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Marvel sprang into action last year to help convince a 4-year-old boy that, yes, superheroes do wear hearing aids, and now the publisher is taking the inspirational message to hearing-impaired children across the country.
As you may recall, Christina D’Allesandro reached out to Marvel last spring after her son Anthony Smith told he wasn’t going to use his hearing aid anymore because “superheroes don’t have blue ears.” The company responded first with evidence of Hawkeye’s hearing loss in the 1980s and then with artwork by Nelson Ribeiro and Manny Mederos depicting Anthony Smith as the superhero Blue Ear, who even has his own Wikipedia entry. The story was picked up by international media, leading D’Allesandro to receive emails from from across the globe from the parents of hearing-impaired children.
Now the New Hampshire Union Leader reports that D’Allesandro and Anthony are traveling to New York City today, where Marvel and hearing-aid manufacturer Phonak will unveil a poster featuring Iron Man that will be distributed to pediatric audiology clinics nationwide. Iron Man himself will be in attendance at the public presentation, held at the Center for Hearing and Communication.
The poster, which will be given to young patients, is described as a one-page comic based on a short story by Christos Gage and featuring the art of Paco Medina. In the story, a group of kids playing soccer are reluctant to allow a deaf classmate into the game until Iron Man arrives isn’t much different than they are — he only uses technology to help him be his best.
“We’re hoping people can see these posters and walk away feeling positive about hearing loss and those that rely on hearing aids,” Marvel Editor Bill Rosemann told the Union Leader.