NBA superstar Jeremy Lin made his first ever comic book appearance on the latest issue of Marvel’s “Totally Awesome Hulk” which was released on Wednesday.
The Lin-Hulk team up was the idea of New York comics writer Greg Pak, who said he got struck with Linsanity during the 2011-12 NBA season.
“I was a nerdy kid who didn’t really care about sports,” Pak told ESPN in an interview. “But I was living in New York when ‘Linsanity’ happened, and it was a mind-blowing experience.“
Pak immediately became a fan, citing Lin’s “tremendous fortitude and dedication.”
“He is an incredible underdog story. And I love an underdog story,” he added.
Pak eventually found a way to add Lin to the Marvel universe via a comic book title that also featured an Asian-American superhero. Those who have been following the comics are in the know that the Hulk is no longer Bruce Banner, but a Korean-American genius named Amadeus Cho.
Pak, who himself is Korean American, co-created Amadeus Cho with Takeshi Miyazawa back in 2005. Since his inception, Cho has been a recurring character in the Marvel universe as a supporting cast or sidekick in books featuring The Avengers. It was just last year when the character became the Totally Awesome Hulk and took over the mantle and the powers of The Hulk from Bruce Banner.
When Lin first heard that he was being considered to be included in the comic book pages, he said he was surprised.
“‘Man, how are they going to use me, or what is it going to look like, especially me being Asian,” Lin was quoted as saying. “I was really interested to see what would happen. I loved everything about it. … Growing up, watching the movies or whatever it might be, we have all experienced some sort of fandom toward superheroes.”
Describing the issue, Pak explained that Cho will be meeting Lin at a time when the new Hulk still has a lot to learn. He added that one of those lessons will come from Lin.
“Our story picks up when Amadeus is kind of at a low point,” Pak told AM New York. “He’s getting notoriety, people recognize him. He eventually ends up meeting Jeremy and the two of them team up for reasons that will be revealed soon.”
“It’s kind of about Amadeus being used to being the best at whatever he does … and thinks he can handle anything,” Pak continued. “And Jeremy, as a great basketball player and point guard, knows a little something about teamwork, and so they’ve got kind of an interesting conflict and room for people to learn something along the way.”
Lin noted that he is aware of how much of an impact Pak’s Asian-American character can have to readers of similar circumstance.
“I have friends who are kind of into acting and the entertainment industry,” Lin said. “You kind of see how Asians and Asian-Americans are kind of portrayed in films over time.
Lin expressed that the Totally Awesome Hulk is a huge step in the right direction in making Asians more mainstream.
“It’s awesome that [Cho] is this really prominent and masculine figure as well,” he said.