Christina D’Allesandro, mother of five year old Anthony Smith, found herself desperate to try and help her son and get him to wear his hearing aid. Anthony didn’t believe he should wear if because “superheros don’t wear hearing aids.” Anthony is fully deaf in one ear, and is partially deaf in the other. Not sure what to do, Christina went on Marvel Comics’ website, looking to reach out to someone, asking if they had any hearing impaired heroes. But the answer she got from Marvel was more than she ever expected, when they reached out to here a few weeks later, and made Anthony’s dreams become a reality. They turned Anthony into a superhero, named The Blue Ear, and made him an honorary Avenger.
Two Marvel artists, Manny Mederos and Nelson Ribeiro, both created two separate comic covers featuring Anthony as his new superhero alter ego, one featuring a young version of Blue Ear with Hakweye, and another featuring an older version of Blue Ear, now as a full fledged superhero. According to Christina, when Anthony first saw the cover, he exclaimed “‘Oh my God, it’s me!” The artists gave Blue Ear an ear power, which gives him the power to hear the pin drop on the other side of the state, which he uses to hear when people are in need of help when they’re in trouble.
One of Marvel’s editors, Bill Rosemann, talked about just why it was so easy for them to respond to Christina’s plea: “The reason why it was so easy for us to respond to this is because our characters, which were invented around the ’60s, all have real challenges.” He then continued, talking about just how many of the different Marvel characters “became superheroes despite of — or because of — the challenges they face.” He then finished by saying, “Our mantra is what Stan Lee said: With great power there must come great responsibility. Our guys thought, ‘If I have the ability to draw, I am going to use it to help someone like Anthony feel comfortable about his hearing aid.’ “
This is such a huge and exciting thing to do for Anthony, and I’m glad to see Marvel stepped in to help his family. On top of all this, Anthony has been invited out to be a special guest in New York City at the Center For Hearing and Communication, where he will get the chance to meet another Marvel superhero, Iron Man. It’s a very cool twist of fate, and it’s stories like this that just go to show how far some companies are willing to go to help their fans. I can’t imagine how cool it must be for Anthony to now say that he’s been turned into a superhero, an Honorary Avenger, and gets the chance to meet Iron Man. He’s a very lucky young boy, and I’m glad to see Marvel helped make his dream come true, and it makes me proud to call myself a Marvel fan.