Back in 2012, Marvel developed a hearing-impaired superhero named The Blue Ear to convince a little boy - then-four-year-old Anthony Smith, who buried his hearing aids in the sand in frustration - that disabilities can't stop someone from being a superhero.
The Blue Ear teamed up with Hawkeye back then, but in an upcoming one-shot comic, he'll stand alongside a new hearing-disabled superheroine, Sapheara. Sapheara wears cochlear implants, and was created in part by Marvel Custom Solutions and the Children's Hearing Institute of New York.
Unveiled this past Saturday at the Ear Institute at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai, Marvel's Sound Effects comic sees the new pint-sized heroine along with her partner, who was named after the boy that inspired him, teaming up with Iron Man to fight crime, as well as educate children on how to properly use and maintain hearing devices.
The comic stands to show that, like Marvel's Daredevil, having disabilities doesn't mean you can't be a superhero. Alongside several of the hardworking people behind the project, Iron Man made an appearance to endorse his new friends.
Dr. Ronald Hoffman, the director at the Ear Institute at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, originally developed the idea for the new duo in an effort to encourage confidence for hearing-disabled children and their families. Said Hoffman:
Having Sapheara as a resource for entertainment and education could help many more patients receive the evaluations and care they need to lead active and engaged lives.
The comic will be distributed to about 150,000 students, ranging from 3rd to 7th grade, in New York City. If that doesn't warm your heart, I don't know what will.