Friday, February 8, 2019

An Uncanny X-Carnival

Color cover of Bizarre Adventures No. 27
Winter Carnival has once again arrived on campus, and with it come the usual events and sights that have become long-standing traditions here at Dartmouth over the years. This year's theme, "ICE AGE: 250 Years of Winter," is represented on the green by a large snow sculpture of what looks like, perhaps, a mammoth. It's hard to tell because of the rain that we've had here in Hanover this week. Over the decades, similar sculptures have captured the imaginations of carnival-goers and even a national audience. We've blogged before many times about Winter Carnival, and how it was so in the national zeitgeist in the early 20th century that at one point Hollywood made a movie about it.

First page of the story about Iceman and Winter Carnival, with Bobby Drake admiring a snow sculpture of Angel, an X-ManHowever, today, we want to move from big screen to small print and talk about a time when an X-Man attended Winter Carnival, way back in 1981. Bobby Drake, known more familiarly as the superhero Iceman, was one of the original five X-Men created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby back in 1963. The perpetual youngster of the group, Iceman often was overshadowed by the other members of the team like Cyclops, Angel, or Jean Grey (aka Marvel Girl or Phoenix). However, the young mutant comes into his own as a visiting sophomore at Dartmouth during Winter Carnival. Originally published in 1981, it was one of three X-Men-related stories in issue number 27 of Marvel's Bizarre Adventures magazine.

page from the Winter Carnival X-Man story, showing Iceman foiling the robbers' attempts to steal computer components from Dartmouth
In the story, Iceman stops thieves from stealing components of Dartmouth's state-of-the-art computer system, and then goes on to be the guest of honor at Winter Carnival, where he is finally and truly "in his element." Although Bizarre Adventures wasn't technically a comic book, the story was re-printed in 2016 in the back of a variant edition of Uncanny X-Men no. 600, which was donated to special collections by Dartmouth Library's Digital Humanities Librarian, Laura Braunstein.

To see both versions, come to special collections and ask for Rare PN6728.X2 U536 2016. Or, if you're in the area for Winter Carnival this year, check out our exhibit in the foyer called "Out in the Cold," installed in collaboration with the larger festivities occurring all over campus for the next few days.

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