Archie Comics Debuts Its Very First Hearing-Impaired Character

The Riverdale gang has a new member in the form of Grace Lark, Archie Comics’ very first hearing-impaired character.

In a joint statement, Archie Comics and the Children’s Tumor Foundation (CTF) announced that Grace Alondra, a character who suffers from NF2, would make her first appearance in Archie Jumbo Comics Digest #329, on sale today, April 20. The character debuts in the eight-page short “Sounds Like Music,” which can also be read for free as part of CTF’s “NF Comics” line.

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“Archie Comics worked with the Children’s Tumor Foundation to create this character in order to shine a light on the many individuals living with NF2, a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on nerves in the body, and which often leads to hearing loss,” the publisher explained. “The disease affects 1 in 25,000 births of all populations equally. The comic is part of the Foundation’s global awareness campaign that launches at the end of April and continues throughout May, which is NF Awareness Month.”

An official synopsis for “Sounds Like Music” reads as follows:

In “Sounds Like Music,” Archie and the gang meet Grace, a young Latina woman who loves music — especially her favorite band, The Archies. Spunky and smart, Grace isn’t letting her journey toward hearing loss define her. Instead, she is eager to hear all the great music she can, while she can.

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“As a long-time music fan, I first learned that I would lose my hearing in college, so I set out to listen to all the music I could so I could keep it deep in my memory,” said CTF board member Matt Hay , who eventually lost his hearing due to NF2. “I was creating a soundtrack for a life I had not yet lived.”

“Grace is a talented and whip-smart teenager,” added Archie Comics Editor-in-Chief Mike Pellerito. “The fact that she’s experiencing hearing loss is only one part of her story de ella. To me, this is the stuff that really matters, and we’re proud to be working with the Children’s Tumor Foundation on an important story like this.”

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“We’re incredibly grateful for the support of Archie Comics in our mission to increase knowledge of NF to new audiences, particularly readers of comic books,” said CTF Chief Marketing Officer Simon Vukelj. “In addition to the health challenges NF patients face in their day-to-day lives, they also find that many people simply have never heard of NF. This partnership with Archie will go a long way to changing that, and will help give voice to all NF patients.”

Regarding CTF’s previous three, independently published “NF Comics” — “Understanding NF2,” “Moxie and Sparx Explain NF1” and “Moxie and Sparx Introduce the Accelerator” — CTF Communications Director Vanessa Younger said, “Comics are an ideal medium to create awareness, education, and representation for people facing all kinds of challenges, including neurofibromatosis and other rare disorders.” Regarding “Sounds Like Music,” Younger added, “The inclusion of a character living with NF2 in this Archie story is the next step in this initiative, and we are actively working on more.”

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“Sounds Like Music” is one of two brand-new stories featured in Archie Jumbo Comics Digest #329, the other being “Poster Boy,” in which Archie “tries to become a YouTube star by recording a series of ‘how to’ tutorials. Each one turns out to be a disaster, forcing him to change his title from ‘how to’ to ‘How NOT To!’ The comic also features a chapter in the Little Archie saga. Official preview pages can be found below:

  • Script: Angelo DeCesare, Alex Simmons
  • Art: Jeff Shultz, Bill Galvan, Jim Amash, Ben Galvan, Glenn Whitmore, Jack Morelli
  • Cover: Francis Bonnet, Jeff Shultz, Rosario “Tito” Peña
  • On Sale Date: 4/20
  • 192-page, full color comic
  • $8.99US

Written by Angelo DeCesare and Alex Simmons and illustrated by Jeff Shultz, Bill Galvan, Jim Amash, Ben Galvan, Glenn Whitmore and Jack Morelli, Archie Jumbo Comics Digest #329 is on sale now from Archie Comics.

Source: Archie Comics

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