Is There Bisexual Erasure in Iceman’s Coming Out?

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 3.50.05 PMThe comic book world has once again broken new ground with portraying a positive BLGT character. But, this week, when Marvel Comic’s “All-New X-Men” No. 40 hits the stands on Wednesday, there’s some potential bisexual erasure.

The teenage version of Iceman, aka Bobby Drake, is outed as gay by a teenage Jean Grey, who can read minds.

This version of the X-Men shows the famous mutant superheroes as youths. As an adult, the Iceman is unquestionably heterosexual. However, in this early version of him in his youth, he toys with the idea of being labeled as bisexual. Yet, when the female mind-reader is in his thoughts, he then settles on being gay.

Initially, Jean Grey challenges Iceman because he’s always calling other female characters “hot.” She pulls him aside and confronts him.

Any fan of the X-Men knows that Bobby Drake has dated a slew of women, including one of the core team members, Kitty Pryde, as an adult.

As a youth, however, Iceman says that coming out as gay and a mutant is just too much to handle. One of the show’s writers, Michael Bendis, says that sexuality is fluid and points out that Jean Grey later says, “They say everybody is [bisexual]”) that sexuality is fluid.”

The writer promises there will be more about Iceman and his sexuality.

Because of some of the online criticism on Wednesday, he posted:

I will say I’m super bummed that some people are reading any sort of bi erasure and biphobia into the interaction between bobby and Jean. nothing could be further from the truth. nobody involved in this feels anything like that. and if anybody reading the horribly scanned leaked pages even thought that for a second please free your mind of that. it’s not there. this is a very unique story because one character, from a different time and a somewhat limited worldview, is reading another character’s mind. this is in no way the traditional ‘coming-out’ story if there even is one, there is also this big chunk of time travel weirdness involved. none of this is a statement about all things to all people. but it does give us a unique perspective that I thought was worth approaching. this is Bobby’s story. nobody else’s. some will find connection to it, others might not. and this is just the first part of a larger story. See the upcoming giant size uncanny 600.

Already, DC Comic’s Catwoman came out as bisexual this year, and now, maybe, Iceman could be bi. At least for now, Iceman seems a bit confused perhaps, or he’s just conforming to what his friend wants.

Nevertheless, Iceman is one of the most popular characters in the Marvel superhero world—and unarguably the coolest.

 

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Mike Szymanski
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Mike Szymanski has written about bisexual issues since 1989 and has one of the longest-running regular bisexual columns as the National Bisexuality Examiner. He came out as bisexual in a cover story of Genre magazine, which resulted in more than 50 television appearances, including Ricki Lake, Phil Donahue Show and 20/20. Szymanski won the Lambda Literary Award in 2007 for co-authoring an informative humor book “The Bisexual’s Guide to the Universe: Quips, Tips and Lists for Those Who Go Both Ways.” Write him at [email protected]