Hello, Marvel and Jeremy Lin.
Linsanity invaded the borough this past summer when the point guard signed a multi-year deal with the rebuilding Brooklyn Nets. Although he’s off to an injury plagued start of the season, fans are eager to see Lin lead the team’s offense and become a mentor for a very young group.
Lin’s role on the court is vastly different from the days of Linsanity when he became an overnight sensation for the New York Knicks during the 2012 season. He has since created a solid role for himself and is comfortable without the excessive media attention.
However, his impact is felt off the court. So much so that powerhouse comic book publication Marvel, the home of such iconic superheroes as Spider-Man, Iron Man and Thor, has incorporated Lin into a character in a story with another favorite, The Hulk.
Comic book writer Greg Pak, who has worked with Marvel since 2004 on both the X-Men and Hulk series, came up with the idea and penned the story.
“I’ve been a Jeremy Lin fan since he exploded in 2012,” Pak said. “That Linsanity season was so much fun — it felt like the mood of the whole city got better. His underdog story was just so incredibly inspiring and fun, particularly for me as an Asian-American. And then the more I read about Jeremy, the more I admired his fortitude, his commitment to teamwork, his good humor and his determination to keep going no matter how bad the setbacks.”
For the past year, Pak has been writing “The Totally Awesome Hulk,” which stars a cocky 19-year old genius named Amadeus Cho as the new Hulk.
“At some point, I started thinking about how much fun it would be to team up the world’s biggest Asian-American superhero with the world’s greatest Asian-American athlete,” he said. “The story just made so much sense on so many levels. Amadeus and Jeremy are both young Asian-American superstars — but Amadeus is so cocky — in basketball terms, he’d be a ballhog. But Jeremy’s a facilitator, a glue guy. I knew on that character level, it’d be a blast to put them in the same story.”
And so, Pak pitched the story to Lin’s people — and they liked it. The result is a two-part story that takes place in issues 13 and 14 of “The Totally Awesome Hulk.”
“I pitched the story to Jeremy’s people, who ran it by Jeremy and gave me the big thumbs up,” Pak explained. “It was a really smooth process — helped a bunch, I’m sure, by the fact that we had amazing artists, including cover artist Bernard Chang and interior artists Luke Ross and German Peralta, who totally nailed Jeremy’s likeness and character.”
It was always a dream of Pak’s to work in comics. “I grew up writing and drawing. I basically wanted to be a writer since I was nine years old,” he said. “Over the years I did a number of different things — including studying political science at Yale and history at Oxford. But eventually I went to NYU’s grad film program and made a ton of short films and eventually directed a feature called ‘Robot Stories.’ That got me a meeting with Marvel and I’ve been lucky enough to have been writing comics ever since.”
Pak told this paper that he’s likely best known for comic favorite, “Planet Hulk,” a story-line that is expected to be a big inspiration for parts of the highly anticipated “Thor Ragnarok” movie hitting theaters this November.
The reception of Lin’s character thus far has been extremely positive for comic fans, according to the creator.
“It’s been tremendous. I don’t know the actual sales numbers, but a ton of folks reached out to me on Twitter, saying the book was sold out at their local stores, which is always a thrill,” said Pak. “One the best compliments we got was from Jeremy’s teammate Brook Lopez. In an ESPN interview, he said something like when he was reading the book, he felt like we were right there looking over his shoulder at Jeremy. So that was a kick in the pants.”
Issue number 13 of “The Totally Awesome Hulk” hit shelves last month and issue number 14 will be released Wednesday, January 11. To purchase a copy, visit www.gregpak.com or www.marvel.com.