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.
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.
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