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Monday, October 23, 2017 

"Middle eastern" writer willfully degrades Iceman

Quartz is gushing over Marvel's forcible changing of Bobby Drake into a gay character, and bubbling about how a writer of middle eastern/Iranian descent has been given the writing assignment:
[Sina] Grace writes Marvel’s Iceman. Or, more precisely, Grace writes the latest iteration of Iceman, a character who’s been around longer than he has.
Well at least they admit at the beginning that this is merely a different take on an established character, but that's about it, they still go along and accept the retcons anyway.
Long-running comic book superhero stories are told by many writers over time, with various story arcs encompassing different themes and adventures. In Grace’s Iceman—the series began in June, and the latest issue is out on Nov. 1—Bobby Drake is a hero dealing with his sexuality anew as an adult meeting a younger, time-displaced version of the character, written in 2015 by Brian Michael Bendis, who reveals to current Drake that he’s gay.

This likely sounds confusing to the uninitiated but comic book fans are accustomed to serial reading that goes in all directions, with the same characters living multiple lives as imagined by different writers, sometimes simultaneously, often over decades. So, for X-Men fans, the notion of an older Iceman meeting a younger Iceman and discovering from the millennial that it’s cool to be gay is totally within the realm of possibility.
Just which X-fans are we talking about here, exactly? I think the "fans" they speak of are SJWs who're unlikely to be reading the books on any kind of regular basis; let's remember just how poorly comics sell today. They make it sound like the entire fanbase are inherently used to application of different character traits that were never established in the past, which is offensive, ludicrous, and puts words into other people's mouths.
Writing a new story arc for an existing, beloved character is challenging but also one of the great honors in comics. The gig is a dream come true for Grace, and this in particular is a tale he is well-equipped to tell.

Grace on Grace

Grace has plumbed the depths of his own psyche and explored his sexuality before, like in the 2017 graphic novel Nothing Lasts Forever, which chronicles (in the form of a journal) a year of heartbreaks, and in 2012’s Not My Bag, the delightful tale of employment, love, artistic dreams, and the search for personal destiny. He examined his own psychic flaws in the graphic novel Self-Obsessed and 2015 web comedy series by the same name, and in the 2011 Image Comics series L’il Depressed Boy.
Okay, I get it. He adheres to a LGBT lifestyle. But that's still no excuse for blatantly retconning, and if he really cared about the creations, he wouldn't have gone out of his way to just accept the job as set up by Brian Bendis and his degrading retcon. That said, it gets even weirder with the following:
Grace and the character he’s writing, Bobby Drake, are obviously different. The writer has rules to ensure that he doesn’t indulge “foolish writerly tendencies” and delivers Drake, not Grace. Among these rules, Iceman can’t be attracted to the same type of guys as the writer (big, bearded, flannel-shirt-wearing). “I owe it to the canon and readership to create a very specific Marvel story,” Grace says gravely. “This book isn’t my playground.”
Viewed in light of the forced retcons, this is side-splittingly funny. He accepts changing Bobby's sexual orientation/mentality, then it is his playground. Certainly if Iceman is suddenly no longer allowed to be heterosexual, and can only lead same-sex relationships in the stories they're now writing. Must I also point out how galling it is when a man or woman rejects the opposite sex?
Still, Drake is not Grace. The superhero is more mutable than his writer. “I do crib a lot from my own experiences being Middle Eastern and gay,” Grace says. “But Bobby’s a more interesting figure than me because he can pretty much pass as a non-mutant, cis-white male. I don’t know how much I’ll explore that further, but it certainly lends itself to why he waited so long to confront his sexuality.”[...]

Iceman wasn’t Grace’s favorite mutant when he was a kid. Bobby Drake didn’t seem fully formed or memorable, like Wolverine, say. When writing Iceman, Grace came to understand that blankness: the character had been shielding himself from the truth about who he really was.
Now what's this supposed to mean? He makes it sound like Bobby was always a great pretender. At this point, it's apparent Grace is talking about Iceman as though he were a real person, so maybe I was mistaken about the reporters understanding the difference between fiction and reality too. This is nothing more than a pathetic excuse Grace is contriving to see what he wants to. But how fascinating he didn't see Iceman as a favorite years before, presumably because he wasn't written the way he saw fit.
Like Iceman, Grace feels himself to be different from mainstream society, but he is not entirely alone. Comic book heroes are traditionally big, tough, straight, white men, sure—but readers have long been very diverse. The industry is starting to recognize as much and the stories are changing.
Here, they fail to comprehend that it doesn't justify changing an established character almost wholesale instead of at least creating new ones. I'm sure it was practically deliberate.
In March 2017, Matt Baume at Out declared that a “queer comic book revolution” is happening. “From the indie level up to major publishers, creators are beginning to veer outside the long-standing default straight-male gaze—a shift in focus that mirrors that of mainstream culture,” he wrote, noting that Marvel in 2015 introduced a transgender character, Koi Boi, and in 2016 DC Comics’ Wonder Woman came out as bisexual at age 75.
It doesn't take much to figure he considers homosexuality "mainstream", and believes other people's creations are his for the hijacking.
Long before the revolution, however, the X-Men mutants were designed to tap into a universal feeling of outsiderness among the historically oppressed, Grace explains. “Whether it’s race, gender, sexuality, or something else people are born with, can’t change, and are told is bad, they can relate to the mutants, who represent a safe place where they can be themselves and that’s what people love about the characters,” he says.
So homosexuality can't change? That's because such moonbats wouldn't want it to. But the findings of this article suggest otherwise, for both sexes. His statement practically hints he prefers an insular world, which is no good in the long run. That's what led to the ghettoization of comics. At the end, it says:
For now, his mission is evident: keep exploring the possibilities Iceman has opened up for him. After all, Grace has been studying superheroes since he was a kid. “All I’m here to do,” says Grace, “is try to tell an action story with major feels and some good fights.”
It's not hard to guess what he means by that, and most of the battles Marvel's featured over the past decade are uninspired, and made that way because of all the nasty politics they forced in. The reason these kind of stories don't work is because the ideas they're forcing onto the established characters became just about the only real emphasis, or it becomes impossible to overlook. If this remains in place even after the "Legacy initiative" takes place, then it'll only prove they're not looking to solve anything.

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They had a gay superhero, Northstar, but he was never interesting. These aren't characters to these people, they're concepts to be molded into their worldview because agendas are more important than stories. Add in the fact that few modern writers care about the past because putting their stamp on and having the name title on their resume is what they're really after, telling the stories they want whether it matches the characters or not. And if you disagree they'll use all the social cards they can to shut you up.

My point for mentioning Northstar is that they should try to make him interesting rather than remake a character people like (and Iceman has had some good showings) to push their own perspective. Seriously, make Northstar interesting.

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