Stories like this melt my heart. They also help to sustain what little faith in humanity I have left. Anthony Smith is a four-year-old boy with mosaic trisomy 22. This brave kid inspired the team at Marvel Comics to create the superhero Blue Ear in his honour.
As a result of this rare chromosomal disorder, Anthony is deaf. He wears a hearing aid, which everyone calls his “blue ear”. Feeling frustrated with this device, Anthony exclaimed that superheroes don’t have blue ears. Anthony’s mother sent his story to the Marvel team.
Amongst the usual deluge of fan mail from readers, this particular letter stood out. Editor Bill Rosemann stated:
“We were raised with the words of Stan Lee ringing in our ears: ‘With great power, there must also come a great responsibility. If we don’t use whatever skills we have to help others, why are we here at Marvel?”
Rosemann also shared:
“As a fellow parent of a toddler, I can only imagine her situation, so I shared the email to the rest of Editorial, asking how we could help…wondering if there were any artists who would be willing to draw something for Anthony. And just like when Captain America yells, ‘Avengers Assemble,’ the squad quickly responded.”
The Marvel team sprung into action, and assistant editor Nelson Ribeiro worked with artist Manny Mederos to create the heroic character. Blue Ear has a device that gives him the power of super-hearing. He works with a team called Inter-C.O.M., a group of super-powered specials needs kids that fight for justice.
After seeing the hero that he inspired, Anthony is now proud of his hearing aid. What a way to encourage a young boy to believe in himself, and not be ashamed of who he is!
So geeks, if you were to have a superhero based on you, who would it be? Drop your superhero names in the comments!