For years, the big appeal of The X-Men has been the way it can be used as a metaphor for anything that makes someone different. Whether you’re gay, or overweight, or you shoot lasers out of your eyes, or you’re just a comic-loving nerd, the X-Men are there to show you that being different doesn’t mean you can’t beat up Magneto. Or a metaphorical Magneto, at least.
Now, just to make that clearer, an upcoming issue of Marvel’s All-New X-Men (which was leaked by someone on 4chan) will feature Bobby Drake—better known as Iceman—coming out as gay. He’s certainly not the first gay X-Man, but it’s important because Iceman was one of the founding members of the original X-Men team created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in the ‘60s. That makes him a very important character to the history of the Marvel universe, and now he’s gay, so that’s pretty cool.
But, there’s a but. In a wrinkle to this news that’s unfortunately reminiscent of the time DC grabbed headlines by announcing that Green Lantern was gay (but leaving out the part that it’s a Green Lantern from an alternate universe, not the Green Lantern), the Iceman who is coming out as gay is not the Iceman. See, in the current X-Men comics, longtime leader Cyclops has become a bit of an asshole, and to try and inspire him to change his ways, one of the other X-Men used a time machine to bring the original X-Men team—from when they were still teenagers—to the present. It didn’t work, Cyclops is still an asshole, and now the younger X-Men—Cyclops, Iceman, Angel, Beast, and Jean Grey—are stuck. So he is the “real” Iceman, but he’s not the same Iceman that has been around for the last five decades. If that doesn’t make any sense, blame comic books.
Time-displaced duplicates aside, a high-profile X-Man is now gay, and everybody is making a big deal about it. However, Brian Michael Bendis—who wrote the issue in question—wishes we weren’t. He wanted it to “come out and just be,” so it wouldn’t seem like a publicity stunt. As he says, “Oh, well.”
At least Shawn Ashmore, the guy who played Bobby Drake in the X-Men movies, is happy:
Now let’s hear from some people who think this is going to brainwash kids or ruin a classic comic book character. Actually, on second thought, let’s not.