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Knowledge Waits: The Possible Hints Over the Years That Iceman Is Gay

by  in Comic News Comment
Knowledge Waits: The Possible Hints Over the Years That Iceman Is Gay

This is the latest in a feature where I just share some bit of comic book history that interests me. Here is a collection of all of the installments in the feature so far.

One of the interesting aspects of young Iceman coming out in the most recent issue of All-New X-Men (and from the sound of Brian Michael Bendis’ discussions of the topic, it sure sounds like adult Iceman will be catching up with him, as well) is the notion that Iceman being gay is something supported in past comics. Bendis noted to CBR:

CBR: This story isn’t something that’s coming out of the blue, either. Over the years there’s been a lot of hints that Bobby might not be entirely honest with himself about his sexuality.

Bendis: Yes! That’s the funniest conversation online. We have some people going, “What on Earth are you talking about? Where did this come from?” Then there are other people who weren’t surprised at all. Already on Tumblr, and I’m not going to repost them until later in the week, people have posted a road map of panels of things that Bobby has done over the last 50 years that prove the point that I thought was obvious, and many others did too.

Bendis is correct that “Iceman is gay” is something that has come up a whole lot over the years with X-Men fans. So what’s this road map that Bendis is referring to? I don’t know what he’s specifically referring to, but I know what what most of the signs people refer to when they argue that Bobby Drake is closeted. So let’s take a look at them.

NOTE: This is so image intensive, I had to split it into three pages – BC.

First off, obviously when he was created, Iceman was not intended to be gay. That wasn’t even within the realm of possibility for someone like Stan Lee for a superhero character in 1963. Even as other writers took the book over, clearly, they were never thinking Bobby was gay, either. Bobby had a couple of girlfriends during his first stint as a member of the X-Men, but nothing serious.

When the first X-Men series ended with X-Men #66, Bobby was in a bit of a love triangle with Havok over Polaris…

But when X-Men relaunched with Giant Size X-Men #1, Bobby, Polaris and Havok all leave the team and Bobby seems to be fine with Polaris and Havok now being a couple.

Iceman then helps to form the Champions soon after leaving the X-Men in 1976, but again, no real relationship. He seems to be getting close to Darkstar, but it fizzles, especially when she ignores him when he risks his life to save her in a battle involving the Stranger.

Bobby is more or less just a guest star character for the rest of the 1970s (Champions folded quickly) and well into the 1980s, before J.M. DeMatteis brought Iceman, Angel and Beast to the Defenders for the NEW Defenders in 1983.

Beast was the public face of the team (and the team leader). Still, it was pretty clear that Bobby was still considered straight by the writers. Even to the point where DeMatteis and incoming writer Peter Gillis had Bobby jokingly pretend to be gay in 1984’s New Defenders #131…

New writer Peter Gillis was interested in exploring some interesting ideas about sex and gender, and it sort of began with Defenders #132, with Bobby flirting with his new teammate, Cloud…

In #134, Cloud, though, shows an interest in her female teammate, Moondragon…

She struggles with her feelings the following issue…

In #136, she solves her problems by turning into a man….

Ironically, of course, Moondragon years later came out as a lesbian.

Bobby doesn’t handle it particularly well…

Cloud changes back and forth and Bobby has a particularly hard time when he’s consoling Cloud on her bed when she changes into a man. Bobby freaks out, and tells Cloud that he wants to help, he just can’t.

But eventually he remains friends with Cloud…

And as they come closer to learning Cloud’s origins later on and whether she actually DID “turn” into a guy or if she is perhaps two person merged into one…

Then, of course, her origins were revealed to be something COMPLETELY different as the series abruptly ended. Honestly, I don’t think the Cloud era is all that important to the overall “Hints that Bobby is gay” storyline, but people will always bring Cloud up, so I figure I might as well address it.

Bobby joined up with the new X-Factor soon after and again, didn’t have much in the way of love interests until Opal Tanaka was introduced in X-Factor #51. Again, writer Louise Simonson was clearly writing Bobby as straight.

They remain a couple for a couple of years, even as Bobby rejoined the X-Men. However, when Scott Lobdell took over writing Uncanny X-Men, it is now that we first really saw what people refer to when they talk about hints that Bobby is closeted (besides, of course, the general “he never had all that many steady girlfriends” thing).

Read on to see what Lobdell did with Bobby during his run…

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