(CNN) -- He's been part of a wildly popular superhero team since its very beginning.
But there's something we never knew about Bobby Drake, aka Ice Man of the X-Men.
Wednesday's issue of "All-New X-Men" No. 40 reveals the truth: Bobby is gay.
"There are thousands if not millions of stories of people who, for many different reasons, felt the need to hide their sexuality," Brian Michael Bendis, who wrote the issue, said in a statement to CNN. "The X-Men, with the conceit of time travel, give us a fascinating platform in which to examine such personal journeys. This is just the first little chapter of a much larger story that will be told."
Ice Man's outing happens in an unusual manner. In the "All-New X-Men" storyline, members of the X-Men team travel to the past, as younger versions of themselves.
Mind-reading mutant Jean Grey (also an X-Men original) asks Bobby why he calls women "hot," when she knows he is gay.
In comic book pages provided to CNN, Bobby doesn't immediately acknowledge that she is telling the truth.
The character of Ice Man is perhaps best known for his appearances in many of the "X-Men" films, as well as the 1981 animated series "Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends."
The "X-Men" series of comics have long been progressive in terms of diversity, with a black female character, Storm, appearing in the 1970s, and the first gay mainstream comic book character, Northstar (who later married in the pages).
DC Comics has also had prominent gay characters in recent years, like Batwoman and the original Green Lantern of Earth 2. Catwoman recently came out as bisexual, and Harley Quinn is portrayed that way as well.
Bendis further shared his thoughts on Twitter about the attention surrounding the story when it leaked on Tuesday: "i swear on my dogs, i wanted the issue to come out and just be. no press. no sensational headlines. no leaks. oh, well..."
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