Marvel Comics took a little time out this week from rolling in their nearly unprecedented cash haul from The Avengers movie to inspire a hearing-impaired boy in New Hampshire after his mother wrote the superhero empire pleading for help with her son.
After months of seeming progress in his social and school life, 4-year-old Anthony Smith apparently told his mother that he would no longer wear his "blue ear" hearing aid because he'd never seen a superhero wear one.
So his mom, Christina D'Allesandro, decided to ask Marvel if that's actually the case.
"She didn't know a specific person to write to here at Marvel, and even figured it might get caught in our spam filters, but she sent it in anyway, because that's the kind of great parent Christina is," Marvel editor Bill Rosemann later told the Comic Book Resources blog Robot 6. "And it was her inspiring effort to help her son that touched so many of us here. As a fellow parent of a toddler, I can understand where she’s coming from, so I forwarded the email around the rest of Editorial, asking what we could do to help, and like when Cap yells, 'Avengers Assemble,' the gang leapt into action."
In an unexpected e-mail reply, Marvel editor Tom Brevoort sent D'Allesandro a note about how Hawkeye, the arrow-wielding member of The Avengers, was actually rendered mostly deaf in a fight years ago and now wears a hearing aid.
A third reply included art from Manny Mederos, who made The Blue Ear an honorary member of The Avengers as Hawkeye's sidekick.
Speaking with a MyFox reporter in Boston, Smith's mother said he was mesmerized by the drawings and immediately took to his new superhero alter-ego, immediately putting the hearing aid back on.
And it's not just Smith who's been inspired to exceed his seeming limitations.
"This is wonderful," one mother wrote to Mederos, in a comment republished on his blog. "My 2 year old son also has hearing loss and his hearing aids are blue, as well! This will def inspire lots of young 'superheroes.' Thank you."
This video is from ABC News, broadcast Wednesday, May 23, 2012.