The latest edition of Marvel’s Invincible Iron Man comic book features a cameo from a very special young fan, Max Levy — whom some of us may know as Iron Max on social media.
The young boy has always loved superheroes, but his transformation into one began when he was diagnosed with a blood disorder at the age of 3 and doctors had to implant a metal disk in his chest to help with his treatment. The catheter device was meant to regulate his blood flow, but his father, Dan Levy, told him at the time of the surgery that it would make him just like Iron Man — a notion that the young boy quickly embraced.
The Levys and their friends soon began using hashtag #IronMax on social media. Although it was only when Max’s older sister Zoe, 8, began creating calendars to help raise money for kids with hemophilia, the disorder her brother was fighting, did the Marvel catch wind of the story.
The creators of Iron Man then decided to make the young boy a superhero by putting him in one of their comic books right alongside Iron Man himself.
“I'm not a crier, I'm not — it was literally the first time, I just came into the room, and I just wept,” said Dan Levy. “It's been a year and half of ... honestly not great, this kid deserves a win.”
In the comic book, Iron Man's alter ego Tony Stark meets Max during a visit to a children's hospital and creates a special armored suit just for him. The two then fight Doctor Doom.
“Since he’s been a baby he’s been told what he can’t do and now it’s sort of kind of neat to see what he can do, and he can be anything — he can be a superhero,” the father added. “That’s just the coolest thing.”
By including 6-year-old Max Levy in its Invincible Iron Man comic book, Marvel hopes to bring more attention to other kids with hemophilia — a disorder that prevents blood from clotting properly.
“I think it's pretty cool being in a comic book," the young superhero told NBC News. "Like it's really, really cool. I'm making (other children) not scared because there's a kid who's a superhero and they would like to be that I guess.”