When 4-year-old comic book fan Anthony Smith refused to wear his hearing aids to school because “superheroes don’t wear hearing aids,” his mother Christina sent a letter to Marvel Comics. She thought it would end up in their spam filters. Instead, it spawned an inspiring new superhero.
In a letter that Editor Bill Rosemann sent back to Christina, he pointed out that in a limited series from the 1980s, Hawkeye had lost his hearing and had to wear hearing aids. He also sent a jpg of the West Coast Avengers #1 cover, the first issue to feature the hard-of-hearing Avenger.
This led them to send along a sketch of Hawkeye and the Blue Ear standing side-by-side. He also wrote that if Anthony wore his hearing aids to school, he’d be named an honorary Avenger.
Then, at an event celebrating both Anthony and the new partnership between Marvel and Phonak, Anthony’s hearing aid supplier, Christos Gage and Paco Medina drew up a poster that features Iron Man and a boy named Ethan who’s being bullied by his classmates for being hard-of-hearing. When the other kids refuse to allow Ethan to play soccer, Iron Man swoops in and explains how hearing aids are a lot like his suit.
Not only did Antony get to meet Iron Man, but they even gave him his very own Iron Man costume.
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