Meet #IronMax. Max Levy is a five-year-old kid who had to get an implant in his chest to treat his Hemophilia A. To help him feel better about that, his father Dan helped him liken it to Iron Man's arc reactor in his chest, dubbing him Iron Max. Thanks to the magic of social media and a few friends, that reached Marvel Comics.
One of the earliest instances came from the official Iron Man twitter account, encouraging Max for his surgery. It also reached writer Brian Michael Bendis.
The child's father was shocked.
"I didn’t know what it meant at first, but several tweets and correspondences later, Brian Michael Bendis—probably the top comic book writer on the planet, if you take out the probably—was going to have my kid meet Iron Man," Levy wrote in an essay about the experience. While he knew Bendis was insanely busy, He held out hope and finally the writer came around this fall.
"One day in September, I got an email that said “well, it is FINALLY that time. send mepics of you and max. he is going to meet iron man in issue 4. sooner is better.
I cobbled together a few dozen photos and sent them to Bendis and artist Dave Marquez, who put together the most amazing surprise any of us could imagine."
That brings us to today's issue of Iron Man #4, where Max makes an appearance for several pages, meeting his hero Tony Stark, the invincible Iron Man, and even getting to put on some armor himself.
"I totally thought Iron Man would fly down a street and say hi to some kid on a school bus who kind of looked like Max. Never in my life did I think they would make part of the actual story about him. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that Iron Max would wear a custom-sized Hulkbuster and (spoiler alert) aim his repulsor rays at Victor Von Doom," Levy wrote.
Read his entire essay for some real tear-jerker moments, and check out the issue in stores or on comixology today.