This week I reached a personal milestone – I had a letter printed in a US Marvel comic! My letter – which you can read below in full – appears in this month’s edition of Iceman (issue #10).

When I wrote to the editor of Iceman, my intention wasn’t to be featured in the letters page per se; I actually wrote in, simply to thank the team behind the comic for such a stellar job. The fact that the letter was printed – in a comic I’ve thoroughly enjoyed over this past year – is just a bonus.

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Before I set out the letter below, I need to put the letter into some context. The letter was written directly after I had read issue #4 – a comic which saw Iceman, aka Bobby Drake, finally come out to his parents. The way in which Bobby Drake’s storyline has been handled in this solo book has been a real triumph for Marvel Comics and I wanted to say ‘thank you’ for creating such a great storyline for my favourite X-Men character.

Incidentally, the comic is due to conclude next month due to Marvel’s recent crop of comic book cancellations; appearing in the letters page feels like an honour.

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Here’s the letter:

“Hi X-Team,

“Thank you. As I type these words, it’s a holiday weekend over here in the UK and it also happens to be Pride weekend in Manchester (my home city). This is important to note because I’ve just read ICEMAN issue #4 and, as the city celebrates love and sexual orientation in all its many facets and forms, this latest issue of ICEMAN has concluded with Bobby Drake turning to his parents and uttering the all-important words, ‘I’m gay’. The two events have compelled me to write in.

“I’m a 35-year-old gay man who is married and very comfortable with his sexuality; but, once upon a time, that wasn’t the case. Turn the clock back 16 years to when I was 19 and I’d only just come out. At this point in my life, a few friends knew I was gay, but I didn’t feel comfortable telling my parents. I lost count of the amount of times over the course of the next two years I sat opposite my mother, trying to force the words ‘I’m gay’ out of my mouth with no success. Don’t get me wrong, my mother is lovely and one of my strongest supporters, but hey, you never know how anyone is going to react.

“Back then, as I was unable to find the words to give up my ‘secret’, I would often look to gay fashion magazines (of the non-dirty variety) for help. I figured, if I left a magazine lying around in the bedroom my mother would see it, connect the dots and I wouldn’t have to do all the hard work. In part, this plan sort of worked, and it gave me enough courage to fess up and say the words ‘I’m gay’. To which of course she responded: ‘I know’.

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“Anyway, this brings me back to this latest issue and that final page. Had this ICEMAN comic existed 16 years ago, I know with complete certainty that this issue would have been extremely important to me. I would have left this issue on my bed, with the final page open for all to see, so that Bobby Drake could say the words ‘I’m gay’ that I so desperately couldn’t. Would it have changed the course of my life? No, but maybe it would have started the ball rolling a little sooner.

“I like to think that perhaps there are young readers out there, who are finding themselves in a similar situation and are now using Bobby Drake’s voice as their own. Perhaps he can get the ball rolling for them.

“I thank you on behalf of the 19-year-old person I was, as well as the 35-year-old person I am now, for helping those of us out there who need a voice.

“Best regards, Alex.”

Here’s the reply:

“This goes out to the 35-year-old you and the time-displaced 19-year-old-you: HUGS. Thanks for sharing, Alex! Here’s to more Marvel tales that affect kids for the better!”

As noted above, it is an honour to have appeared in a comic I admire so much. Iceman has had a short, but inspirational run and I am as pleased as punch that I’ve appeared within its pages.

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