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Iron Man and Blue Ear debut poster campaign for hearing-impaired kids


Marvel/Phonak event (photo by Diane Bondareff)

Every hero needs to experience their first team-up, and Anthony Smith, a.k.a. Blue Ear, got to do that this past week. It didn’t start with the typical fight that such meetings usually start with, but then again, this wasn’t a typical team-up.

Last year Anthony’s mom, Christina D’Allesandro, reached out to Marvel after her son Anthony Smith told he wasn’t going to use his hearing aid anymore because “superheroes don’t have blue ears.” Marvel Editor Bill Rosemann 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.

The story caught the attention of media and families with hearing-impaired children. It also caught the eye of Phonak, the largest distributor of hearing aids in the world. They worked with Marvel Custom Solutions, which regularly works with companies and organizations to create custom comics, on a poster that’s being distributed to pediatric audiology clinics. Written by Christos Gage and drawn by Paco Medina, the poster features Iron Man and a hearing-impaired boy who just wants to be treated like any other kid.

And this past week, Blue Ear attended an event at the Center for Hearing and Communication to debut the poster — as well as to meet fellow superhero Iron Man.

“When Christina told us about Anthony, she taught us about some of the unique challenges that children who wear hearing aids face,” Rosemann told “When our friends at Phonak heard about how the Marvel heroes helped him, they realized how together we could help spread the message even further.”

Check out the poster below, and head over to to see more pictures of Blue Ear and Iron Man’s first team-up.




Good job, Marvel and good job Phonak.

A big thumbs-up to Marvel, Phonak, Gage and Medina for doing this. This is exactly what superheroes should do: educate and inspire kids. I’m glad stuff like this exists, it’s really important to children who need it.

How can we get copies of this poster for our hearing impaired children and their schools?

Please let me know how I can purchase a copy of this poster. Iron Man it’s my son’s favorite (he even picked his hearing aids in the maroon color with gold glitter eat molds to look like Iron Man!) and I couldn’t believe it when I saw this. He struggles wearing his hearing aides at school and in public because he is self conscious about them, and I think this would help with that! Thank you so much for doing this for these kids!

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