Evangelist Franklin Graham, the son and successor of influential Christian minister Billy Graham, claims Marvel's outing of Iceman is part of a larger effort to "indoctrinate" young people.
"Today the Marvel comic character Ice Man, from the X-Men series, is coming out as gay," Graham wrote Wednesday on his Facebook page. "This is another attempt to indoctrinate our young people to accept this destructive lifestyle. God’s Word says homosexuality is a sin, and we are to be on guard against all sin. God calls us to repent, turn from our sins, and put our trust in His Son Jesus Christ who died and rose again to pay the penalty for sin."
As most readers know by now, it's revealed in this week's issue of All-New X-Men, which follows the time-displaced original team members, that young Bobby Drake is gay. In a scene that's drawn some criticism, even among LGBTQ fans, teenage telepath Jean Grey confronts Bobby with the knowledge that he's gay. After an initial denial, and an immediate dismissal of the possibility that he's bisexual, Iceman finally agrees with Jean that he's "full gay."
Writer Brian Michael Bendis was quick to address accusations of bisexual erasure on his blog, saying, "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."
He later told CBR News, " This is a very complicated subject, and it requires more than a few pages to dive into. I thought it opened a great deal of possibility for the characters. I'm kind of leaving everybody in a different place than people thought we were going to leave them, including Angel and all the others. Let's just say that I'm pretty confident that the person following me is going to do this justice. I'm not done with this story yet, though. I still have many pages to go, and then the next person has a story that they can do with a character that I would like to read."
The comments from Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, didn't go without criticism either, even on his own Facebook page. Although his post has been "liked" by nearly 80,000 people and shared more than 20,000 times, the comments have been flooded by people opposing Graham's position or outright mocking it.
However, one commenter may have hit the nail on the head with, "Xmen's central theme is tolerance. If your kids didn't get that before iceman came out then they weren't paying attention."
A controversial figure himself, Graham has been a vocal opponent of marriage equality, and praised Russian President Vladimir Putin's ban on "homosexual propaganda."
This certainly isn't the first time Marvel has been singled out for criticism by members of the religious right. In 2012, One Million Moms -- which previously led a failed campaign against Archie Comics in Toys "R" Us -- targeted Marvel for the wedding of Northstar to boyfriend Kyle Jinadu, and DC Comics for the reintroduction of Green Lantern Alan Scott as gay. The group's effort backfired spectacularly. That same year, the National Organization for Marriage responded to the release of Astonishing X-Men #51 with a fundraising message voicing concerns about “the sanctity of a comic book gay wedding.”
(via Gay Star News)