We've previously covered the origins of Spider-Man (twice) and Firestar. This time, we're going back to season 2 of Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends, which kicks off with the origin of Bobby Drake, aka Iceman (Frank Welker).
Friends, I have an ulterior motive for posting this particular episode. In case you didn't read the news online earlier today, the idiots at Marvel have green-lighted writer Brian Michael Bendis' latest twist in X-Men history, taking effect with issue 40 of the current series, out tomorrow. You see, what Mr. Bendis, an acclaimed writer, but not quite so acclaimed when it comes to television, has decided to do is ret-con Mr. Drake into a gay man, becoming the 3rd (at least) pre-established Marvel character in the last decade, after the Rawhide Kid and Northstar, to be rebooted as gay.
Why take this step? For the sake of a cheap headline on a slow news day. Under publisher Dan Buckley, Marvel has made way too many of these moves, aimed at mainstream cross-promotion, but at the same time, it devalues characters who've been around since the 60's (Rawhide Kid and Iceman) or late 70's (Northstar). To my knowledge, Marvel hasn't developed a totally original gay superhero, though DC has in recent times, and instead will randomly choose pre-established characters and trot them out to the press, and, in particular, the gay & lesbian community, which comics publishers feel is still an under-served portion of their audience.
As noted, DC created a totally new gay superhero for a recent reboot of Teen Titans, but they've also rebooted pre-established characters, same as Marvel. Archie introduced their first gay character, Kevin Keller, as a positive role model (Is there any other kind of role model in Riverdale, anyway?), about 3-4 years ago, but his series was quietly cancelled recently, although he'll probably figure in the Archie reboot that begins in June. The shock value wore off a long time ago. I don't read the X-Men books anymore, haven't in years, and according to the articles I've read, they're using the time travel gimmick currently in those books as an excuse to reboot Iceman as gay. A poor excuse at that.
"The Origin of Iceman" gets a B.