Marvel Comics has never been a company to shy away from teaching moments in its comic books. In the 1970s, Marvel published a trio of Spider-Man comics as part of an anti-drug campaign. New characters are constantly introduced in the X-Men universe to reflect social trends and storylines inspired by real life events continually pop up. They explore death, corruption, and–broad strokes here–people with different abilities.
This is why I’m not surprised by the origin of The Blue Ear. When Marvel gets the chance to do good things, they do good things.
The Blue Ear is inspired by a four year old boy named Anthony Smith. Anthony is hearing impaired and decided one day that he did not want to wear his hearing aids to school anymore. He told his mother, Christina D’Allesandro, “superheroes do not wear blue ears (the brand of hearing aid he uses).”His mother decided to look into the matter. She contacted Marvel and was told all about the series of Hawkeye comics where the hero was deafened in an accident and had to wear hearing aids. That alone could have been enough to get Anthony Smith to start wearing his to school again.
Marvel couldn’t stop there. Marvel editor Lauren Sankovith forwarded Christine’s letter to artist Nelson Ribeiro and asked if he could do something for Anthony. He took the blue ear brand, added “the” in front of it, and came up with The Blue Ear. The Blue Ear’s superpower comes from his hearing aid that lets him pick up distress calls and help people.
Ribiero has sent two illustrations to Anthony Smith so far and explains the entire experience at his blog.
I’m interested in finding out if there are any plans to expand upon The Blue Ear mythology. This story blew up over the weekend, being covered everywhere from Bit Rebels to Gawker and even TV news stations. There’s an interest in the hero and a clear use for children all over the world to learn about hearing impairment. Will they capitalize on this momentum or will this peak as a small act of kindness for a Marvel fan?
What do you think? Would you read The Blue Ear? Sound off below.