Read an Excerpt From Scott Lang's New Memoir ‘Look Out for The Little Guy’
Pick up the book as seen on the big screen in ‘Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania.’
You know him, you love him, you’ve seen him both big and small, and now Scott Lang is adding “published author” to his ever-growing Super Hero resume. Look Out for The Little Guy, written by the universe-saving Avenger is coming to booksellers on September 5! Yes, a real book from Scott Lang! You can own it!
If you can't wait a few more weeks to get your hands on Scott's opus, read an excerpt now:
INTRODUCTION from Look Out for the Little Guy by Scott Lang
HI THERE. HOWDY. HEYA! Man, I hate introductions.
If you’re reading this book, first of all, thank you! Even though I can make my body as large as the Empire State Building, some days my self-esteem gets, well, ant-sized. Maybe that’s an occupational hazard of being an Avenger and working alongside the mightiest and smartest people on Earth, but the feeling is still there. Even when I remember that I did help save half the world.
Anyway, my name is Scott Lang. You may now or at one time have known me as “Ant-Man.” I’ve been involved in some Super Hero stuff you might have heard about, some Super Hero stuff you probably haven’t heard about, and some Super Hero stuff you might be tired of hearing about—at least if you’re anything like my immediate family.
But who is Scott Lang? Well, I’m just an average, middle-aged white guy who went to a fancy nerd college, got married, and landed a solid white-collar desk job. I used to work as a computer guy at VistaCorp, a huge tech firm that deals with security. (Oh, the irony of that, but just wait for it!) My wife Maggie and I had a baby girl named Cassie, and we were heading into an uncomplicated, peaceful suburban life outside of San Francisco.
I mean, sure, on our TVs we were watching the world occasionally coming under attack by strange beings. But we also saw this amazing group of Super Heroes called the Avengers, who always managed to show up exactly when they were needed and send those baddies back . . . away. From our planet. And my life.
However, there were still some baddies right here on Earth. Specifically, in my workplace.
As I began to discover over time, my company was not completely on the up-and-up. Under the (mis)guidance of my boss, the company I was working at, VistaCorp, started using its prowess with security to take advantage of customers. Specifically, someone either overlooked or deliberately created a glitch in the payment-processing software, skimming millions of dollars from customer accounts.
I decided I was not okay with that.
After multiple attempts to push back against the company, attempts that one might describe as “legal” or “reasonable” or “advisable,” I decided to go in a different direction.
I’d like to start with the positives: I returned five million dollars to our customers and exposed VistaCorp’s nefarious dealings to the public.
And, on the other side, I also drove an extremely expensive sports car into an extremely expensive pool, and myself into San Quentin Federal Penitentiary for three years.
Even worse, this was also around the time that my marriage to Maggie broke up. I don’t want to get into the specifics of why—that’s strictly Scott-Maggie stuff—but let’s just say “Husband suddenly going to the pen for three years” wasn’t exactly a marriage-saver.
More critically, though, that divorce, plus imprisonment, effectively separated me from my dear, sweet daughter, Cassie. For way too many of her precious first few years. I wondered if she and I would ever even have the chance to make a connection.
Eventually, I finished my sentence, left San Q, and attempted to rejoin the world. Even if the world didn’t quite seem to know what to do with me yet. I couldn’t get a job with a conviction on my record. I had no funds or place to stay. Even my one joyful attempt to reunite with Cassie was cut short by Maggie and her fiancé, telling me I had to get my life together before we could talk visitation or shared custody.
Fortunately, though, there was one guy who did have a use for me.
Unless you’ve spent the past few years in a cave (or, say, a subatomic realm), you’ve probably at least heard of Pym Technologies. Or at least, Hank Pym.
If you haven’t, Hank Pym was the inventor of the Pym Particle, an incredible scientific breakthrough. Pym Particles have the power to cause molecular reduction or expansion at great scales in either direction. In other words, they can make anything super-small or super-big. Hank and his wife, Janet Van Dyne, put this to direct use on themselves, performing countless heroic deeds as the original Ant-Man and The Wasp.
And outside of the Super Hero game, Hank started a serious R&D operation known as Pym Technologies. But a few years ago, Pym Tech fell into the unscrupulous hands of people who wanted to exploit his discoveries for use on the battlefield—and to sell the resulting technology to folks we really do not want to be in battle with! By then, Hank had been pushed out of the company that literally had his last name on the door. But he knew what was being planned with his invention, and that it had to be stopped. So he . . . let’s say “hired” me to recover his creations from Pym Tech.
Whoa, whoa, whoa, Scott! is probably what you’re saying right now. How did we jump from custody disputes to biotech espionage?
Well, right about the time I was stumbling out of prison, trying to find myself, Hank Pym—whom I didn’t know at the time—found me. Hank had done his research on me and knew I was skilled at both electronics and thievery. And most importantly, he knew that I had nothing left to lose.
Unbeknownst to me, he “tested” me by enticing me to steal the Ant-Man suit from his highly formidable safe. Once I succeeded at that, Hank and his daughter, Hope Van Dyne, kinda “stole” me from police custody, offered me the gig (as if I had a choice!), and then trained me to pull off one of the craziest high-tech heists ever.
So, return the potentially world-threatening military technology to its rightful creator, and it’s back to peace again, right?
Literally no sooner had I pulled off the Pym Tech operation (with an assist from some old prison pals and some extremely skilled ants) than I found myself face-to-face with the Avengers.
Well, two of them, anyway. Captain America and the Falcon. Believe me, two’s more than enough! I’d already had a tussle with the Falcon, but now he and Cap (as I would soon be calling him, no big deal) actually wanted my help.
Wow. I mean, wow! It wasn’t just cranky old semi-retired scientists tracking me down anymore—now I’d caught the attention of Earth’s Mightiest.
So what they wanted me for was . . . a bit messy. Basically, the Avengers had a huge internal divide over something too complicated to get into here, and Cap and Falcon wanted some fresh (and highly size-adaptable) muscle on their side. Especially when all of this culminated in a huge Avengers-vs.-Avengers fracas at an airport in Germany. Germany! I’d just spent three years in a tiny cell. Now I was suddenly “doing Europe”?
I don’t want to get into the details of the conflict (and in fact I am under legal obligation not to), but let’s just
say I might have been on the more “badass” side of it.
In the end, that whole fight got resolved, as I think you know. Otherwise our planet would be a scorched battlefield of never-ending intra-Avengers smackdowns.
So . . . peace on Earth now?
Nope. That’s when—thanks to Thanos—half of all life in the universe disappeared. So no, no peace on Earth or anywhere else.
I wasn’t around for those five years of missing people (you’ll find out why soon), but I came back just in time, jumped to a different timeline, fought, like, every bad guy in the universe on a field in upstate New York, helped the Avengers stop Thanos, and put all the people back where they belonged. Including, last but not least, putting my precious Hope back together with me!
As you might imagine, that was . . . a lot.
So in the time since, I’ve been trying to take things a bit easier. Nursing wounds. Reconnecting with those I’ve missed. Reflecting on what it all means.
Oh yes, and of course, writing this book!
And if you want to really get to know who Scott Lang is, reading this book is where I’d recommend you start.
So at this point, I bet you also have a very serious question—one which I’ve asked myself over a thousand times a day while writing this:
Why on Earth is Scott Lang the first Super Hero writing a book?
I mean, just between us, I’m proud to be an Avenger, but sometimes I also feel like a “latecomer.” Sure, I came through in the ultimate clutch, but in baseball terms, I’m not a starter—I’m a DH (designated hero).
Here’s how I see it: I’m the “everyman Avenger.” I’m the one you could grab a beer with, the one you’d feel okay asking to look after your dog when you’re away or for a drive to the airport. I’m not a Super Soldier or a billionaire (unless this book is super-successful), just a regular dad, a San Francisco Giants fan, and a guy who’s made mistakes I’m still trying to rectify.
In a word, I’m an ordinary guy who’s been thrust—more than once—into extraordinary circumstances.
And I know that still doesn’t completely answer the question of why I wrote this book.
The simple answer is, “The Avengers asked me to.”
One day, Bruce “the Hulk” Banner and Clint “Hawkeye” Barton took me out for lunch. They said they were concerned that the world didn’t really know what had happened with Thanos and the Blip and our long struggle to finally put things right again.
At first, as I usually do when confronted with heavy topics, I made a joke: “I’m pretty sure at least half the world knows what happened.”
Bruce responded that yes, of course, billions had experienced these jarring and mind-bending events, but they didn’t know the full story behind them. And ultimately, that’s what people need the most to get through and get past traumatic events: a narrative that helps it all make sense.
“Okay,” I agreed. “Solid plan. So who are you going to get to tell that story?”
Clint answered, “You, Scott. You’re the guy who got scooped up in all this pretty recently. You’ve still got one foot in their world. And you’re a guy everyone likes . . . and trusts.”
And Bruce sealed the deal: “It’s tough stuff, and no one knows how to keep it light like you.”
Well. I still had tons of doubts. I was hardly an eyewitness to almost all that history. I hadn’t been around for the Battle of Wakanda, or any of the events that led to Thanos gathering the various Infinity Stones.
But pretty much immediately, I knew what my answer would be. As far as I’m concerned, when the Avengers ask you do to a job—any job—you say yes. So I did. Two quick handshakes (Bruce—now permanently in his Hulk body—made sure to keep his “not too firm”), and it was settled. They’d supply me all the archival footage and documentation, take me anywhere I needed to go, and let me ask as many questions as I needed.
The only thing is, it wasn’t actually 100 percent settled for me—on the inside. From the confidence peak of having two amazing Super Heroes place their trust in you, there was a frighteningly steep plummet into self-doubt. Even with their sensible reasons, the whole affair just stirred up a question that’s been burning inside me most of my adult life:
I’ve been asking myself that since before I even met the Avengers. Back when I was working at VistaCorp, why was I the only one who couldn’t sleep at night after learning of all the money they were stealing from customers? Why did I basically give up my job, give up my marriage, and spend three years in San Quentin, just so I could play Robin Hood?
And finally—and this one still smarts—when VistaCorp’s nasty business became public to the world, why was I the one who ended up going down for it?
I don’t know the answers to these questions. And perhaps I never will.
Not even Doctor Strange can tell me, and believe me, it’s not for my lack of asking. Once the purple dust had settled from the Battle of Earth, I tried bonding with the guy. Let’s just say, he was either unwilling or uninterested in filling me in about any of my 14,000,605 possible pasts.
But here’s what I do know. That VistaCorp/prison experience taught me that our world is broken. And that it’s never going to get fixed unless folks like me—the unlikely ones—step up to the job.
And when Hank Pym plucked me out of the ex-con pool and put me to work as Ant-Man 2.0, I started to see the haziest outlines of a “why” for me. Maybe all those hard years I had just endured were actually preparation for a higher purpose.
Which is a good thing, because right after my first outing as a hero, I was drafted into that aforementioned very scary and sort of confusing business with Avengers fighting other Avengers in Germany, I was sent to an underwater super -SUPER-max prison, and once again, I had to take the fall and spend two more years in detention under house arrest.
Why me again?
Still no perfect lock on the answer, but I was beginning to glimpse one. This is going to sound beyond weird for a guy whose success—and often life—depends on quantum mechanics, but basically, I had a feeling.
Even as I was yanked from one seemingly unthinkable scenario to another, asked to do things I would have never dreamed possible, I began to see that many incredible things were, in fact, possible—and I was doing them. And they started to feel more and more, for lack of a better word, right.
I know this is the kind of feeling my Avengers pals feel mid-mission or mid-battle, and maybe they’ve gotten used to it, but I’m just finally getting there. To the feeling that, even when faced with the most terrifying foes imaginable, even with the odds exponentially stacked against you, if you are working side by side with others to serve a greater good, you are in the right place, doing the right thing. For you.
And honestly, that’s the real story behind the entire Avengers saga. It’s the one I thought was most essential to share with all of you. That was the deeper reason I said yes to those two Avengers at the lunch counter. Because I knew that, once again, I was being called to do what seemed impossible (or at least, highly inadvisable)—but instead, I let the feeling take hold, and guide me.
And I realized that I needed to share that feeling with you.
Because at the end of the day, nobody can tell where life is going to yank them, unexpectedly and seemingly beyond their reach. Steve Rogers signed up to fight, imagining he’d only go as far as a scrawny guy can get in wartime. Tony Stark was brilliant and successful, but I know a part of him wondered if he’d ever get out from under his dad’s shadow. Even Doctor Strange in all his professional success could never have imagined becoming a Master of the Mystic Arts—or even that such a thing existed!
And that same unpredictability is just as true for you as it is for me. What would you do if life shrunk you down and tossed you into a bathtub being filled by your former prison buddy? Okay, that one might just be me. But how about when life sends you unexpectedly packing from your gig of three years and straight into a jail cell—because you dared to blow the whistle on your company’s greed?
You don’t ask why. You ask, “Where do I go from here?”
Because that’s the job life has for you, at least right at this moment, and it’s the kind of job you don’t get to quit.
You can run, but you can’t hide—not even if you can shrink yourself down and leap into a bathtub.
Now I know I said before that I don’t, technically, have a super-power. But looked at another way, I actually do. And the even cooler part is, so do all of you.
Having the ability to change my size at will, I’ve seen that the world is full of “big guys” and “little guys.” And unsurprisingly, the former is always stepping on the latter. Sometimes this is by design, but sometimes, just because of their status and drive, the big folks don’t even see the everyday, hard-working folks just trying to get by.
That’s why it’s always the job of people like me—and, as I’m going to show you throughout this book, you—to look out for the little guy. That’s something we all have a super-powered ability to do, if we simply choose to accept the job.
You are in this place and time for a reason, and no one else is. And so—when that next uncertain, unlikely, “impossible” step is revealed to you—I urge you with every particle in my body, Pym or otherwise, to turn that “Why me?” into a “Why not me?”
At least that’s what I tried to do when I promised the Avengers I would tell their story. And the best way I know how to do that is by telling mine at the same time. Because as I’ve learned, whenever I start to talk about something big that happened, I also see the little lessons that can be learned from it, and I want to share that, to help myself and others.
Maybe it’s because I didn’t get the chance to be around my daughter Cassie for so many chunks of her life, to share what I’d learned with her. I’m still working on that, but it’s hard now that she’s a grown-up herself who’s already seen and experienced so much without me to guide her. I missed the boat on that one, but believe me, you are in for an entire book of “Dad wisdom” just burning for a home.
So that’s what I plan to do in this book. I’m going to tell it all, from how I saw it, experienced it, and heard it firsthand from my hero buddies. I’m going to bring you into the hero world.
Along the way, you’ll hear about my story—Scott Lang’s story—from where I started to the (ant-) man I’ve become, and am still becoming. Because I’m so incredibly fascinating? No. Because my life—just like yours—loses half its value if we don’t find a way to share its lessons with others.
And finally, because—if you take nothing else away from my words—what I want to share is that what makes all of us giants is how much we look out for the little guy. How we help out our fellow humans when they need it most. How our greatest super-power can simply be a listening ear, a concerned eye, or an outstretched hand. How we don the “hero’s uniform” by simply showing up and doing the unbelievably unlikely job that life has just handed us.
And speaking of jobs, I’ve got an entire rest of a book to write. Oh, why did I agree to this? WHY ME?
The book is available for preorder with an on-sale date of September 5, 2023. Published by Hyperion Avenue, the hardcover adult fiction book retails for $26.99, ISBN: 9781368090131. Don’t forget to look out for the little guy!
"Introduces the man behind the hero, and the hero I call friend."
—Bruce Banner, fellow Avenger
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