Anthony Smith, a.k.a. Blue Ear, has teamed up with his superhero idol, Iron Man, this week in New York on a mission to help hearing impaired children.
Anthony, a 5-year-old comic book fan from Salem, New Hampshire was immortalized as honorary Avenger, Blue Ear, by Marvel Comics last year. Anthony’s mother, Christina D’Allesandro appealed to Marvel for help after Anthony refused to wear his hearing aid, saying “superheroes don’t wear hearing aids.”
CBS6 reports that it was only a few weeks after her appeal that Marvel came out with, “Blue Ear” a superhero who, thanks to his hearing aid, can hear a pin drop from the other side of the state. Anthony was born with the genetic disorder, Mosaic trisomy 22, and is completely deaf in his right ear with partial hearing in his left.
Anthony and his mother traveled to New York City this week to join forces with Iron Man in unveiling a new poster from Marvel and hearing aid company, Phonak at the Center for Hearing and Communication clinic. The poster, which aims to inspire children and remove the stigma of living with hearing disabilities, shows Iron Man explaining that kids with hearing aids are just like him as they use technology to help them be their best.
“Every kid today at the launch was given a poster to take home,” D’Allesandro told WMUR9 New Hampshire. “Phonak’s going to take a really active role in distributing the poster to every pediatric audiology department, and it’s something they want to make available to kids who want to put it up in their bedrooms, and that was the original design.”
Blue Ear was designed by Marvel artists Manny Mederos and Nelson Ribeiro and was first depicted teaming up with Avenger, Hawkeye. Marvel editor Bill Roseman said, “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.”
CBS reports since the advent of Blue Ear, Anthony Smith now wears his hearing aid proudly. Marvel has said that while there is no standalone comic book series planned for Blue Ear at this stage, considering the success of the Iron Man poster, a Blue Ear comic is a future possibility.