Four-year-old comic book fan Anthony Smith is deaf in his right ear and has hearing damage in his left. He also refused to wear his hearing aid (which he calls “Blue Ear” because it is blue), because “superheroes don’t wear hearing aids.” So in a long-shot attempt to help her son, Anthony’s mom emailed Marvel for ideas.
“She didn’t know a specific person to write to here at Marvel, and even figured it might get caught in our spam filters, but she sent it in anyway, because that’s the kind of great parent Christina is,” said Marvel editor Bill Rosemann. “And it was her inspiring effort to help her son that touched so many of us here. As a fellow parent of a toddler, I can understand where she’s coming from, so I forwarded the email around the rest of Editorial, asking what we could do to help, and like when Cap yells, ‘Avengers Assemble,’ the gang leapt into action.”
Not only did Anthony receive an image of the superhero Hawkeye, who lost 80 percent of his hearing back in the ’80s and wore hearing aids — Anthony also received a drawing, by Nelson Ribeiro in Collected Editions, of a brand-new superhero: “Blue Ear.”
Now, with his hearing aid back in, Anthony is able to “fight battles and help people.” His preschool, for hearing-impaired kids, recently hosted a superhero week to inspire the students to overcome their limitations.