Marvel Comics has created a superhero called "The Blue Ear" in honour of Anthony Smith, aged 4 from Salem, who was born with a chromosomal disorder, called mosaic trisomy 22, that left him with severe hearing loss. The boy, who has no right ear and only partial hearing in his left, wears a blue hearing aid that has enabled him to attend pre-school.
Like so many of us, Anthony Smith just wanted to be like his favourite comic book superheroes; as strong as The Hulk, as fast as Quicksilver, as smart as Mister Fantastic, or as athletic as Spider-Man. However, when he looked up to his superheroes, he saw that none of them seemed to be like him in one key aspect: none of them wore a hearing aid. So, despite the device—which he and his family call the “blue ear”— giving him the ability to hear the world around him, he rejected it.
Anthony told his mother three weeks ago that he was no longer wearing the device because "superheroes don't wear blue ears!"
Alarmed by the boy's refusal, his mother, Christina D'Allesandro, emailed Marvel Comics in NYC, asking for assistance. “Christina sent her heartfelt email into the general catch-all ‘fan mail’ account which is shared by the Heroes group in editorial,” MC editor Bill Rosemann recalls. “She didn’t address it to a specific person and she even mentioned that it would probably end up in our spam filters, but she sent it in anyway, because Christina is one of the real heroes in this story".
The comic book publisher sent Ms D'Allesandro a picture the next day of "Hawkeye" a superhero from 1984 who lost 80% of his hearing and wears aids when he temporarily lost his hearing from a sonic arrow. The company then sent an image of its newest creation, a character called "The Blue Ear" who it said was named after the boy, according to radio station WFXT.
“One of the best things about this entire experience has been Christina relating to us in a series of e-mails how much the art has excited Anthony,” Rosemann points out. "He’s been running around with the pin-ups, showing them to his friends at pre-school, which inspired the teachers to organize a ‘Dress Like a Super Hero’ event".
“Christina tells me that Anthony is wearing his hearing aid so he can be like Blue Ear and listen for other people’s cries for help—and she’s also ordered him a special Blue Ear costume!”
The Parkwood Hotel,
64 - 66 Darlington Road
Tel: 01642 587933