Emma Frost #1 - #6, New X-Men #139.
Emma Frost grew up in the home of an upper-class family located in the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts. The Frost family -- consisting of Winston (father), Hazel (mother), Christian (older brother), Adrienne (oldest sister), Emma (middle sister), and Cordelia (youngest sister) – was extremely competitive. Winston ran the family like a business, and backstabbing was second nature to them.
Emma went to the Snow Valley School for Girls, where she tried perfecting her grades to win her father's approval. But she was a B student, so her father often criticized her for it. She and her brother Christian confided in each other for emotional support over their abrasive father.
During adolescence, Emma received the typical headaches of an emerging telepath. She heard the voices and thoughts of others and had disturbing dreams. Unaware she was a mutant, she kept her strange problems a secret because she did not want her family to think she was crazy and kick her out of the house.
Emma's powers finally emerged, and she taught herself to control her powers. She used her telepathy to easily remember course material and read the minds of others to perfect her grades. Now an A student, Emma won approval from her father, who finally believed in her potential.
Ian Kendell, Emma's art teacher, recognized Emma's intelligence and natural teaching abilities when she tutored her fellow classmates. He encouraged her to excel academically, and they maintained a close student-teacher relationship, but it ended when Emma attempted to kiss him. Through sneaky tactics, her father found out and had the teacher fired from the school. Emma was angry at her father, but also learned more of his deceptive methods.
Emma finally graduated high school at an early age of 15-16, and the Frosts went on a post-graduation, family vacation. During the vacation, Emma discovered secrets about her family -- her father had extramarital relations, and Adrienne posed for a magazine without her father’s permission. So, Emma exposed their secrets to the family. Although angry at Emma, her father admired her for sneaky, manipulative tactics and seriously considered her as an heir to the Frost family fortune. After all, Cordelia was a rebellious underachiever into drugs, tattoos, and goth clothing; Adrienne was always one step behind the Frost family manipulations; and Christian was gay.
Christian moved out of the Frost household and lived with his boyfriend to avoid his father's discrimination. Emma supported her brother and often visited him for movie and popcorn nights, but she became increasingly concerned with his drug addictions. Their mother and Cordelia were already lost to drugs, and she didn't want to lose another one. Christian once attempted suicide, and Emma believed he needed serious help, so she informed their father. Her father praised her for the information she gave him and promised Christian would be sent to a rehabilitation center.
During an important family meeting, Winston chose Emma as the heir of his inheritance, and not Adrienne, the oldest and most competitive towards Emma. He then sent Christian to a mental institution for the insane, and not a rehab center, like he promised to Emma. Disgusted, she rejected her father's inheritance and told her father she would make it her own way without his help.
Scans from the "Emma Frost" series
Gaining Stock Information
Generation X Minus 1.
With only 400 dollars she took from her savings account, Emma was poor and lived on the streets, but she used her telepathy to gain valuable stock information at prestigious galas she sneaked into. She learned of the Hellfire Club and its members and even met Harry Leland, Dark Beast, and Banshee -- people she would interact in a greater capacity later in her life.
*This issue revealed that Emma was 16, a year after her parents disinherited her. Since this issue was released before the “Emma Frost” series, Emma's background was retconned where she left home; her parents did not disinherit her. In fact, her father offered his inheritance to her.
Living on the Streets
Emma Frost #7 - #12.
Emma worked a few jobs but was fired for her clumsiness and inexperience. As a dishwasher, she met Troy Killkelly, and the two developed a romantic relationship. He owed money to a Boston gang, and Emma became entangled in his affair. She helped Troy raise money through gambling and using her telepathy to win games, but they irresponsibly spent the money and had none by the deadline, so the gang kidnapped the couple. Aware of Emma's rich family, Troy suggested the gang hold her for pretend ransom and demand money from her father. They filmed the extortion and sent the tape to Winston, but the plan backfired when Winston said Emma was not worth the money. The gang held Emma for ransom for real this time and killed Troy to demonstrate that they were not bluffing.
Meanwhile, Adrienne wanted to get back at Winston, who accused her of stealing company money, so she gave the tape to the media. Winston had no choice but to send the money to the gang to prevent sabotaging his public image.
The gang intended to kill Emma even after receiving the ransom money, so she used her telepathy to manipulate the gang into turning on each other. In confusion, the gang killed each other, and Emma finally freed herself of them. She took the ransom money and finally left Beantown and headed for the Big Apple.
Emma Frost #13 - #18.
Emma discovered that her roommate, Christie McDermott, was dating Ian Kendell, now a university professor. With age barriers gone, Emma and Ian quickly developed an attraction to each other.
Astrid Bloom, a fellow mutant telepath, befriended Emma and revealed to her that she was a mutant. Astrid freely taught Emma telepathic tricks without any regard for ethical standards. She disliked humans because they discriminated against mutants. Emma became exposed to their discrimination from protests and anti-mutant sentiments discussed in classrooms, so she shared similar opinions about humans with Astrid.
Emma and Ian wanted a romantic relationship, so he broke up with Christie. Angry and hurt, she believed Emma had stolen her boyfriend, and so she threatened to tell school administrators of Emma and Ian's student-teacher relationship. He tried to stop Christie and, in a bizarre outrage, choked her. Emma scanned his mind and discovered that Astrid had telepathically controlled Ian into choking Christie. She was also behind Christie's behavior, too. Emma soon realized Astrid had manipulated several people they had met in college, as it explained the bizarre behavior she witnessed from ex-friends.
Astrid said she did all this for Emma because she wanted to expose humans for what they really were -- shallow and distrustful -- but Emma did not understand Astrid's reasonings and confronted her in a telepathic battle. A much stronger telepath, she won the battle and left Astrid in a comatose state.
With Christie loose on the run, Emma telepathically stopped her from telling school administrators of Emma and Ian's relationship and his choking outrage. She made Christie look insane, and so the committee easily dismissed her accusations.
Emma felt she owed Ian an explanation of the bizarre events that had occurred, so she told him everything, and then revealed she was a telepathic mutant. Many things began making sense for Ian, and he finally realized why it seemed like she could read his mind all the time. Unfortunately, though, Ian was not a supporter of mutants, so he told Emma to get away from him and left her.
Just before Emma left college, she admitted that Astrid was really right about people: they were ruthless and cold.