Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

154 – Leaning into the Metaphor (feat. Sina Grace)

Art by David Wynne. Contact David to purchase the original!

In which incoming Iceman writer Sina Grace joins us to talk about the coolest X-Man; Adult Bobby Drake gets the spotlight; no one looks too closely at the jokester; the mutant metaphor works both globally and personally; and we are all a little horrified by how long ago Grant Morrison’s New X-Men run happened.


  • The Apocalypse Seed
  • What ice powers sound like
  • Ice puns and Memento-style tattoos
  • Adult coming-out stories
  • Intersectionality and representation
  • Iceman on his own
  • The most Sinister of teases
  • Cargo shorts
  • Bobby’s assorted ex-girlfriends
  • Omega-level ice powers vs. anxiety
  • Mike Carey’s X-Men
  • Bobby’s buds Cannonball and Rogue
  • Yas Northstar
  • Respecting continuity, avoiding overwhelm
  • Advice for your younger (and older) self

Find Sina Grace on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook!

NEXT EPISODE: The X-Tinction Agenda begins!

No visual companion this week! Check out Iceman in June!

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  1. I am interested if Jay or Miles (or Sina if he’s still on hand) had any thoughts on the scene in Chuck Austen’s infamous run. It was one interesting scene, and I might be misremembering it . . . but Northstar confronts Iceman about passing privilege at a mutant bar. I can’t remember how deftly he handled it, but it was an interesting point to bring up. Clearly Bobby has had mutant and gay passing privilege. I myself have been confronted by other gay men as not understanding what it means to have this privilege and it was a really important revelation to myself.

    1. You are misremembering a bit. It was Nurse Annie who had that talk with Iceman. I don’t think Jean-Paul spent a lot of time around Bobby after Bobby threatened to kill him if anything happened to Warren, and I think after that Jean-Paul became a full-time teacher and wasn’t seen much in the books at all.

  2. “Been a fan Iceman since Spider-Man and his amazing friends cartoon, which came out in the 70s”

    Oh fuck off, you young whippersnapper.

  3. This interview made me so happy. Not least because NORTHSTAR! His (disappearance since secret wars really bugged me and) unresolved relationship with Iceman has been on my mind a lot since X-Men #600. Kyle better look out. Sounds like this book could be a lot of fun, and Sina Grace seems like a good fit. Hopeful!

    1. I’m not sure what was unresolved about it? I don’t mean that in a snarky way or anything, but Northstar had an unrequited crush for a little while, then moved on. I agree that it will certainly be interesting to see their friendship addressed in the light of Bobby coming out (especially given Jean-Paul’s past assertion that Bobby was straight! lol!), but I don’t see where there’s any lack of closure there.

      1. To be blunt: they need to hook up. Jean Paul and adult Bobby (with Kyle in the mix) could be the gay mutant soap opera I’ve been waiting for since i was about the Chuck Austen run, when people started shipping them. Iknow its unlikely given the light hearted ness of the resurrexion line, but a guy can dream. anyway — its all rather inresolved to me because Icy and Northy haven’t had a chance to chat since Bobby came out — and Amazing X Men (the last time they were ona team together) was unceremoniously canceled right before Secret Wars.

        1. Have to demur on that one. Breaking up marriages for the sake of soap opera is bad enough, but when it’s the only actual married gay married couple in the MU* (and happily married at that), I say a definite “Nope”.

          * Billy and Teddy aren’t married yet, just engaged and I respect that an argument could be made for Raven and Irene, but even so.

  4. Great interview – I’m really excited for this series and already hoping Sina Grace can return for another interview at some point.

    I also must compliment Sina on showing restraint in not having Wolverine pop up constantly (though I wonder what Jay’s facial expressions were whenever he would mention that).

    One thing that stuck out to me was the line about having to be vigilant about not having Bobby in his underwear too much. I don’t know if “double standard” is the right term (though it might be cause I can see a lot of straight, cis fanboys freaking out on it if he did so), but I kept thinking about how often that concern crosses straight cis writers/artists’ minds with female characters (answer: not often enough). It definitely struck me as a gay man who also finds himself more policing of his sexual references/public affection/etc..

    P.S. Cargo shorts. Cargo shorts forever. (and also, as an unfashionable gay, REALLY hoping that we don’t see Bobby less in cargo shorts now that he’s out).

    1. Shrug, my husband and I both wear cargo shorts. Often. I had no idea that was a fashion faux pas…

      But yeah… excellent point about the double standard, however I’ve always thought Spider-Man being drawn with infinite up-crotch shot angles has helped balance things out; and then oh look Mary Jane is in lingerie yet again, for… reasons… shrug Still, good point! And I have no problem with (adult) Bobby being in his undies as often as possible.

  5. Sina Grace sounds waaaay to similar to Siena Blaze….are we sure she isn’t also an Upstart?

    I don’t know how to feel about Iceman nowadays. While never really my favorite character, I did enjoy his friendship with Hank( well, before Hank became such a boring self-absorbed character himself, but that’s another issue). Having a hopeless goof “nice guy” on the team is a breath of fresh air compared to the hyper-masculine super gruffness types that dominate most page time.

    However the pink-washing of the character feels so unneeded. He’s always been apprehensive about his power, and his standing with the rest of the team. Did he really need another thing to be repressing? And there are such a thing as straight men who are unlucky/horrible with relationships, throwing the “well, he has trouble with relationships, he must be gay” excuse at them is not at all helpful. When I heard the “update” to Iceman, all I could do is roll my eyes. Of Course he’s gay, that’s the only possible reason for his insecurity! *sigh*

    Changing long-established characters to meet some notion of “diversity” has been shown more and more to be very iffy. Look at how they replaced characters with female versions like Iron Man and Thor, or different ethnicity like The Human Torch. They may be trying to reach out to new viewers and have a broader base. While they may find some newer viewers, but they risk alienating others that identified with the characters before and now find themselves unable to do so.

    1. “While they may find some newer viewers, but they risk alienating others that identified with the characters before and now find themselves unable to do so.”

      I had a conversation with a straight friend who’s favorite character was Iceman shortly after the news hit. He was upset for a similar reason. My response to him is roughly what I’ll be saying here: if it’s hard for you to identify with someone of a different sexual orientation, think of what queer fans go through daily.

      Straight men have literally hundreds of characters to choose from and for decades had all the main characters (moreso goes for cis, white dudes). Queer fans either have to
      A) latch onto the few characters we slowly get
      B) read subtext and create headcanon to queer a character (something J&M talk about a lot on the podcast and quite well)
      C) identify with characters of different identities, which is the great difficulty for you.

      We usually do all three. But it’s reasonable to want more of A. And we can’t do B without a straight person trying to stop us. So, therefore, we ask you to put yourselves in our shoes a bit and do C.

      You have tons of male characters who are bad at relationships and attracted to women: Peter Parker is that character par excellence. Honestly, the X-Men are full of dudes who can’t figure out how to handle their lady problems (Cyclops, Beast, Wolverine, etc.). Why do you feel the need to have straight people have the monopoly?

      P.S. A lot of these same arguments apply to POC, women, and trans/genderqueer characters/fans (who REALLY need to start being included the same way we’re getting baby steps to other groups)

      P.P.S. Magneto’s tragic WWII backstory is a product of a similar “diversity push” (albeit with more Jewish representation rather than queer or POC rep). I don’t know about you, but I think that fleshed out his character quite nicely.

      1. Really, Most People Who Are A Fan Of Bobby Wouldn’t Really Like This. And The Theories And Execution Were Not Only Poorly Forced, But Also Offensive As Well. Really, Confusing Real Life Problems With Homosexuality In Concerns For Bobby Is Just Incredibly Ridiculous. And How It’s Been Really Done To Him Was Just Poor. The Difference Between Bobby And Magneto Was That It Was A Story That Actually Dwelled In Deeper Into His Character And Didn’t Really Hurt Him And Made His Motivation More Sympathetic And Relatable And Actually Matches The Theme Of The X-Men. With Bobby, It Was Just Poorly Forced With No Reason To Make His Character Into This. There Was Actually No Buildup, Hints, Nor Even Any Foreshadow Into His Character. It Was Just Incredibly Forced. Plain And Simple.

    2. “He’s always been apprehensive about his power, and his standing with the rest of the team. Did he really need another thing to be repressing? And there are such a thing as straight men who are unlucky/horrible with relationships, throwing the “well, he has trouble with relationships, he must be gay” excuse at them is not at all helpful.”

      That last is not an excuse. It’s something that actually can explain Bobby’s pattern of relationships. It’s not the only explanation, of course, but it’s a valid explanation.

      As for repression, that’s at least a secondary mutation. One might even argue it’s actually his primary mutation. That is something that Bobby has had to deal with from the moment of his birth, with a family that was repressive and a community that was ready to murder him at one point. Him being in a closet in this context is actually perfectly explainable.

      1. Not Really. There Were Actually No Other Hints Towards His Homosexuality. Most Of The Time People Bring Up His Relationships Which Is An Incredibly Poor Reason Since A) Most Of Them Had To Do With Bobby’s Recklessness And Immaturity. B) Most Of The Problems Rely On The Girls And Women’s Actions. C) He Was Actually Mistreated Because Of His Time Of Being A Mutant. And D) Most People Have Had A Number Of Bad Relationships. It Doesn’t Really Make anyone Gay. Those Reasons Relating To Bobby’s Sexuality Were Just Poor And Actually Really Seem To Be Unaware With How The Human Psychology Even Works .

        1. Okay, I’m going to try to parse this, though the all-caps things makes it hard.

          Anyway…here’s the thing. Sometimes relationships don’t work because both parties are straight and it doesn’t work out. Cool. And sometimes it’s cause one or both parties are lying to themselves. It’s not all one or all the other. But, so far in comics, it’s been 99% one side with occasional Midnighter and North Star stories.

          Are we saying everyone with a failed relationship is gay? No. But some are. And, for making a long-time character gay, those relationships made Iceman an easier choice than characters who HAVE been defined by long-term relationships (Cyclops, Spider-Man, etc.).

          But here’s the rub, dude: THOSE CHARACTERS CAN STILL BE BI OR PAN. OR EVEN GAY. Here’s how human psychology works:

          Gay men can do ANY of the following and indeed have:

          1. Say they’re straight
          2. Think they’re straight
          3. Date women
          4. Have sex with women
          5. Have relationships with women
          6. Tell women they love them
          7. Marry women
          8. Procreate with women

          And then they figure stuff out. The human mind is a fun and weird and complex thing and heteronormative society makes it all the more tangled up when it comes to figuring stuff out.

          There weren’t enough hints? Sorry, but sexuality isn’t a year at Hogwarts. Identity doesn’t need Chekov’s guns. Sometimes there are hints and sometimes a totally masculine guy with a wife of 15 years and three kids comes out as gay. And the failed relationships do retroactively work as hints.

          Also, everyone annoyed about this retcon should direct their attention to the fact that they buy into a medium filled with retcons that are infinitely less believable but more widely praised (Hal Jordan possessed, DD is catholic AF and had a tragic love story, etc.)

          Ultimately, the problem with these “There weren’t enough clues!” responses and denial that Bobby could be gay is that it both replicates and reinforces ACTUAL gaslighting and emotional violence done to queer people (particularly those who come out after 20) every day. When someone comes out later, they are often sadly met by responses like this, interrogating their identity, questioning its validity, weaponizing prior relationships as “proof” that the person is just confused. It’s awful. It’s disgusting. And needing to prove over and over again that Bobby COULD be gay is another way of straight people telling queer people that they don’t have a right to their identity.

          1. Literally this. The “clues” argument is bullshit. There is no objective, one size fits all way of coming out. That means that there aren’t always going to be consistent “clues” because EVERYONE struggles differently. Everyone DEVELOPS their identity differently. Telling people that such an experience isn’t valid just because there aren’t enough clues to “prove” it pretty much invalidates the experience of coming out later in life as a concept. It doesn’t require a set amount of “clues” BECAUSE it is a real, legitimate experience and it shouldn’t need further justification beyond that. Just because it’s not what you originally read on to the character, doesn’t make it wrong as a narrative. Concepts previously set can and have had different developments that weren’t originally intended and can still work as consistent stories.

            Also, it’s baffling that people whine about “clues” as a basis for narrative justification when they let other stories have a pass when said stories are convenient to their tastes. There were no “clues” that Emma Frost was a runaway and that her parents were actually drug addicts. There were no clues that Wooverine’s claws were a part of his skeleton (they originally weren’t). There were no clues that the Phoenix had cloned itself and that Jean Grey was hidden under Jamaica Bay. There were no clues that Cyclops’ parents were actually alive and abducted by aliens. There were no clues that Magneto was actually a holocaust survivor. I could go on and on. Yet mos toeiple vuew these stories as legitimate even though they weren’t originally intended and haracters weren’t read with these developments in mind. Why is the possibility of a character not being heterosexual so difficult of a narrative to accept when one or the above aren’t?

            1. The Difference Being Is That In A Work Of Fiction You Have To Develop Something Like This, Mostly For Characters You’ve Always Felt Or Suspected Were That Kind Of Character. With Real Life It’s Pretty Much Different Since You Can’t Tell If The Person Is Either Gay Or Bi. But Sometimes You Do If You’re Capable Of Telling. The Difference Between Magneto And Scott’s Histories Are That They Are Just A Small Change And Addition To Their History That Didn’t Even Needed To Be Addressed Or Even Effected That Much. Magneto Endured Hatred Before. That’s Fine. It Actually Makes The Character Alot More Sympathetic And Ties Into The Theme Of His Character And Even The X-Men Mythos And Scott Has Had A Tough Time In His Childhood. His Father Being A Space Captain/Warrior Is Much Of A Surprise And Didn’t Really Need Any Build Up. Those Don’t Really Need To Be Clues. Same With Emma’s Homelife And Jean’s Clone Was Just A Change In Writing. There Was Always Gonna Be A Twist There For Something Like That. It Actually Happens All The Time In Fiction.Same With Wolverine’s Claws And Skeleton. There Were A Part Of Him Since The Early Days And Had To Be Explored Since. With Bobby It’s Actually Pretty Much Different With The Character Having 50 Years Of His Appearance And Has A Number Of Bad Relationships Mostly Due To The Women Themselves. It’s Actually Rather Just Forceful, Poor, And Ridiculous. It’s Not Really Such A Minor Change Or Development. It’s Really Just Really Terrible Writing And A Really Bad Message In Writing.

              1. Dude, do you even listen to this podcast? Magneto was a mustache twirling supervillain before 150. There was nothing to hint at his story. Multiple Claremont issues hinge on the fact that mutant power canceling things don’t affect Wolvie’s claws.

                And if you’re trying to say that the Phoenix retcon is more founded on continuity and cold hard realism and logic than this….wow. I mean, it’s a deft retcon but it’s also a great example of how ridic one can be.

                But cool – you want 50 years of continuity to be inviolable? Please write a 30,000 word essay on how Peter Parker intersected with pop culture for 50 years and did not age and how the FF wanted to beat the reds to space and essentially what the implications are of taking everything printed as fixed and how that works with a sliding timeline.

                1. Magneto Needed To Be Revamped To Make Him An Incredibly Interesting Villain Since Claremont Took Over And Made The Entire X-Men Mythos Into A Theme Of Prejudice Reflecting On What Prejudicism And Hatred Are Like. Magneto Was The Perfect Candidate To Become A More Malcom X Inspired Anti Hero.

                  For The Jean Grey Phoenix Clone, It Was A Problematic Retcon In Which Were Caused By Editorial which Happens To Most Things IE: Peter’s Real Parents Being Robotic Cyborgs Created By Harry Osborn.

                  Also, Peter Parker HAS Aged. He Was 15 When He Was Bitten By The Radioactive Spider And Then Went Through Alot Of Stuff In College And Is Now In His 30s Formerly Married And Has A Kid In Another Universe. If You’re Talking About His Behaviour, Well The Character’s Purpose Was That He Was More Human And Was More Flawed. And Despite His Flaws He Still Acted And Did Some Decisions Like An Adult. It Was Editorial And The Other Staff That Wanted To Make Peter Parker Into This Immature Loser Since OMD In Order To Make Him Feel “Younger”. Basically, It Was All BS Editorial Interference And One Misunderstanding And Missing The Point Of Peter As A Character.

                  I Don’t Read Much Fantastic Four, But I Don’t See How Reds Have To Do With Anything.

                  Anyway, Those Types Of Changes Don’t Actually Support Iceman’s Recent Change. Like At All.

                  1. Cherry picking. I could say the same thing a outfit about Bobby that you said about Magneto. Bobby was the perfect character to come out later in life due to his themes of repression and never having an epic romance. And yes those types of changes due support the idea of Bobby being gay because they have the main points you use to argue against Bobby being gay; lack of “clues” and no build up or pretext.

                    1. Not Really. Those Don’t Really Support His Possible Sexual Orientation. Those Are Just Things People Have Gone Through. That Type Of Change Bobby Went Through Aren’t The Same As Magneto Nor Wolverine.

                    2. So struggling with your sexuality is not something that “people go through”? Wolverine’s bone claws are a thing people “go through”? Get real. Based off your “lack of hints or build up” argument, these comparisons are valid. But now your changing your argument to what “people go through?” A significantly worse argument because in saying so you’re denying that struggling with your sexuality is a thing “people go through.”

                    3. That’s Really Not It. Wolverine’s Blone Claws Aren’t The Same As Bobby’s Recent Change. With A Change Like That You Should At Least Try To Build It Up Or Drop Some Hints And Foreshadows. But They Actually Didn’t. The Lack Of Build Up Is Honestly Just Really Inexcusable When Trying To Pull Something Like This To The Character. It’s Honestly Just Poor And Really Forceful Writing.

              2. Oh buddy, please stop moving the goal posts. First it was about “clues” and now it’s about what you personally think fits a character? Get off your high horse. Bobby being gay is no where NEAR as big of a change as Scott’s parents being kidnapped by aliens. We got the entire Vulcan storyline because of that. All your doing is cherry picking, everything that you mentioned in regards to “changes that fit the character” or “it’s fiction” are reasons that can also be used for Bobby being gay. None of the retcons I mentioned were built up but they still happened and were just as out of left field and “forceful.” But to you they aren’t because they fit YOUR idea of what makes a good story. To us, a character coming out as gay with all of Bobby’s history is a more valid and authentic narrative than the above and nothing you say can change that, because apparently genocide chicken clones for the sake of selling a new team book is less forceful and more built up than the idea of someone being something other than heterosexual. And why the hell do you keep bringing up relationships in regards to Bobby being gay? Devin and I went over multiple times why that’s something that CAN be applied to people coming out later in life or “poor” straight people who have bad luck with women. And again there is no objective way for someone to come out and like Devin said, no one size fits all “clue” yet you gloss over that point and try to make an argument out of false equivalences and cherry picked ideas of what makes a good character arc, all entirely subjective and based off your own frame of reference. You don’t get to decide how people come out. People here are literally telling you that they relate to Bobby’s coming out and it feels like their own experience. You don’t get to tell them their feelings and experiences are wrong and your ideas are The One True Way To Tell A Story. You’re being a jackass. Ask yourself why the idea of a character being gay makes less sense than a retconned clone girlfriend or a retconned genocide chicken or completely retconned superpowers and if you can make up excuses and reasons for those stories, I guarantee you the same reasoning can be used for a character being gay. Also, gay people exist so the idea of that existing objectively makes more sense than a genocide chicken clone in any ground based off of realism alone, regardless of the context because one is a real experience whilst the other isn’t. If that’s too hard to wrap your head around then you are beyond help.

                1. The Storyline Between Scott’s Parents Was Actually Just A Minor Retcon Compared To Bobby’s. So Scott’s Father Was Abducted By Aliens And Become A Galactic Leader And Rebel Of An Imperial Force After A Plane Crash. Things Like That, Magneto’s Time At The Holocaust, Phoenix Clone, And Wolverine’s Past Didn’t Need To Be Builded Up Because Their History And Characters Were Either Made To Be Organic And Relatable And Are Pretty Much Too Minor In Fiction And Others Like The Phoenix Clone Were Made Due To Editorial. Bobby’s Change Is A Different Story. Nothing Was Even Builded Up, Hinted, Nor Even Really Foreshadowed In The Same Run Nor Issue He Was Outed. And The Runs Before Bendis Were Pretty Much Just Misunderstandings Of His Insecurity And Hard Life In Which Many People Have Gone Through. I Bring Up Bobby’s Relationships Because Those Kinds Of Relationships And Things That Have Happened To Him Doesn’t Even Really Make Him Gay Nor Support Anything Of That. He Was Just Reckless, Immature, And Most Of Those Things Were Actually The Fault Of His Girls And Women. They’ve Mostly Done Things On Their Own Not Relating To Bobby. Those Reasons For Him Being That Are Pretty Much Just Poor And Changing An Established Character Like Bobby especially With How It Was Handled Was Just Poor. It’d Actually Be Really Horrible If The Same Thing Could Happen To Characters Like Steve Rogers, Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, Peter Parker, Matthew Murdock, Hank Pym, Danny Rand, Luke Cage, James Rhodes, Sam Wilson, Scott Summers, Misty Knight, Nick Fury(Old And New), Hank McCoy, Pietro Maximoff, Johnny Storm, Charles Xavier, Ben Grimm, Jessica Jones, Doctor Strange, And A Couple More Others. It Was Just A Really Poor And Real Forced Change Towards A Character With No Build Up, Hints, Nor Anything To Support This In The Same Run And Issue He Was Outed. Look, I’m Honestly Not Upset If Bobby Has A Sexual Orientation. The Problem Was How It Was Done And How The Writers, Editors, And People Are Suppose To Make Us Believe That Bobby Has Always Been That Way And The Reasons Behind Them Don’t Actually Really Support The Idea Of Him Being Gay.

                  1. No, the storyline of Scott’s parents was NOT minor compared to Bobby’s. Sexual orientation does not change what makes the character who he is. Bobby is literally the same character, just attracted to different people. You literally think that’s a bigger change than finding out that your parents are alive despite explicitaly being shown dying in a plan crash? Being an orphan DEFINED Scott’s childhood, and finding out his dad was alive was a big deal for the character and paved the way for massive plots involving the shi’ar and his third brother. How the heck is a character coming out later in life a bigger change than that? How is Magneto being a holocaust survivor a MINOR change?! He went from being a Saturday morning cartoon villain to a super sympathetic antihero, he COMPLETELY changed and none of the was EVER intended by his original creator, nor was it built up in Claremont’s run. Most of the X-Men have gone through MUCH bigger changes than Bobby, and those changes don’t emulate reality like a character struggling with their sexuality does. Needless to say, the “minor changes” argument is absolutely fruitless when you consider how much other X characters have been changed and altered in comparison to Iceman, who is literally the same guy, just attracted to different people. This is why your whole argument of foreshadowing doesn’t work because that rule has been broken countless times before for even bigger character changes yet no one bats an eye because those stories are convenient to their ideas of what’s a good story or character development. For the millionth time, there is no criterion that makes a single person gay. Anyone with Bobby’s characteristics and history can come out or struggle with their sexuality and you have multiple people in this very section telling you that they did. Their experiences are more valid than your ideas. The idea that Bobby can’t be gay because _____ will never hold water because anyone can struggle with their sexuality regardless of their past or background. None of the qualities you listed are exclusive to heterosexuals. Not that this matters but multiple writers have said that they wrote Bobby as closeted or queer. Liu and Carey for example. And yur list of characters means nothing because Bobby isn’t the same as them. It’s like comparing Northstar and Shatterstar, they aren’t the same characters with the same history but both are gay. And there doesn’t need to be a reason for Bobby to be gay because the concept of being gay doesn’t need further justification beyond “it’s a real thing people go through.” Seriously dude, in getting tired. Bobby’s retcon fits the narrative context it exists in and no amount of cherry picking will change that. If sentient pies can exist then so can this narrative. And you don’t like the way it was handelled? It’s still going even now, this narrative doesn’t just end in ANXM #40, it’s an ongoing story, that issue doesn’t define every aspect of the narrative.

                    1. No, With Cyclops Parents, They Were Minor. It Didn’t Even Really Change Cyclops As A Charactert Nor His Ideology. It Just Revealed To Him A Big Surprise. And No. Things Like Magneto Being A Holocaust Survivor And A Mutant Revolutionst Were Actually IMPROVEMENTS To The Character Fitting The Theme Of His Character And The X-Men Mythos. The Thing Is That Claremont Actually Tried To Improve On The X-Men Series And Mythos Giving It Its Own Identity Compared To The Other Series Making The 60s Versions Feel And Become Somewhat Forgettable.Most Of The Changes Claremont Made Were Just Improvements Towards The Characters Fitting Into The Themes Of The Mythos. With Changes Like Bobby’s, It’s Not Really An Improvement, But Actually Just Really Poor And Forceful Writing With Any Build Up, Hints, Nor Foreshadows Nor Any Other Effort Put Into This.

                    2. (We’re at the maximum comment thread depth, so instead of replying below, I’ll quote and reply here:)

                      Raul Gomez said: “With Changes Like Bobby’s, It’s Not Really An Improvement”

                      In my opinion, since he came out as gay, Bobby Drake is the most interesting he’s ever been – so I’d say this is absolutely an improvement. And – given that the comics industry really needs more diversity in its headlining characters, it’s an improvement on that level too. Iceman hasn’t been damaged as a character- he’s still Iceman, just with another facet to his personality that a) opens a lot of storytelling possibilities, and b) adds some much-needed representation to the X-universe.

                      I’m sorry this is a change you don’t like, Raul, but it’s both effective and important to a whole lot of folks, myself included. You’re welcome to disagree, but at this point, you’re repeating yourself. You can have your opinion, but please accept that other people are also going to have their own.

                    3. The Thing Is That Things Like Foreshadows, Hints, And Any Sort Of Build Up Can Still Be Used Most Of The Time. But The Thing With Changing An Established Character Like Bobby Needs Which Bendis Barely Did Compared To The Other X-Men He Did.I Mean, Neither The Younger Nor The Older Versions Of The Character Had That Much Development Especially In The Battle Of The Atom Story Arc Which They Met An Older Version Of Themselves. Give Creators Like Mike Carey, Scott Lobdell, And Marjorie Liu Some Credit, At Least They TRIED To Build The Character Of Bobby Drake Up With Actual Effort Especially With Carey Who Actually Understood Bobby Drake Alot More Than What Others Like Bendis Have Actually Done For The Character.

                    4. The Thing Most People Never Really Get About Bobby Drake As A Character Is That Most Of These Contexts And “Hints” People Gave To The Character Were All Just Misunderstandings Of What An Actual Person Would Go Through In Life When Dealing With Some Bad Relationships And Abandonment From Loved Ones. It’s What Bobby Has Always Endured. Not Because Of His Sexual Orientation, But Because Of His Actual Struggles As A Character Which Mostly Weren’t Really His Fault. The Thing Is Is That This Change To The Character Was Just Really Poor And Really Forced Writing That We Are Expected To Believe That A Character With No History Of Being In The Closet Is Somehow Gay Just Because. Look, I Wouldn’t Really Mind Bobby Having A Sexual Orientation, But Giving Him Just Being A Gay Character Than Just Being Either Straight Or Bi Is Just Really Poor And Forceful Writing Without Any Effort Put Into This.

          2. So, For A Character Who Has Had A Failed Relationship Multiple Times, You Have To Make Them Gay?……You See Where That Kind Of Logic Is Devoidable. So, If A Character For 50 Years Turns Out To Be Gay, Then That’s Not Bad Or Even Forceful Writing?….Sorry Man, But It’s Actually A Really Poor And Really Terrible Excuse Making The Writing Both Offensive, Forceful, And Even Probably Lazy. So, If A Character Who Has Had No History Of Being A Homosexual Without Having Any Clues, Hints, Build Ups, Or Anything Like That Like Say Peter Parker, Scott Summers, Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, Matthew Murdock, Hank McCoy, Johnny Storm, Danny Rand, Luke Cage, Steve Rogers, Etc. Then That’s Fine? Yeah, No. It’s Really Just Bad And Forceful Writing Which Doesn’t Really Fit The Characters At All And Also Drastically Changes Them. It’s Really Bad And Just Sends An Incredibly Bad Message. 50 Years Of History For This Character And You Expect Us To Believe That He’s Always Been Gay? Just Like That? It’s Just Really Poor And Incredibly Shoddy and Forceful Writing. While I Actually Really Do Understand How The Queer Community Feel And Experienced, This Type Of Work Is Just Incredibly Shoddy And Pretty Much Just Sends A Really Bad Message In Writing When Not Putting Ay Actual Effort Into Them.

            1. If it sends a bad message then why are countless gay people here saying it means a lot to them? Do you speak for them too?

              1. They Misunderstood The Context Nor Care If The Character Turned Out Gay For Them Which Is Pretty Much Terrible If It Happened For Any Other Characters I’ve Actually Just Mentioned.

                1. You’re telling gay people that they misunderstood a story that speaks to them and to their experiences? Who the hell are you to tell people what they are allowed to relate to? And no it wouldn’t be the same as any other character BECAUSE THEY ARE DIFFERENT CHARACTERS. Did Bobby Drake have a Mary Jane? Did Peter Parker have a father that told him there was only one way to be a man? NO. You are reaching.

                  1. You Kinda Make It Seem Like It Would Be Alright For Any Other Characters Which It Honestly Wouldn’t. I Honestly Don’t Mean To Put Down People’s Lives Of Their Experiences In The Clkoset. But Those Things That Bobby Endured Don’t Seem To Be Relating To His Life As A Closeted Person. But More Of A Character Dealing With His Hard Times In Life. And Most Fathers And Guardians Told Their Sons To Toughen Up Where It Doesn’t Relate To Their Sexual Orientation. It Means You Have To Be Strong Willed And Make The Tough Decisions And Be More Of A Man Which Bobby Tried To. And Despite His Father Being Good To His Son, His Father Honestly Doesn’t Like Anyone. Asian, Blacks, And Mutants especially Which Bobby Is. It’s How He Treated Opal And Rogue. He Also Had A Tough Time With Bobby Eversince He Grew Older And Became Closer To The Mutants. The Guy Is Honestly Not Much Of A Decent Person To Begin With.And As For Bobby’s Mary Jane, He Had Both Lorna And Opal, Yet They Abandoned Him Not Only For His Recklessness, But For Their Own Decisions And Behaviours Which Also Applied To Mystique And Kitty In Which She Left Him And The Other X-Men For Her Similar Views As Scott’s. These Are Nothing Related To His Sexual Orientation. It’s Like Saying An Apple Is Blue When Really It’s Red And Green.

                    1. Okay. This is the last time that I’m going to respond to you because like Miles said, you keep spewing the same circular arguments again and again. You are misrepresenting what I said. I did not say it would be okay for any character to be gay. Comparing other characters’ history to Bobby’s and acting as if making them gay would present the same narrative as Bobby’s is false. This is why i brought up Shatterstar and Northstar. But you know what? I’m going to go by your claim. I think it is absolutely okay to make ANY character gay because ANYONE can struggle with their sexuality regardless of their history or background and retconning that in will always
                      oresent a valid narrative, whether you like it or not. And you ARE putting down people’s experiences in the closet because you are basically saying that just because someone was reckless or immature in their past relationships, they cannot struggle with their sexuality. NEWSFLASH those experiences aren’t mutually exclusive. I, like Bobby dated many women and chased after many women. I was immature and reckless and it never worked out at the end. Guess what? I also came out as gay years later, but back then? I pretty comfortably identified as straight. When you live in a world that where that is treated as the only option, many people struggle DIFFERENTLY. That is the point, and you obviously have no clue what that experience is like so you have no right in telling us whether a story depicting such is valid or not. Gay people can and have been through everything that Bobby has been through. Nothing that he’s been through, nothing that defines whom he is are traits that are exclusive to heteros. You’re problem is: you treat the gay experience as the “other” so you can’t fathom why a character like Bobby could be gay, yet every other retcon to you is something that “fits” the X-Men Mythos. The X-men mythos have been used as metaphors for LGBT struggles for YEARS, both in the comics and in the films, Bobby being gay is more “X-Men” then him being average straight Joe #10,234 and multiple writers like Stan Lee and Claremont have given their blessing to this story.

            2. Johnny Storm? You actually cite Johnny Storm as evidence of “no hints at someone being anything other than straight”?

              Boy, does Daken have a surprise for you buddy boy (and probably Peter Parker too).

              1. No, Daken Was Just A Context And Subtext. Daken Is Known To Seduce People With His Pheremone Powers. Also, There’s Actually No Telling What Daken Did To Him There. And With Peter, He Just Found Johnny Naked There And Was Freaked Out. Nothing Supports Johnny Nor Peter For Being That Way.

                1. There most definitely is a way to find out what happened and someone did, they asked the writer thir authorial intent, so Marjorie Liu, who wrote that scene, hen asked outright if she meant to indicate Daken and Johnny has a sexual relationship (and that Johnny was thus bi/pan sexual) her reply on Twitter was;

                  “Listen, they better have been, given all the hard work we put into creating sexual tension between their characters”

                  Never mind his mentioned relationship with a member of a species which is so non-binary that they have 18 different genders.

                  1. Johnny Has Always Been Straight. Despite The Aliens He’s Been With, They’ve Always Been More Female To Him. This Was Honestly Just Marjorie Liu Taking Things Too Far Into Making Johnny Bi Or Pan For No Reason. She Almost Did The Same Thing With Both Jubilee And X-23. Laura I Understand, But Jubilee. She Just Seemed To Keep Pushing Things. She Also Mentioned That Iron Fist Would’ve Been Better Asian. Marjorie Liu Is A Great Writer, But The Woman Seems To Be A SJW To Me. Though, She Better Be Joking About The Whole Johnny Storm Incident.

    3. I want to second everything Devin said. I also want to add that, like Jay and Miles pointed out in ep. 58, and like Elle Collins pointed out in ep. 54, there’s been subtext suggesting Bobby might not be 100% straight for decades.

      As queer readers, we’re conditioned to latch onto subtext like it’s a life preserver (option B). As Devin said, there have been so few explicitly LGBT characters in the past 1000+ history of Western fiction, and way too many of those characters ended up either evil, dead, or both. So a little subtext goes a long way for us: “Ah! Here’s a character who might be like me, and maybe this time s/he/they won’t die!”

      When I heard that Bobby was canonically gay, my first reaction wasn’t surprise. It was, and I quote, “well, obviously.” I’d seen the Singer movies. I’d seen queer fans share panels of Iceman’s most subtext-heavy moments. I can understand why straight readers wouldn’t have read Iceman the same way I did, but to call his coming out “pink-washing” just doesn’t make sense to me. For me, the evidence was there all along: all Bendis did was make the subtext text.

      I’m not sure how long you’ve been with us, but I’d highly recommend Jay’s essay “On Coming Out, Queer Identity, and Continuity” (https://xplainthexmen.com/2015/04/on-coming-out-queer-identity-and-continuity-in-all-new-x-men-40/#more-3503) I want to share a sentence they wrote and what it meant to me personally:

      “AND WHEN YOU HAVE BEEN RAISED IN A CULTURE THAT ASSUMES YOU WILL BE STRAIGHT [emphasis added], and that often shows you only straight futures, coming to terms with being queer often happens by way of a series of incremental realizations. Of denials. Of bargains.”

      Their point was that Iceman’s coming out story read true for a lot of queer readers because his situation mirrors our own experiences—mine included. A lot of us live with denial for a long time because we cannot come to terms with the idea that we will never be the people our parents expect us to be (see: Eric Himan’s “The Man You Had in Mind”). And for some of us—again, myself included—we go through a grieving process of sorts where we give up our dreams of being straight.

      That’s what I’m curious to see in Sina’s run on Iceman. I don’t know if he’ll go there—he may go in an entirely different direction—but I want to see more stories about characters coming out as an adult. Like Jay, Miles, and Sina all said on the podcast: this is an experience that many, many, many LGBT folks live through every day, and it’s something we almost NEVER get to see in fiction.

      And more to the point: that’s a story that NEEDS a well-established character to be told with any degree of effectiveness. If, say, The Avengers introduced a new character in his early 30s and gave him a three-issue coming out arc, well, who would care? I wouldn’t. I don’t KNOW this person. I don’t CARE about him yet. There’s no way his story would have as much of an impact as, say, a friend whom you’ve known and loved for most of your live and whom you never suspected was harboring this deep, painful secret for years.

      If you can’t do what Devin suggested and try to identify with a character of a different orientation, maybe just try to imagine Bobby as an old friend who dropped a bombshell. I can guarantee you that a lot of straight friends have had this exact experience IRL. Who knows? You may be one of them someday.

      1. “And more to the point: that’s a story that NEEDS a well-established character to be told with any degree of effectiveness. If, say, The Avengers introduced a new character in his early 30s and gave him a three-issue coming out arc, well, who would care? I wouldn’t. I don’t KNOW this person. I don’t CARE about him yet. There’s no way his story would have as much of an impact as, say, a friend whom you’ve known and loved for most of your live and whom you never suspected was harboring this deep, painful secret for years.”

        Repeated for emphasis. Yes. YES. This.

      2. The Thing About That Scene Was How It Was Done. No Buildup, Hints, Nor Any Foreshadows. He Was Just Gay Just Because. It Was Just A Poorly Made And Incredibly Forced Scene And Development. Of All The Characters That Had Development And Character Study In All New X-Men, Bobby Has Gotten The Least Amount. Especially With The Arc Involving The Future X-Men With The Ice Wizard. While Most Of The Other X-Men Got Development, Bobby Has Gotten Nothing And Of All The Developments He Could’ve Had, He Just Got…..This One……At The Final Issue Of All New X-Men. It Didn’t Even Happen To The Adult Bobby Drake As Well. All The “Hints” He Had Over The Years Were Honestly Just Misunderstandings Of How Straight People Have Endured And How These Relationships Not Only Had To Do With His Recklessness And Immaturity, But Mostly Due To The Actions Made From His Girls And Women And Him Being A Mutant. While I Understand How People Went Through Their Lives Hiding In The Closet, You Honestly Have To Admit That This Was Just Incredibly Poor And Really Forceful Writing.

        1. Was it poorly handled? Yes, it was not a great scene IMHO and raised some issues with boundaries and telepathic ethics that were never really addressed AFAIK.

          Do I actually care? Not so much. That scene was a stepping stone to take the character to somewhere new in their development, and that, to me, is where the new series should add an interesting new side to Iceman, but as Sina said, that won’t be all it’s about.

          There was no obvious foreshadowing, but given the character and history of Bobby Drake, the amount if retconning it actually requires is minimal.

          As this podcast has shown even just recently with Opal, Bobby’s track record with women has, albeit unintentionally, a lot in common with someone in deep denial about their nature of their orientation. Such a retcon is never going to be perfect, but this was a minor change compared to many others we’ve seen in the X-Men.

          1. It Wasn’t Really Even Minor. This Was Just A Change For Such The Most Ridiculous Kind Of Reason To Ever Been Stated. So His Failed Relationships And His Issues With Opal Makes Him Gay? Last Time I Checked A Couple Of Times It Was His Immaturity And Recklessness And The Actions Of His Girls And Women For Many Different Reasons That Doesn’t Concern Bobby As A Person But Rather Either As A Mutant Or By Their Own Things. People Have Had Many Bad Relationships. These Reasons For Why And How Bobby Is And Has Always Been Gay Is Pretty Much Just Poor And Ridiculous.

            1. The only thing that makes him being gay is him being human. That’s all it takes. You don’t have to go through a specific set of criteria to be gay. He can be immature and reckless and gay. He can be in love with women at one point and come out as gay later. Real people go through that but I guess that’s not enough for you?

              1. Real People Go Through That, Yes. But With Bobby, There Weren’t Enough Hints, Build Ups, Nor Anything That Made Him Gay. He Just Had Basic Human Emotions Like Anyone Would. Those Things Didn’t Really Make The Guy Gay.

                1. So gay people don’t experience those basic human emotions? Only straight people do? Gay people don’t experience repression or failed relationships? And stop with the “hints” argument, multiple had refuted that and you have yet to respond to said rebuttals.

                  1. People Have Had Those Experiences. I’m Saying That Those Kinds Of Experiences That Bobby Went Through Don’t Actually Really Make The Guy Gay At All. It’s Just Some Ridiculous Statemebnts. And Yes, There Should’ve Been Hints And Build Ups Before He Was Outed In The Exact Same Run.

                    1. Gay people have had those experiences (Repression, failed relationships), but they can’t be used for the idea of Bobby being gay? So basically, yes gay people can have those experiences and come out as gay but Bobby can’t because no hints? So gay people need to prove their gayness? In your heterosexual opinion, what “proves” that someone is struggling with their sexuality beyond obvious repression and failed romantic relationships?

                  2. In Terms Of Stories With Building Up And Established Character, Yes. You Really Need To Showcase How Bobby Is Gay By His Behaviours And Awkwardness Especially During Bendis’ Entire Run On Both X-Men Books. I’m Sure Gays Have Had Many Failed Relationships. But Failed Relationships Don’t Fully Make Anyone Gay. Many People Have Had That And They Don’t Consider Themselves As Queer especially Later In Life.

                    1. You DO realise how arrogant and presumptive you make yourself appear to be when you write things like that, don’t you?

                      YOU do not get to define the gay experience, or the age at which it is apporpriate to come out as gay.

                      If it doesn’t satisfy your personal standards, guess what? It’s not about you, or your expectations.

      3. The one “clue” I don’t like is the interior decorating line from Emma Frost. I just can’t see her as the type to throw around stereotypes like that. She’s the most sexually liberated Marvel character there is. But all the others, yeah cool. You can do it with a lot of characters but it absolutely works here.

        I’ve given it a bit of thought, and I’ve decided, as a heterosexual man, that making the character gay has changed my opinion of the character not at all. He’s exactly as cool and interesting to me as he was before. It works for him in a way it might not for other characters. I’m more bothered by Angel’s fire wings, frankly.

        1. The “Interior Decorating” Bit Was Actually Just A Joke Made By Frost Considering How Bobby Made The Entire Room Into Ice For His Comfort Zone Since He’s A Character Whose Powers Are Making Ice And Has Always Turned Himself Into An Humanoid Ice Guy.

        2. Re: Interior decorating – this is exactly why I have strong feelings about the idea that artists continue to put Iceman in cargo shorts.

          1. The Interior Decorating Was Just Some Bit. Many People Decorate Their Rooms To Look Good Or Feel More Comfortable. Iceman In Shorts Was Just Part Of His Design.

            1. Oh come one now, you’re REALLY reaching with that one.

              “Interior decoratot” has been used a gay male stereotype for so long it’s practically a trope on a par with liking Judy Garland. It MIGHT be possible for the implication to not be there, but it would be unreasonable to take it for granted.

              1. Bobby Drake Covered His Room With Ice To Feel More Comfortable And Concentrated. Most People Have Done That. Emma Made A Joke About That. It Doesn’t Really Indicate That He’s Gay Or Anything Like That.

    4. 1) I balk at the implicit analogy to whitewashing. Changing a character previously associated with a marginalized group to make them instead reflect the mainstream / demographics in power does not have the same implications or context as the reverse, by a long shot.
      2) Plenty of people come out–and figure out that they’re gay–later in life. What you’re decrying as unbelievable is in fact a lot of people’s life experience.
      3) “Look at how they replaced characters with female versions like Iron Man and Thor, or different ethnicity like The Human Torch. They may be trying to reach out to new viewers and have a broader base. While they may find some newer viewers, but they risk alienating others that identified with the characters before and now find themselves unable to do so.”
      Um, so? They were also alienating a significant potential readership by having overwhelmingly white, male, straight flagship characters. And I would argue that if you are that profoundly alienated by the idea of characters who do not exactly reflect you, you might want to consider what you’re implicitly demanding of other readers. Why is your experience and reflection so much more important than theirs?

    5. “I can’t identify with a character with this sexuality” = “I can’t feel empathy for characters with this sexuality” = “I don’t really act like people with this sexuality are people or think of them as people”

  6. Look, I happen to agree with much of what has been said, and I get that there are a lot of people who agree with and are happy with the changes made to Iceman. And who am I to deny them their happiness. Of course everyone deserves to have characters they can relate and look up to. I just wish they didn’t have to co-op one of the characters I looked forward to reading about to do so.

    Its frustrating that of the original five, the only one that I even look forward to seeing nowadays is Jean Grey, and they had to grab a teenage version to make her interesting again.
    – Angel : The character is a mess, between amnesia, healing blood, weird switching back and forth to the Archangel personality, and the inappropriate relationship with underage Husk (mid-air sex in front of her mom, anyone?). At this point I wish we could just retcon away everything that’s happened with him since maybe right after Extinction Agenda and start fresh from there
    – Beast : What the hell happened to Hank McCoy? When was the last time he enjoyed a single day of his life? He could defeat all the x-villains just by locking himself in a room with them and depressing them with his life story. Come on Wonder Man, we need an intervention, stat!
    – Iceman : For the foreseeable future writers are going to want to explore this new development with Bobby’s life. Its only natural, and would be strange if they didn’t. Hopefully this is eventually just going to be AN aspect of his character, but doesn’t become THE aspect of his character like it did with Northstar. In the meantime that’s just not something I’m interested in reading. Much like anytime Rogue and Gambit are anywhere near each other, I’ll just skip it and move on. Even still, at least he’s still not ….
    – Cyclops : Sorry, you’ve still never been redeemed in my eyes for abandoning Maddie and Nathan. Total dick move, ruined the character forever

    I get that as a straight, white, middle class male from suburban Midwest America, everyone else has suffered more than me, and complaining about anything at all just makes me look petty. At the end of the day the changes to a character in a comic book are trivial compared to the injustice that others have suffered and continue to suffer. Perhaps that’s why it SHOULD be OK to change the character, those that gain from the change are positively affected exponentially more than those who are disappointed. And if Onslaught and the Draco story lines couldn’t make me quit the X-Men, this certainly won’t. But this isn’t how I used to read Iceman, and I’m disappointed that this is the path that they’ve chosen for him. OF course, I always wanted him to end up with Darkstar, so I was never going to get what I wanted anyway.

    P.S. Thank God for spell-check in the reply feature. Even if it is ironic that “Retcon” isn’t in the spell-check dictionary.

    1. I think my question to you would be; what about this change would prevent you from enjoying an Iceman comic. We now know he’s interested in guys instead of women, but other than that he’s still Bobby Drake, Iceman, former X-Man, Champion, Defender, CPA and X-Factorer etc.

      Aside from knowing that his future love interest (assuming he gets one) is going to be a he rather than a she, what has fundamentally changed?

      1. Pretty Much Most Things Really When Dealing With How His Personality And Relationships And Character In General Is Gonna Be Like.

        1. What do you think being gay actually means and involves?

          The day I realised I was attracted to men, you know what else changed about me? Bugger all. Literally nothing. I did the same schoolwork, I ate the same food, I reacted to things exactly the same way as I always had done, unless it involved who I was looking for in a sexual partner and you’d be amazed at just how little of my life that was and is.

            1. Sorry for the delay in a response. Dealing with a new job and getting ready for Sunday’s dinner has kept me pretty busy, and any free time has been spent watching new MST3K episodes.

              When you ask what about these changes is going to make it harder to follow Iceman’s story, the answer comes down to immersion. When i read a book or watch a movie I try to put myself in the character’s shoes and think about how i would react in their situation. The closer a character is to myself, the more they act and react like i would, the easier it is to do this. This doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy characters different from myself, just that it’s harder to put myself in their shoes, and I will probably have less point of references to their experiences and feelings.

              When a character all of a sudden deviates or acts differently from how they’ve been established to so, it takes you out of the established narrative and forces you to re-evaluate how and if you can still relate to the character. I have no interest or experience in dating other men, so I now have less in common with the character than I did before.

              You ask what this really changes other than him being interested in men now. I haven’t read any of the new series yet, so at this point the answer is up in the air. We’ll just have to wait and see just how much of a focus on his relationships the book has. My guess is these changes end up being a core focus in the book and its a major part of what we read about. If there was a “gay relationship” version of the Bechdel test, I predict the book is going to fail it. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe I’m not. We shall see.

              1. Given the number of straight, white, male, characters (and their relationships) the average gueer/POC/non-male has learned to immerse themselves in the lives of over the decades, rest assured that it’s not an insurmountable issue by any means.

                1. (My comment before was directed to Raul, not Baalthulu btw) but It’s not like LGBT people haven’t had to do this 98% of the time in all mainstream media. It’s not a hard thing to do, I don’t get why an interest in the same sex is required to identify with a gay character. Were you readers only able to identify with Bobby because of his heterosexuality? Because his charm, wit and awkwardness is still intact. And if you did indeed identify with him for his heterosexuality alone, then you already have a whole cache of narratives to identify with on that basis alone. Also, the whole idea of readers being unable to adapt to changes to “estabalished” characers always felt contrived to me, considering that characters have their characterization drastically changed all of the time, all throughout different eras, this is really not a big change in the grand scheme of things. And change that deviates from previous estabishment is a part of a lot of people’s real life narratives.

  7. Great interview. I sympathize with buying only the Bachalo issues of the Carey run. Of all the (soon to be) relaunched X-books, I’m most excited for Iceman, Jean Grey and Generation X, or at least cautiously optimistic. Also, whatever happened to Maggot and Marrow?

  8. (We’re at the maximum comment thread depth, so instead of replying below, I’ll quote and reply here:)

    Raul Gomez said: “With Changes Like Bobby’s, It’s Not Really An Improvement”

    “In my opinion, since he came out as gay, Bobby Drake is the most interesting he’s ever been – so I’d say this is absolutely an improvement.”

    Not Really. It’s actually More Like Poor And Forceful Writing Without Any Effort Put Into This. So Many Things They Could’ve Done With This Character Especially During Bendis’ Run And They Decide To Make Him Gay……Just Because….Which Is Just Really Poor For The Character. No Offense To Anyone Here.

    “And – given that the comics industry really needs more diversity in its headlining characters, it’s an improvement on that level too.”

    There Are Many Ways To Support Diversity And Do Them Well. This Isn’t Really It. And That Goes For The Other Recent Attempts Marvel Tried To “Support” Diversity.

    “Iceman hasn’t been damaged as a character- he’s still Iceman, just with another facet to his personality that a) opens a lot of storytelling possibilities, and b) adds some much-needed representation to the X-universe.”

    Not Really. There Are Actually Many Things You Could’ve Done With This Character. Making Him Gay Wasn’t Really One Of Them. The Thing Is That, I Think His Change To His Sexual Orientation Could’ve Been Done So Well. Yet, Bendis Didn’t Do Anything With This. I Actually Agree With Mike Carey That Bobby Would’ve Been Better As A Bisexual Character That Way You Could Explore Alot More Stories With This Seeing As How He’s A Mutant Everyman Whose Theme Is Relationships, Trust, Abandonment, Etc. Since Bisexual People Also Struggle Alot More When Concerning Trusts In Their Relationships. Not Only Would Bobby Be Hated By Human But Also Mutants As Well Male or Female. I Think He Would’ve Been Alot More Comfortable With Characters Like Mystique, Rogue, Cloud, And A Couple Of Other Characters Who Would Make Him Feel Alot More Comfortable Giving Him More Of An Identity Compared To The Other Mutants And Ones Who Are Actually LGBT. The Thing Is That He Would’ve Had Alot More Comfortability With Both Gambit And Rogue Considering The Two Might Be Pansexual Whereas Bobby Would’ve Been Bisexual And The Fact The Two Seem Really Fun To Hang Around With.

    “I’m sorry this is a change you don’t like, Raul, but it’s both effective and important to a whole lot of folks, myself included. You’re welcome to disagree, but at this point, you’re repeating yourself. You can have your opinion, but please accept that other people are also going to have their own.”

    I Actually Do. But The Thing Is Most People Really Don’t Get Bobby As A Character Nor How The Basic Human Psychology, Emotions, And Struggles Really Work. I Don’t Believe The Same Things Could Apply To The Other Characters I’ve Actually Just Listed A Couple Of Comments Ago. It Actually Give A Really Bad Influence In Writing And The Handing Of Some Characters.

  9. I wasn’t very interested about previous interviews, mainly because I wasn’t invented in the X-line in the previous two years because I disliked it – the way Marvel treated it all. But X-men blue gave me a new hope and now I’m excited about the new books. Iceman sounds very interesting from the way Sina talked about it and I’m definitely going to pick up the first issue of that.

    Reading an X-book about a fleshed out gay protagonist is definitely interesting and that being Iceman gives the character a fresh take that make me much more interested in him then, say, the 2000’s mini-series. I do wish for more character-driven stories that has some sort of a say about the current time we live in. Stories about superheroes being superheroes are fun, but I like it better when I feel like the x-men stories are happening in my time and have a piece of mind about what’s going on in the world and aspire it to be better. That’s how the old Claremont’s X-men felt like.

    In that note, I’m still waiting for the X-men to address mental illness full-front. This is another kind of thing that society puts into closets, and it makes people who suffer from one feel ashamed and different just like being a mutant.

    1. The Thing About Bobby Is That It Doesn’t Seem To Be At All Interesting Nor Any Much Of An Improvement. It’s Actually Rather Forceful. Honestly, If They Wanted To Give More Room For Bobby, Then I Suggest Doing What Mike Carey Would’ve Actually Really Done And Make The Guy Bisexual In Which Most Bisexuals Have Endured From Straights And Gays. It Would’ve Actually Given Bobby Rooms Of Exploration To His Character And Life As A Mutant Everyman And Being Different From The Other Mutants Even Ones Who Are Actually Considered LGBT.

      1. Yes, there need to be more bi characters. And there need to be more gay characters. But saying everyone who dates a woman/women has to be bi and cannot be gay is – again – policing identities you have no right to police. The guidelines you set up make it impossible to ever tell a later-in-life coming out story without beginning at THAT story, which violates a lot of the heft of those actual people’s real experiences. I mean, c’mon, this is literally a podcast where we see that identities do change and people realize super-important stuff about themselves after they’ve been through a lot of life experiences. What you’re asking for in terms of “character consistency” or whatever is nothing short of erasure of a whole group of queer people from literature.

        Want some bi characters? Awesome. Let’s finally canonize years of Peter Parker/Johnny Storm context. Let’s have queer EVERYONE FROM ASGARD since heterosexuality as a defined identity doesn’t come around till the 1800s. Hell, historically speaking, Wolverine likely fooled around with guys when he was a teen. Magma? Probably queer. Anyone from an alien race? Probably queer too since heterosexuality is a very particular construct. Kang? Likely queer as well since I’m SURE sexuality changes by the future.

        But bi/queer characters should not come at the expense of gay characters. They should pull from the stupidly large pool of “straight” characters. Because again, later in life gays deserve representation.

        To clarify an earlier statement, it doesn’t matter that Peter Parker aged. What I’m saying is that he’s surrounded by 60s pop culture (seeing I am Curious Yellow) then has a 90s fashion model for a wife and then uses a smart phone. We accept that the book – even if the broad strokes of continuity are followed – isn’t bound to particulars because times change and we want Peter Parker to stay current and not stuck in the 60s. Similarly, the whole Dark Phoenix Saga hinges on the X-Men thinking each other was dead for a while so Mastermind could do his thing. Cell phones, social media, etc. would make DPS much harder to work as it did in teh comics. Again, we discount that and either make excuses or ignore that, even though DPS is still canon. So really, how is the fact that Bobby wasn’t explicitly queer since day 1 any different? It’s a product of a different time that needs updating. Very few – if any – major moments of continuity change since AGAIN FOR THE MILLIONTH TIME (deep breath) GAY MEN DATE WOMEN BEFORE COMING OUT. Unless you have a panel of Uatu saying Bobby Drake is straight and hiding nothing, nothing in continuity actively disproves anything. It takes a slight readjustment, and that’s it.

        End of discussion. Finished. You mention psychology and continuity but have proven you know little about both. As Michael says, you keep moving the goal posts. Also, you’ve proven you can type without that Caps affectation, so please stop doing that.

        1. No. I Meant Looking Into Bobby Drake As A Character, He Could’ve Worked As A Bisexual. The Outing Was Just Terrible And Incredibly Forced. It Could’ve Been Handled With Some Hints And Build Ups During Bendis’ Run On The X-Men. But, They Didn’t. Instead He Was Revealed Gay Just Because Which Is Actually Pretty Much Just Poor And Forced Writing When Dealing With An Established Character. I’m Not Really Dismissing The Queer Community. But There Should’ve Been Some Consistency Towards Bobby Drake’s Character When Dealing With This Kind Of Build Up And Outing.

          The Whole Peter/Johhny Storm Context Were Just Them Being Pals, Asgardians Don’t Have To Be Fully Queer. Characters Like Thor And Odin Are Fine The Way They Are. Some Of The Aliens Are Fine The Way They Are Like Gamora For Example.

          I’m Saying That Making Bobby Gay Especially And Mostly Out Of Nowhere Was Actually Pretty Poor And Forced And Honestly Really Could’ve Been Done ALOT Better.

          Relating To Peter Parker. Yes, While The Character Should Be More Up To Date With Current Times, I Don’t Think There’s Actually Anything Wrong With His Character And Mythos. I Agree That Mary Jane Should Be Updated More But She Has Been Drawn Appropriately At Times By Most Artists.But, The Difference Between How Peter Has Experienced His Time In Life As Well As The X-Men And The Use Of Technology Is Because……They’re Small…..Like Really, Most Technologies Can Be Updated As The Stories And Series Progress And Update Themselves. Bobby Drake’s Sexuality Is Different Than The Updates In Technology. I Know Gay Men Have Dated Women Before. I’m Saying That The Reason For Bobby Being Gay And How It Was Handled Were Pretty Poor And actually Pretty Forced.

          1. Your reading of Bobby isn’t the one true reading fyi. Nowhere in canon did it ever say “Bobby is repressed and has failed relationships because he’s a poor het guy.” A lot of Bobby’s characterisation was left open ended simply because he’s not a character that was ever really given a lot of emphasis.People can read the same stories and come to different conclusions based off their own experiences. For a lot of us, seeing Bobby as gay is not hard, nor is it a big change. What you view as “forced” others view as “authentic.” And a lot of us don’t think making Bobby gay came from nowhere because we recognise the narrative feasibility of non heterosexual characters existing.

            1. Yeah, It Kinda Said That Bobby Is Pretty Much Just A Troubled Guy With Alot Of Insecurities And Paranoia. Those Experiences He’d Endured Could Also Happen To Straight People As Well. With How The “Story” Was Presented Towards Bobby Was Forced. No Build Up Nor Foreshadow Nor Any Hints. He’s Just Gay Just Because….Making An Established Character Such As Bobby IS Such A Big Change To The Character. It’s Just Forced And Incredibly Poorly Written.

              1. I never said that they couldn’t happen to Striaght people. As a matter of fact those narratives are represented widespread by every other straight character all throughout media. Bobby’s story in relation to being gay is one of the only times where those qualities are applied to a gay narrative.

                And you’re sounding like a broken record dude.

                1. Somewhat. But Really, Those Types Of Development And Build Up Could Be Just Misunderstandings And Just Could’ve Actually Been Better If The Character Was Bi Like Mike Carey Suggested.

                  1. No they can also apply to gay people like the multiple, actual gay people in this thread have stated. But no, they don’t know about their own experiences, they are just “misunderstanding” because the almighty Raul gets to decide what constitutes someone else’s coming out story.

                    1. I’m Saying That Those Kinds Of Hints, Subtexts, Etc. Don’t Really Support Bobby Being Gay Nor Were Any Of Those Related To His Homosexuality. So His Reckless And Immaturish Behavior And His Girls And Women’s Reckless And Insane Behaviours And Decision Making That Don’t Apply To Bobby Makes Him Gay? That’s Just Actually Just Incredibly Ridiculous. It’s Like Saying That An Apple Is Violet When It’s Actually Really Red, Green, And Yellow.

  10. Does it make me a bad member of the commentariat if I’m stuck at the point where Marjorie Liu is called an “SJW” and that’s apparently supposed to be a meaningful criticism which people will consider when evaluating her opinions or her craft as a creator?

    I know that not being able to even while reading things like this is a badge of privilege that derives from having an identity that’s mostly affirmed as valuable and normal by traditional social mores, and that this sort of bemused shock is something that inhibits my allyship. Nevertheless, I can’t even…

    1. Look. I Have No Doubt That Marjorie Liu Supports The LGBT Community And Other Communities As Well. But, Honestly, At Times Reading Her Interviews And Tweets(A Few Of Them), I Think She Might Either Come As An SJW Or Just Messing Around. Either Way, It Could Be The Latter.

      1. Oh, right. SJW – or “Social Justice Warrior” is a pejorative term for some reason. What particularly characterizes Marjorie Liu as a social justice warrior in your mind?

        1. She Seems To Want To Make Characters Like Johnny Storm Have A Sexual Orientation. Tried To Do The Same Thing To Jubilee For Some Reason. And Has Wanted Iron Fist To Be Asian As Well. I Don’t Know The Other Things. But If Marjorie Liu Has Anything Else That Makes Her An SJW Well, We’ll Just Have To Figure That Out And See What Else She Has On Her Mind. I Honestly Hope I Would Be Mistaken Of Her Though. She’s Actually A Really Talented Writer And I Hope She’s Not Really One Of Those SJWs As I Actually Thought Of Her As.

          1. Dude – you know that you’re listening to a podcast by two proud Social Justice Warriors, right? (That term is kind of ridiculous, but I’ll happily claim it nonetheless if people are going to be throwing it around.) Jay and I have been pretty up-front about our social politics from episode 1. You’re not going to change any minds by throwing that term around as an insult here.

            And with that, I’m done engaging.

            1. Well, and a podcast about fictional social justice warriors.

              That term fits the X-Men pretty well, I think – hence my fegned bemusement at the negative connotations people try and festoon it with. I mean, if you’re going to be a warrior, what better cause than social justice? That sounds pretty righteous and worthwhile. It’s basically what Superman fights for, and It’s certainly better than being a Privilege and Performative Masculinity through Being a Dick Warrior, right?

              Anyway, sorry to have engaged him at all. My bad.

              1. Jay and Miles have gone and record saying that superheroes are literally social justice warriors!

                Also, I wanted to apologize for engaging him too, u should’ve known better after reading his initial post but I was in a particularly foul mood today.

                1. Mike and Michael – you guys are good; no worries. “And so are you” was directed at one person in particular (who can no longer post), not at either of you, although my now-I’ve-actually-slept brain can totally see how it could have seemed that way.

  11. God damn it, I love you guys! Excellent episode and… entertaining comment thread, my hubby and I have been reading it out loud to each other tonight and have had a total ball!

    Since most of my/our points have already been made, and repetition has worn out is welcome, I apologize for throwing in my two cents, BUT “sexuality isn’t a year at Hogwarts” (commented by I believe Devon?) is the funniest shit I have heard in a while, so bravo! Also, Devon’s opening “arguments”, I feel, won the rather disturbing “is it okay for Iceman to be gay?” debate already. I say disturbing because I cannot fathom why this upset people to the point they have to leave seemingly endless, circle logic comments both here and all across social media to voice their dislike of this revelation. You have a different opinion? Super, good for you. Endlessly restating it though? It is very difficult not to conclude that their basic argument against/discontent with Bobby coming out is that “queer people are icky”. Even if that is not the intent, when it is restated over and over and over again that Iceman’s sexuality has caused you an existential crisis people reading these statements are likely to draw that conclusion.
    The character is still essentially the same, so the orientation canonization making him unlikable, unrelatable (which means unsympathetic, FYI), or unpalatable inherently betrays a discomfort of that very element that has been added to the narrative, in this case homosexuality, from those lodging such dissenting opinions. As such, I am very sorry, I have no sympathy for your plight or the the inclination to placate you; there are a wealth of other characters out there that are hereto white dudes, barely over a dozen queer ones so if there’s a bustle in your hedgerow our tiny pile gets a new chip added I really struggle to empathize with the monolithic majority throwing a fit.

    Is it an issue of lack of buildup? Nope. I suspected that Iceman was gay in the early 1990s before I even realized I was gay and too young to really even have a concept of my sexuality. As this podcast has illustrated time and again in interviews, there has always been queer subtext intentionally written into the X-Men mythos that was not allowed by editorial or higher to be made explicit for decades. When Northstar first proclaimed his queerness the writer was almost FIRED! by mandate of the higher ups in the parent company of Marvel who were offended by the explicit existence of a queer character. In the 1990s!!!

    Bobby, also, was created in the 1960s as an afterthought by two guys who were products of their time, who also wrote and created offensive female characters. Jean Grey, Sue Storm, Janet van Dyne… they should still be 1 dimensional, passive, dizzy headed generic 1960s Madison Avenue misconceptions of women because, hey, fuck it, that’s how they were when they were created? Sure, that panel of Sue randomly trying on wigs in an early FF issue is bafflingly hilarious but because they have grown as characters since the 1960s doesn’t suddenly make them absurd… what’s absurd is them NOT going through any evolution, NOT reflecting the progress of society.

    I could go on and on with examples of close friends of mine who have kids with wives they had been with for decades who have come out later in life (check: late 50s and older), of girls I have dated while trying to convince myself and others that I was heterosexual even after realizing I was gay and my absolute fear of not living the life society drills into you from birth, of my bisexual male ex and his semi-polyamorous marriage with his bisexual wife, of gay friends of mine who possess every overt “macho-man” stereotype, of ultra campy heterosexual guys I know, and so on… but this post has already gone on long enough and I doubt I will get anyone to change or confront their own prejudices, so I will leave you wonderful, beautiful people with this query:

    Would you REALLY be happy if Bobby got shoved back in the closet now? WOULD YOU? WOULD YOU!!!

    1. Aw, thanks!

      Yeah, overall (with the obvious exception) this comment section just hammers in how cool the vast majority of this podcast’s listeners are. And how I really need to make it to one of their meetups eventually.

      P.S. Yes, fellow cargo shorts wearer here. I even suggested to my fiance that we have a “Cargo-shorts-only” wedding attire rule (just to mess with our more fashionable friends)…but he promptly shut that down.

    2. Thanks for this comment dude! Hit the nail on the head regarding this whole thing. The funny thing is most of the (straight men) people against Bobby being gay are totally fine with retcons and character evolutions that are convenient to their tastes and/or frame of reference.

      Cyclops was actually psychologically tortured during his tenure in the orphanage by Sinister this whole time? Great! Madelyne Pryor is actually a clone of Scott’s not actually dead ex created by the same guy who was retconned into Scott’s orphanage? Awesome! Emma Frost was actually a sympathetic woman who ran away from her abusive parents DESPITE burning a pony! Sure! Magneto can be a holocaust survivor despite being portrayed as an unsympathetic moustache twirling villain and can suddenly have 2 kids, one of which has the worst hat ever, despite “no foreshadowing” for decades? Yes!! But no, Bobby being gay is a much more drastic change -eyeroll-. The fact that people think that this is a bigger change just goes to show how they view queer people and experiences as the “other” and aren’t willing to give those narratives the same feasibility and legitimacy they easily give to the narratives that have the same criteria they criticize this one for (“it wasn’t estabalsihed before!”, “there were no hints! Because gay people all let out hints that I need to know of before they come out!!11!!” “REALISM1!1!!!”). Change is fundamental to comics, the most iconic characters wouldn’t be what they are if they stayed the same as what they were created to be back in the 60s. Also, yeah Bobby was never really well estabalsihed to begin with. He was just an ice knock off of the human torch back in the 60s. The idea that he’s been immature/repressed/insecure/reckless and bad at relationships has been floating around for years but there’s never been a canonical explanation as to why Bobby has been so messed up, until now. But no!!!! I need hints!1!!!1

  12. Oh, and rant about defending Iceman’s and society’s queerness aside, after this episode I will assuredly start purchasing the adult Iceman, and likely teen Iceman for good measure, series. I have not purchased or read a single comic of MARVEL’s post-most-recent-Secret Wars run, and had no intention of doing so in the near future. However this interview has convinced me to alter that stance and I will even resist the easy option of Comixology and go to my super awesome local comic book shop to get this series.
    Thanks again for all the wonderful work you do to provide a silver-lining to the week for myself, my little family and I assume many others.

  13. Actually, Beast did have a self titled 3-part mini in the ’90s, as well as headlined alongside Dazzler in “Beauty & the Beast” mini in the ’80s and his own solo story in Amazing Adventures #11-17 back in the ’70s where he first turned blue and furry.

    The Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends animated show was 3 seasons from 1981-1983 (not the ’70s). As a kid I LOVED how Bobby would build an ice block (the size of a phone booth!) around himself to freeze his clothes off and then smash out of it as Iceman. He must have gone through a lot of clothes…!

    Of Iceman’s ex-girlfriends, don’t forget Terri Sue Bottoms! (She appeared with Bobby in Incredible Hulk Annual #7 & Marvel Two-In-One #76). So… will we ever find out what’s happened to Zelda all this time? Will Mirage, daughter of Oblivion from his first solo mini-series make an appearance? And will the whole Annie Ghazikhanian/Havoc/Polaris/Northstar era soap opera be re-examined knowing what we know now? So much juicy back story!

    I hope Moondragon can show up and throw some telepathic shade with her fierce, bald, bisexual self from space.

    1. I’ve wondered what happened to Annie Ghazikhanian… she and Northstar (and Juggernaut joining the X-Men) were my favorite parts of that Chuck Austen run (which I otherwise didn’t care for).

      As for Beast and his series, I think Jay and Miles were specifically talking about intended on-going, as opposed to mini, series books. From a fan/outside perspective the difference might seem minimal, but it seems from an insider perspective this is a significant difference as it involves a commitment to the creative teams from the higher-ups. Also, branding a series with a single character right on the tin is a big difference from having a character star in a title in which their name does not appear; for example at the height of his 1990s fame Wolverine was essentially the star of MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS, but how many people remember this or even noticed at the time? I know, it is splitting hairs, but in a flooded market this sort of minutiae has an impact on legacy and memory.

      Anyway, I agree with you 100% on more Moondragon, always loved that character and hate that she and Phyla Vel are apparently banned from the Guardians of the Galaxy films, implied because of their romantic relationship. Maybe they don’t want to over-complicate Drax, but… yeah, also agree with ya on SpM and his Amazing Friends- I have the whole series and can’t wait until my toddler gets a bit older so I finally have someone who will watch it with me!

  14. The whole Bobby is Gay controversy stems from this thought:

    “Bobby isn’t gay because I identify with Bobby and I’m not Gay.”

    I kind of get this notion. When I was younger, I really liked Bobby’s character in X-Factor. He was the Johnny Storm of the X-Men, dating a cute Japanese Record Store Clerk who was also heir to some sort of Cyberninja clan…or something like that. Even when they broke up (because he basically was too overprotective and a bit dim), I still loved his trek with Rogue around America while confronting his father’s racism. Bobby was this guy with potential in front of him…everyone said so. He was an Omega Level Mutant who just needed to figure some things out. He’s a lot of how I saw myself at that time (and still do, to a certain degree).

    And then he comes out as gay and I’m like, “But I’m not gay. How can my identification character be gay when I’m not?” It’s like how people misread your friendliness or your laid back nature as being gay, when it is just who you are. I know I had to struggle with people thinking I was gay. I’m sure many guys who are still upset about Bobby being gay in comics was just that: people who aren’t that masculine, who identify with Bobby, and have to now figure out what it means when the guy they identify with is gay.

    It’s like when my friends parents found out that he was gay. They were sad about it, not because he was gay, but because all that potential that they saw from him is not there anymore. He won’t find a nice girl. They won’t settle down and have a family. They won’t have grandkics. He might get harmed because of who he is. It made them sad that their son wouldn’t be on the same path that they were on.

    I think its the same way with some of Bobby’s fans. They’re sad that Bobby won’t have the same wish fullfillment/power fantasy that they have with their own life. Bobby won’t be a marquee character. He won’t get back with Opal Tanaka and have kids. There won’t be a Days of Future’s Past storyline that involves Bobby and Opal’s time traveling, ice-ninja kids. Bobby’s going to be a gay person’s power fantasy, not their power fantasy anymore.

    But that’s foolish. I’m an Filipino-American man that identifies a lot with Superman, even though he’s this white guy from Kansas. I also identify with Laurel Gand from the Legion of Superheroes, because of her toughness and tenderness with her child. I also really identify with Grail from Wetworks because he’s the only Filipino-American superhero with his own action figure…something I thought was awesome at the time because he’s a lot like me.

    And I still also identify with Iceman, if only because he’s a guy struggling with his identity and his powers after everyone else seems to have figured theirs out. People who aren’t male and white have always had to suss out identification wherever they could. You learn to pick and choose qualities and ideas from characters, without making those characters out to be carbon copies of yourself. I will never be a white guy from Krypton, but I get that he struggles with being an alien here while having a homeland that only exists in the memory and stories of others. Superman being white and Bobby being Gay doesn’t stop me from still identifying with their struggles…I just have to make that leap of imagination.

    – Gary

  15. See, you guys have got me thinking about this, again, as usual, and I think the reason the metaphor hasn’t worked for me for a while now is that the X-Men fight to PROTECT a world that hates and fears them, while in our world the groups they are supposedly a metaphor for tend to fight AGAINST the world that hates them. The X-Men would save senator Kelly’s life, sure, even if he goes on hating mutants. That’s what they do. Fighting to change someone to be on your side, knowing that your’s is the only right way, seems like more of an Inhumans approach, at least of late.

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