3 years ago5,000+ Views

Marvel can't keep their stories straight- oh wait a minute.

The newest issue of Uncanny X-Men had a lot to unpack (including the news that there are *still* definitely no more X-Men... just like there weren't any after House of M). The news that many fans were interested in had to do with Iceman- we've been speculating about his sexuality for a while, and we finally have a confirmation.

Cool, right?

Well, sort of. In the above panel, the current Iceman is interacting with his younger self who is choosing to come out. Even though the older Iceman has had relationships with women, it seems like the B-word was never on the table (bisexual, the word is bisexual). I want to make it clear that there is nothing wrong with either identity. My problem is not with a monosexual identity (gay or straight), but with Marvel's seeming incoherence when it comes to anything else.

See this? It didn't count.

Even though Hercules and Wolverine shared a romantic kiss in one of the comics, because it took place in an alternate universe neither one of them is considered anything but straight. And maybe if there were more LGBT+ characters in comics, this wouldn't be a huge deal. But frankly, the major comic publishers (Marvel AND DC) have a lot of catching up to do.

Marvel isn't taking pride in what they *are* doing

The recent release of Angela: Queen of Hel revealed something that fans have suspected for a while: Angela is in a relationship with Sera. And since the two of them are a major part of this series, this has the potential to be a huge step forward when it comes to LGBT+ representation. Not only could this mean that Angela is bisexual, but this places Sera, a trans woman, in a very prominent canonical relationship. I can't even process how awesome and completely unprecedented that is.

Too bad Marvel isn't standing by it.

Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso refused to confirm anything about their identities, stating:
"That’s a question for readers to ponder and answer for themselves. We’re not looking to put labels on the character or the series. We’d prefer that the story Marguerite, Kim and Stephanie are telling — all aspects of it — speak for itself."
And while that might be a nice message in a different context (let people be people, not confined by labels or expectations), with the explicit confirmations regarding Hercules and now Iceman, the message seems to be: We're not interested in transgressive LGBT+ stories.

To be honest, I'm not angry.

But I am disappointed. So much of Marvel's marketing lately has been about being All-New and All-Different, but what it really feels like is... well, marketing. No substance. There are lots of amazing characters of color, but almost no nonwhite writers. Lots of new female characters, but staggeringly few female writers (and plenty of confirmed accusations of sexual harassment in the workplace). They *look* like they're making strides forward, but behind the scenes it sounds like business as usual. And in the meantime, they'll be profiting off their "progressive" new image.

And if we don't buy it... well they'll hardly chalk it up to their failure to decisively stand by their positive choices.

What are we supposed to make of this?

It honestly feels like we're in a lose-lose situation when it comes to these issues. Every step forward looks like a few steps back to me... but maybe I'm just having one of those days? @GinTenma @ButterflyBlu @ChosenKnight @DonovanMoore @WayneWinquist @konaskorner @AnnaDodd @AimeeH @InPlainSight @madelynnknight @JonPatrickHyde @chris98vamg @GinnaL13 @tardisdragon7 @TransAnmeWeirdo @CynHaven @Echo7 @robmiller @MooshieBay @baileykayleen I trust all of you on this one: What do you think is going on here?
@shannonl5 I think part of the problem is the eternal need to be labelled as 'something' whatever that might be....I don't think we need to label characters with a sexual identity, they just are the people they are, as we are in life. I don't like to label others, they may see their identity differently. While I see your direct issue here, I think its a symptom of something bigger, that, and I think people are now more accepting of the lg part of lgbt, but not so much about the b and the t....there still seems to be some stigmas attached.
@DonovanMoore @InPlainSight that's a really good point! There's no reason why a huge company like Marvel wouldn't be reaching out to the community. The writer Marguerite Bennett and I actually went to the same school (though not the same program/same time) so I definitely want to support her! She's also doing great work with DC-she wrote the recent Batgirl arc which included the wedding of one of their first openly trans characters. So in some senses I feel like the writing is there- but the company isn't ready to stand by it. I totally agree with you though: hiring more LGBT+ writers and editors would go a long way towards representation- and proving that they really *mean* it
@InPlainSight I think that's a very good point. And like @DonovanMoore mentioned, these aren't really things that apply to heterosexual characters (or people for that matter). There's no need for a label because it's already assumed (which is in itself a problem, we shouldn't be assuming anything about anyone). It's not fair, but at the same time since people are generally assumed to be cis and straight until proven otherwise, when it comes to representation I feel like *I* at least need some sort of contextual confirmation. There's been a lot of backlash in fan communities (not here of course!) because lots of fans headcanon characters as not straight and some members of the community sort of demand justification for it.... it's just a mess
ok i do agree with you there. if you support something do it wholeheartedly
and I feel they are allowed to. it's their comic their story. they can shy away from anything and anybody who doesnt agree with it can just stop reading. whether they have are challenging the stigma or not is their choice as creators. who cares. they aren't in the business of making people change their ways of thinking. they are in the business to bring us great stories and make money.
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