Marvel Created Superhero “The Blue Ear” To Support What?
Answer: Hearing Impaired Children
In 2012, four-year-old Anthony Smith began refusing to wear his hearing aid to school, informing his mother that super heroes don’t wear “blue ears” (hearing aids). His mother, Christina, was at a loss for how to convince Anthony to wear the hearing aid and wrote a letter to Marvel’s fan mail department asking for help convincing her son that there wasn’t anything unheroic about wearing a hearing aid.
The Marvel staff brainstormed and quickly came up with an example of a superhero that wore hearing aids: Hawkeye (who had lost 80% of his natural hearing during a story arc in the 1980s). Not satisfied with simply pointing out a superhero that used hearing aids, however, the Marvel staff created a brand new superhero, The Blue Ear (Anthony and his family jokingly called his blue hearing aid The Blue Ear). Marvel artist Nelson Ribeiro drew the original sketch for the character.
Marvel sent the comic mockups to Anthony, who proudly took them to his school for the hearing impaired and showed them to all the other children. Since then, The Blue Ear has become a mascot encouraging children to embrace their hearing aids and see them not as a hindrance, but a superpower.
Image courtesy of Marvel.