In today's review of the Marvel Legends Series 8 Iceman figure from ToyBiz, the question that links to our message board at the bottom of the page asks whether Bobby "Iceman" Drake is gay, and people are wondering what that means. We'll let someone else explain:
Is Bobby gay?
Some segments of the fan community assert that Bobby is gay and doesn't realize it, and his problems with dating and with social interactions in general stem from this.
Posted by Alestar on the Comicslash mailing list:
< Has anyone ever written down why s/he thinks Bobby is gay?
Sure. I write it down all the time. And I'll be glad to do so again here.
Bobby Drake is a class clown. Why? Why does any child feel the need to act out? Because that person is insecure; they feel separate, and the only way they know to feel acceptance, to connect, is to entertain. Bobby is this way. He makes light because that way, he doesn't have to make his sincere side, his emotional side, vulnerable to mockery or rejection. And he's very particular about the attention he recieves. Only passing, flippant attention, the kind caused by a prank or a snide remark; never serious attention, which is why he has underplayed his own powers so much.
Okay, so, why is Bobby like this? Imagine a homosexual boy growing up in the environment in which Bobby grew. You guys know I've taken liberties with Bobby's childhood, but it is established canon that his father is a bigot, and that he spent a lot of Bobby's life encouraging him to "take it like a man." He's an asshole. A redeemable asshole, as it's been shown, but a youth-scarring asshole nonetheless.
So, we know that Bobby's was raised in that environment, and we know how he turned out. Do we know that homosexuality was the catalyst? Well, no, but . . .
Bobby has never been able to make a relationship with a woman work. Not because he's not a nice guy, or a smart guy or a handsome guy. So why? You've seen Bob in relationships. It's like he's reading from a script. He's doing what he thinks he's supposed to do. He plays his part, and he doesn't understand why she isn't playing hers, why it doesn't work out in the long run. Of course, relationships like that never work out; they demand a sincerity and honesty of emotion that Bobby simply isn't capable of with a woman.
That's even when he's inspired to try. Only when he's in depth of lonliness will he give it a shot. Not to say that he isn't always flirting (classic over-compensation), he just rarely acts on it. And neither did he always flirt. That was an adaptation he learned. Remember, way back when, in Uncanny X-Men #1? When Jean showed up, Bobby was the only one of the students that showed no physical interest in Jean.
And, the most important reason of all for believing Bobby Drake to be gay . . .
If there's one thing a writer of alternative fiction enjoys, it's feeling victimized; and being mad at Marvel for not allowing poor Bobby to be gay is as good an excuse as any. 😉
Ahem. And that's all from me. Be proud of me, Poi.
Alestar, in spades
And hey, just because, here's the opposite point of view:
Why Bobby Isn't Gay
(but why people may think he could be)
by Kerrie Smith
Originally posted to the Icekateers mailing list.
First off, I need to say that I'm probably the biggest advocate in the universe for the Bobby is Straight! campaign (he's just TOO CUTE to be off-limits!), but I think I know where at least part of it got started.
The New Defenders.
(And half the list groans "Gah, she's not going to talk about the Defenders AGAIN, is she?) But the fact of the matter is ... well, Bobby was really fruity in that series.
Case 1: Bobby's First Appearance
(Shoot, I only have half my Defenders collection here at school... sorry I haven't got issue numbers...)
Anyway, Bobby shows up to visit Hank, they hug a lot and discuss dog poo. No, really. Anyway, then the two of them go upstairs and hang out with Gargoyle, who is taking a bath. Then Bobby strips off all his clothes and Hank chases him around the house. This was the first issue I owned, and believe me, it totally warped my tender sensibilities.
Case 2: That horrible issue with the Frog.
Either 131 or 133, I can't remember. Anyway, Warren and Bobby come to see Hank lecturing at some college, and all these college students keep hitting on Warren. So Bobby promptly announces that he's "Warren's boyfriend, Lance." And oddly enough, neither Hank nor Warren seem too phased by this.
Case 3: Cloud.
Bobby's main squeeze for most of the run of the New Defenders, who was not only clearly bisexual, but also a part-time male. I'm not saying anything happened, but frankly, if these things were being published today, well, the slash fans would be having a hay day. Actually, it would probably get censored, but ... yeah, whatever.
Add in the fact that this all took place in the early eighties, when gays were starting to get more exposure in the media (at least according to "The Celluloid Closet," this documentary on gays in film that my roommate and I watched the other day...) and I strongly suspect that deMatteis was trying to tell us something. (And don't even get me started on the Ltd. Series, which frankly, was all about free love.)
In the end, Marvel decided to retool Bobby's character as straight, giving him three female love interests during the run of X-Factor, (more than he'd seen on any other team thus far...)
In addition, as the "younger brother" of the X-Men, I think Bobby constantly relates to the girls of the team in a much more natural, nonsexual manner. He buddies around with Jean and Betsy, teases Storm and plays pranks on Rogue. He's more interested in being friends with them than hitting on them (a lesson more guys could learn, dangit!) but he tends to come across as uninterested. The truth is, I don't think he sees the other X-Women as potential love interests, and furthermore, would be too intimidated by them to ask them out, anyway.
Take his relationship with Emma Frost for example. They pretty much ignore each other until the Big Accident, when she realizes that he actual rates notice. He doesn't know what to do with himself, and finally has to assert himself through brute force (that horrid Hitch-drawn mess, I know you remember it...) However, after some time, he begins to "buddy" with Emma much as he does with the other girls, and she softens towards him. There's much less sexual tension, but there is a good-natured flirting... (see Gen X #57) As usual, Bobby's given up the possibility of some sort of relationship in favor of a more genial friendship, because that's what he knows how to handle.
As a side note, I've never made it through a piece of Iceman slash. Oh, I've tried, but the characterization always torques me off. I don't think Bobby could pull off a decent relationship with a guy any more than he can with the ladies. I can't even put my finger on what is so off about the characterization, but I've just yet to read someone write "gay Bobby" so that he feels like "real Bobby" to me. Well, okay, there was one, and I'm fairly certain that no one on this list except Mice and Kielle remember it (yeah, I'm talking about JJ ... I remember reading that and going "Whoa, he's ... oh, yeah, I guess so.") I don't want anyone to think I'm anti-slash, it's just not my cup of tea, and I don't like to read it. (Oh, and I can't read Bobby-Ororo relationship stories, either, for the same reason.)
Okay, this email got really long really fast, so I'm going to shut up now, and go read some Defenders.
(Bobby 'n' Lev forever!!!)
So, what do you think, OAFE fan? Is Iceman Gay or what?
I'd say the first perspective points more towards narcissism than homosexuality, though there could be some definite overlap (ie a homosexual narcissist pretends to be heterosexual), which is what the evidence suggests to when I see it.
The second article really just says that his character is not mature enough for a romantic relationship in general, something I also think supports pathological narcissism more likely than closeted homosexuality.
I'm then reminded of the x-men cartoon of the nineties; there was an episode in which he and Polaris were in a relationship and were defecting to either x-factor or x-force, whichever team had strong guy and multiple man on it.
Now, this is purely speculation on my part, but what team is more masculine than one with a literal strong guy, a literal army of guys, and an (literal) extraterrestrial homosexual ubermensch (shatterstar)? Because thats the team to which Bobby Drake absconds!
After all, what's more heterosexual than all the men, all the time?
In that episode, Polaris is the one that joins X-Factor. (Shatterstar is a member of X-Force.) She dumped Iceman for Havok.