If you were born in a very specific window of time (basically mid- to late-70’s), Marvel has been a part of your “screen time” at every developmental stage. In the early 1980s, we were given Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, a traditional Saturday morning binge cartoon that also included Iceman and Firestar.
In the early 1990s we graduated to X-Men: The Animated Series, which was alright for a 13-16-year-old to watch because, even though it was a cartoon, it was X-MEN! SUPERHEROES! It tied in nicely with the popularity of X-Men: Volume 2 and included Cyclops, Wolverine, Rogue, Storm, and Gambit, among others. Some of the recurring characters included Iceman, Sabretooth, Juggernaut, and Morph (Changeling). It was exactly what my rapidly developing machismo needed.
When we were in college or just out on our own as young adults, we got three X-Men movies in six years that focused on the tension between mutants and humans and the reality of what had to be done about the conflict. Those movies starred a familiar roster of Professor X, Magneto, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Wolverine, Storm, Mystique, and Rogue, but eventually expanded to include characters such as Pyro, Iceman, Angel, Colossus, and Beast.
Literally growing up with these shows, I developed quite an affinity for many of the characters, but perhaps none more so than Bobby Drake, aka Iceman. One of Marvel’s OG superheroes (he was there at the beginning – 1963’s X-Men #1), he was a constant in some of the most popular offerings the brand had for more than 30 years, including 1986’s X-Factor and 1975’s The Champions #1.
Since that time, however, Iceman’s greatest claim to fame was when he came out as gay in All-New X-Men #40 in 2015, a reality that was then confusingly ret-conned in the Extermination series three years later (although the current character still is homosexual). Since Iceman’s “coming out” party in 2015, he has had a disappointingly choppy, start-stop run that doesn’t do justice to one of Marvel’s most treasured characters.
Except for several short-run series in 2017-2019 (Thawing Out, Absolute Zero, Amazing Friends) or his token cameo in House of X (despite repeatedly over the years being described as an Omega-level mutant), Iceman has unfortunately been missing from the mutant world he helped create.
Most recently, Iceman has been spotted as a member of Marauders, so we will see where that takes him. My hopes are always high. If he can ever retake his place atop the Marvel pantheon, here are a few keys worth grabbing.
In terms of original Iceman X-Men issues, if you can afford #1 or #2, you probably already have them. A much more affordable way to get in on Iceman is to invest in X-Men #44, which begins the origin of Bobby Drake as Iceman.
There are only two existing 9.8 copies here, but more than 120 in the 9.0-9.6 range. It appears as though with enough looking and patience, you can get a 9.0 copy for under $200. The most recent copy sold in June for $143.
Strange Tales #120
Stan Lee said in multiple interviews that Iceman was based on the Human Torch, but they just wanted to create a character with the reverse of Torch’s powers. Strange Tales #120 – from 1964 – is the first time these yin and yang characters team up, creating a pairing that continues even until Marvel (weirdly) made Iceman a member of the Fantastic Four in 2018. Presumably, the two don’t spend too much time in close proximity to one another when they are powered up.
Supply here is low, with only 171 blue label CGC in the registry. The last six months have seen a small number of sales, the highest setting the buyer back $370 for a 9.2 copy in June. But you shouldn’t have a problem buying in a 6.0-7.0 on this book for around $100.
Amazing Spider-Man #92
Here is your first-ever showdown between Iceman and the web-slinger. These two would, of course, go on to partner up on screen and in comics for years to come. In Spider-Man #92, Drake mistakenly thinks Spidey is mistreating Gwen Stacy so attacks him as Iceman.
If you skip date night this month, you can easily add a 9.4 copy of this issue to your collection. The most recent copy in this grade sold a month ago for $168. Want a mid-grade copy? A 7.0 sold earlier this year for $19.
As everyone clamors to get high-value copies of X-Factor #5 and X-Factor #6 these days (Apocalypse!), the reboot of the original X-Men occurs back in X-Factor #1, and if you want to get technical, a cameo appearance in Avengers #263.
These books are selling heavily, sometimes several a week. A 9.8 copy sold in late October for $59, significantly down from the $130-$140 price tag during the summer.
Have any Iceman issues you love? Let me know what they are in the comments.
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