Why Bobby Isn't Gay
(but why people may think he could be)
by ValKerrie

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!!!)

-(main) - (biography) - (discussion) - (stories) - (pictures) - (links) - (updates)-