Bobby Drake, AKA Iceman, is set to come out of the closet in an upcoming issue of X-Men. Although the character has dated many women in the past, it will soon be revealed that the character is gay.
Iceman wouldn't be the first Marvel leading man to come out; Northstar came out in the early '90s in Alpha Flight #106. At the time it wasn't an easy task and writer Scott Lobdell had to fight to get the line "I am gay" approved before the issue came out. Bobby's coming out is more pull than open reveal (see the leaked panels below), but in the end he accepts that the truth is out and is okay with it, even going so far as to make a joke.
For Marvel, I think we can all say that this is a pretty huge step, since Iceman is a more recognizable character than Northstar. Bobby was one-third of Spiderman and His Amazing Friends in the '80s and has been one of the more notable characters in the X-Men movie franchise.
What does this all mean? I don't actually know... as a comic fan, it doesn't change much for me. Sexual orientation of characters has always been an afterthought, I was always far more focused on the insane time travel and possible global destruction. However, as a "visible minority" myself I can say that any time a character of colour is given the spotlight, I definitely felt proud of seeing some diversity reflected on the page. It meant the writers were thinking outside of a box that we've been all sitting in for far too long. So to the LGBT kids of the world, here's hoping this moment in X-Men history makes your day and gives you a moment of pride.
--Brian 'Döc' Holidæ hosts Phantastiq Cypha every Thursday from 10 PM to midnight, oly on CJLO!