marginalized group speak up about content you have made as a creator who does not identify as part of that group, maybe you should listen?

To clarify: I’m not mad Iceman is gay instead of bi, I am very excited that Bendis gave X-Men another canon gay character, and I definitely don’t think any bi-erasure in All-New X-Men was intentional. I can also tell the difference between a coming out story that is “unusual” because of the world’s given circumstances (mutants! time travel!) and one that is unusual because it insults other identities unnecessarily. Similarly, I can distinguish between when a character is bi-phobic in a way that is deserved and serves the story, and when a character is bi-phobic because she wasn’t written with enough nuance.

That being said, Jean and Bobby’s conversation is problematic and indicative of how pervasive misconceptions about bisexuality still are and how important it is for creators with an influential platform like Bendis’ to consider their words carefully and listen to the groups they’re writing about."

posted by ursus_comiter at 8:25 PM on April 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


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