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Marvel Comics Outs X-Men's Iceman as Gay

There is a term in the comic book industry known as "retconning." Standing for "retroactive continuity," it is the process of revising previously-established information in fictional work or universe - usually for the purpose of opening up dead-end storylines, or updating a character for a new era. Over the years, both Marvel and DC Comics have used retcons to bring characters like Flash or Green Lantern back from long periods of death; or to hit the reset button on characters like Spider-Man, who in recent years had his adult life (specifically his marriage to Mary Jane) erased by a mystical demon (can't make that stuff up).

Well, nowadays comic book superheroes are running a serious diversity initiative, in order to keep up with a more diverse fan base. The Avengers NOW! reboot brought us a black Captain America and female Thor - but aside from minorities and women, there is another group that is seriously underrepresented in comics: The gay community. Well, Marvel has taken notice, and is making some major changes to X-Men to address the issue.

Today's issue of All New X-Men (#40) contains the pivotal moment where Iceman/Bobby Drake (as a younger version of himself) is informed by Jean Grey that his thoughts reveal his homosexuality. The scene plays out with Bobby wondering why his older self (the one in present day X-Men comics) dated women for so long; he ponders bi-sexuality before being told, unequivocally, that he is in fact gay.

All New X-Men #40 is the final issue by series creator Brian Michael Bendis (Ultimate Spider-Man), who knows why the change is of value (already certain circles are calling it "politically-correct pandering"), but wanted to go about introducing it in a much different (read: less controversial) way:

As Bendis told CNN:

"There are thousands if not millions of stories of people who, for many different reasons, felt the need to hide their sexuality. The X-Men, with the conceit of time travel, give us a fascinating platform in which to examine such personal journeys. This is just the first little chapter of a much larger story that will be told."

However, as Bendis stated on Twitter:

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Marvel Comics Outs X-Men's Iceman as Gay