Out Came Iceman



Iceman-youngA retronym is a word like “landline” that renames a familiar item when something new comes along. With the advent of the cellphone, we learned we’d been using landlines all along—who knew? Something similar happened in the realm of superhero comics, and the upshot is that Marvel’s Iceman is, and always has been, gay. First, a little background: The X-Men sometimes appear as their younger selves; and they can time-travel. So, a while back, in the interest of inclusivity Marvel decided to make the young Iceman gay—no big whoop. But wait! Does this mean that somewhere along the way, Iceman went from being gay to straight? How did this happen? Readers wanted to know, and eyebrows were starting to lift in the GLBT community. To its credit, Marvel dealt with the dilemma head-on, allowing the younger Iceman, through time travel, to confront his older self about the contradiction (in total violation of the time-travel paradox). The upshot: adult Iceman had to come out as gay, or retro-gay, as it were. The news was welcomed by the mainstream press: “Marvel’s Iceman Cometh Out,” mused The New York Times. Suddenly all those heterosexual flings of the past had to be seen in a new light: Iceman had been secretly gay all along.