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You thought it was tricky working side-by-side with your significant other? Try working side-by-side with your significant other, and both also being superheroes. Talk about pressure! This is the problem faced by Scott Lang (played by Paul Rudd) in a new excerpt from his book, Look Out for The Little Guy, which Collider can exclusively share today.
In the chapter, titled “Side By Side,” Scott details the difficulties of working alongside your significant other, in his case Hope Van Dyne (played by Evangeline Lilly). The difficulty isn’t only the distraction that comes from working with someone you’re attracted to, it’s also mixing the personal struggles with the bigger, saving-the-world kinds of struggles. Maybe not exactly what a lot of us can relate to, but having perspective in an argument — and knowing when to admit you’re wrong? — those kernels of wisdom are evergreen.
He’s also got a lot of big feelings to share about his partner in tiny heroics, Hope. Not only does he admire how brave she is, but besides the superhero side of things, he actually seems to genuinely enjoy working with her and spending time with her. Scott and Hope are such a great rom-com couple, and it’s great to see how much the new book leans into their sweet, supportive relationship.
What Is ‘Look Out for The Little Guy’ About?
First appearing in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Look Out for The Little Guy is Scott Lang’s memoir about his life as both an Avenger and as a father, and in the world of the film it’s already a bestseller. The book was first announced back in February as part of the promotion for the new film, and will finally hit shelves in our world on September 5. According to publisher Hyperion Avenue:
In close association with Marvel Studios and the filmmakers, Hyperion Avenue is bringing the book seen in the movie to real life, with Scott Lang’s bracingly honest account of his struggles and triumphs, including the official account of what really happened between The Avengers and Thanos. The book features over 20 short pieces exploring different aspects of Scott’s experiences as Ant-Man, as a dad, as an Avenger, and as an everyman looking back on some incredible life moments. Together, they capture the heart, humor, and humility that have made Scott Lang a beloved character among fans.
Though Ant-Man, The Wasp, and the rest of their family were last seen in Quantumania, with more Avengers movies on the horizon, it’s only going to be a matter of time before we see them again. The next Marvel project to hit screens will be Loki Season 2, which premieres on Disney+ on October 6.
Look Out for The Little Guy hits shelves on September 5, and can be pre-ordered here. Check out the exclusive excerpt below:
SIDE BY SIDESUPER HEROING WITH YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHEROkay, so now Hope and I were back together, for what seemed like the long haul. Which meant we were now facing one of those paradoxes of life: Sometimes you fight the most with the one you love. But what if you’re also simultaneously fighting Super Villains?Clearly disregarding the time-tested maxim “Don’t date at work,” I’ve come to appreciate both the perks and pitfalls of this lifestyle.Confusingly, though, those perks and pitfalls often go hand in hand. To illustrate what I mean, imagine working, very closely and on a daily basis, with the person you’re most attracted to in the world. And then, during that work, seeing them at their very best: strong, steady, steely under even the most terrifying conditions. Always cool-headed and mission-focused. And to top it all off, bringing all those qualities to the service (and usually, life-saving) of others!Sometimes it takes more than Super Hero strength to not feel overwhelmed by a gusher of love and admiration. And when you do find yourself with them in a moment of respite, especially if it happens to be in a beautiful location (hey, Super Villains like to get outside sometimes,too), it can get very confusing. Part of your brain is screaming, “Remember why you two are here together,” while another part is murmuring, “Hey, couldn’t we just steal a moment to enjoy this nice place we ended up together?”To say nothing of those situations when you’re trapped with them in a very small space and are reminded of just how darn good she always smells.And that’s one of the good problems!A larger complication in this perpetually unbalanced work-life balance is what I call fighting other battles. Perhaps this rings true in your relationships as well? You’re yelling and screaming at each other over the stupidest thing, and often it’s not until later that you realize that all that rage was not even truly about that thing! It was about a completely different stupid thing that you were annoyed about earlier, but which never got resolved.The dangerous part is when that pent-up unfought fight spills over into the actual life-or-death one you’re currently engaged in. “Oh, so you can aim that reducing disc right at an oncoming military transport vehicle, but you can’t toss a T-shirt into the laundry hamper?” “Oh, so you’ll take three punches to the head from a mercenary but you’re afraid to try one bite of my world-famous ‘Chili Dog Meatloaf’?”The good news is, there’s a quick way out of any of these intertwined battles. It’s by reciting a set of words so devastatingly powerful, even Doctor Strange has nothing that competes.Those magical words? “You’re right, I’m sorry.”Another anxiety I’ve felt in all my relationships, but which takes on a sharper hue on the battlefield, is one I call exposing your true self. And I don’t mean that alter-ego/ secret identity game. Let’s face it: Ever since Tony Stark straight-up announced to the world, “I am Iron Man!” that whole move has lost its subversive cool factor. Nowadays, the only reaction I get from clearing my throat, retracting my helmet, and proclaiming in a deep, rich, dramatic baritone, “I am Ant-Man,” is, “Noted. And would Ant-Man like curly fries with that?”No, what I’m talking about is revealing your worst traits to the last person you’d ever want to think any less of you.For me, that worry comes up around the issue of showing fear around Hope. Which I know, on an intellectual level, is just silly. Maybe it’s a hero complex (yes, even actual heroes get them). But for me at least it’s real, and it’s a constant struggle.And what’s odd is, it’s not really even my biggest problem. I’m fairly proud of the fact that — whether facing down one half of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes or the Universe’s Biggest Threat — I don’t scare that easily. But Hope doesn’t even seem capable of fear. It’s like the woman was born without an amygdala. Or maybe she’s just trained it out of herself, with that same steely drive and determination that first made her a hero and now has made her a business leader.Either way, the upshot is, when I get even just a little bit scared, I get more scared of Hope seeing me scared. If that was confusing to follow, imagine trying to keep a handle on it in the middle of a fight.Another challenge to my sense of combat-time couple zen is temper. When all your senses are locked onto defeating your foe, you don’t have a lot of mental gas left in the tank to choose your words carefully. So what happens when the two of you have a plan, but it’s swiftly going wrong? Or even worse, when the plan is still good but one of you forgot or screwed up their part? And the bad guy is using that advantage to close in!There was this one time when the two of us were cut off from our resizing controls, a set of mechanical gears were getting ready to chew us up, and Hope felt, correctly, that we could have escaped the situation more easily had I loaded in the magnetized grappling hook rather than the unmagnetized one.However, Hope chose to express this sentiment in language so . . . colorful, it informed me that she did indeed know a four-letter word besides “can’t.”Now, in even the most benign situations, the tendency in a couple is to lash out, because you know the other person can “take it.” You feel, as it were, safe.But in battle, you’re literally the opposite of safe.And you know that expression “Watch out or you might say something you regret”? In the civilian world, that’s of course great advice, along with “Never go to bed angry.” You really do never know with 100 percent certainty if you might never see a loved one alive again. But for romantically connected Super Heroes, there’s a very high statistical chance this is the very last thing you ever say to them!Long story short, Hope and I obviously survived that near–metal mastication, as did our relationship. It just takes some getting used to, that idea that you have to fight to preserve both at the same time.Another layer to that self-consciousness, which might be unique to me but I suspect really isn’t, is the additional meta-fear of letting her dad down. Nowadays I think I’ve proven myself to Hank Pym as a proper heir to the Ant-Man suit. But in a funny way, having earned his approval, now I feel even more anxious about losing even a drop of it. Maybe because it was so hard-won, or maybe because I’m starting to see him as a model for the kind of hero I want to be.Now obviously, Hope is in every possible way her own person who makes her own decisions. But somehow, subconsciously, there’s still a part of me that feels like I’m living on borrowed time. Like one day, I’m going to screw things up too much, and Hank is going to swoop in (likely ferried by a river of ants) and say, “Nope. This phase of the ‘experiment’ is over.”So that, along with the other stuff, translates into a kind of perfectionism I try to hold myself to all the time, which is completely unrealistic. And completely impossible to remove from the ongoing soundtrack of “You don’t really deserve this, Scott” that lives in my brain 24/7. Even though I’ve bounced back countless times, there’s still a live, burning piece of me that sees myself as no more than convict/divorcé/absentee dad. It takes more mental energy than I’d like to quiet that voice, or at least convince it that others don’t see me that way. And when things sometimes go south with Hope, as they do in all relationships, I can hear it shouting, “You see? She knows you’re still no good at the core.”It also doesn’t help when I remember how happy my ex Maggie is with her new guy. That accusatory brain voice now switches over and starts asking, “Are you just standing in the way of Hope being much happier with another guy?”Now the good news is, having lived and loved through this rocky terrain, I’ve found some bright spots as well. One is that Hope and I — like most couples who’ve been together for a while — have a secret language. Shorthand, absurd nicknames, shared references, and inside jokes that can be as helpful in situations with no time to spare as it is annoying when we play Charades with friends. Cracking those jokes can also be critical to boosting each other’s morale in moments when all seems lost. On the other hand, an inopportune but uncontrollable snicker can also be the thing that fatally gives away your position.Along these lines, we’ve also developed a pretty keen talent for anticipating the other’s moves. No, not the way you’re undoubtedly thinking — on the dance floor. There’s no hope for me there. But when we’re locked in combat, even a telepath couldn’t keep up with the speed of our nonverbal communication.And as unbelievable as it sounds, taking on evil can be a really helpful form of relationship building. Love experts say that for a couple to stand the test of time, they should have an “indoor hobby” and an “outdoor hobby.” Fortunately, when you’re going on high-stakes missions, you often get both of those things in one afternoon.Heroing it up together also helps with your sense of relationship chill. Put simply, after a long day or week or quantum half-decade of battling baddies, the two of us just come home and collapse on the sofa. Which is heaven. We get to do normal couple things, like disagree over who’s killing the plants faster. Hope gets to let her guard down and get extremely, almost frighteningly passionate over who needs to go home from Dating-Show Island. I get to see her actually, atypically, be bad at something. (For example: When we play a video game together . . . well, let’s just say that Hope would probably be better mowing down zombies in real life — not like that would ever happen!)But the main saving grace is, we’re just too exhausted to argue about anything. Which I admit doesn’t help with the “unresolved issues” point I made above. But it’s a nice feeling to come home and settle into. It makes our humble, slightly stained sofa feel more secure than even the Raft prison.And that feeling is just one example of how what Hope and I do together helps us appreciate couplehood. There are soooo many “troubled loners” in our profession, on both the good and evil side, it almost seems like a job requirement.By contrast, Hope and I balance each other. She’s calm, I’m alert. She’s sky, I’m earth. She commands, I obey.But all these perks of being “heroes with benefits” pale next to the biggest one of all. The greatest advantage to being lovers and fighters is that it gives you a true sense of life’s priorities. A lot of the time we Super Heroes don’t exactly see the people we’re saving; we have to just hold the idea in our heads, abstractly. In our case, we see what’s at stake every moment, and then Hope races me into the house, wins (of course), flashes me that incredibly hard-won half smile, and a light in my heart comes on and recharges all my batteries at once.Put simply, every day the two of us come back home together, in one piece, is a miracle, a precious gift. The most precious gift, to which no super-power granted by serum or gamma ray or technology could compare.And when you’ve got that, you are the most literal definition of invincible.