Geekdom x Faith: Boris Joaquin

One of the goals when I set up this blog was to really mesh the three things I really love into one. My faith (God), my love of games both analog and digital (Games – the DA in DAGeeks stands for Digital and Analog) and Geekery (Geekery).

There have been moments though that some people don’t see things that way. And in my experience, they find it hard, nigh, impossible to connect. Especially, when a person’s faith and video games/geekdom is concerned. But thankfully, the Lord has been gracious and has allowed me to meet like-minded people.

This is where the series, Geekdom x Faith comes in. I wanted to feature people who take their faith seriously, but at the same time still hold on and cherish their geekiness. I hope to really show that not everyone thinks that Geeks aren’t welcome in the church (as some may think). And that, there are people who are more than welcome to sit down and geek out with you, while at the same time, provide you with biblical wisdom at the same time.

My first feature is Boris Joaquin. He’s the president and Chief Equipping officer at Salt and Light Ventures, Board Member of The Bible League Philippines, President and Co-Founder of Breakthrough leadership Management Consultancy.  A father of two, a husband to one and one of the most encouraging people you can meet. At first glance, you wouldn’t think he was a comic book reader or fan. But as I was pleasantly surprised to find out, he’s a big Superman fan, and later on a big DC fan.

I also know of him as one of the for Lead Like Jesus Philippines. I got to really talk to him during one of his Happy at Work events hosted by my dgroup leader Tommy Ng and since then have been surprised to see a lot of geek stuff coming from his end.

I was able to ask a bit of his time from his busy schedule last year and here’s how interview went on.

Writer’s note: I’d like to apologize but our interview was conducted December of last year so notice that there are a few discrepancies with the time. Sorry for that, at nadelay ng sobra.

Haoson: Good evening kuya Boris, let’s start the interview with how much of a comic book fan are you? 

Boris: To begin with I’m a big DC fanboy. Between Marvel and DC I really like DC. And I criticize Marvel a lot. If you didn’t know, DC was way ahead in a lot of ways. The people now know just the movies. But everything was like Atom came first before Ant-Man mga ganun. I don’t know if you know this, but Deadpool was a way to make fun of Deathstroke.

Boris Joaquin with Family

I like DC in general. I kinda stopped my comic book collection when I was 25 years old. And 2 years later I was married. Parang it wasn’t really practical and all that. I celebrate the little things. Like the Batman trilogy and even Brandon Routh‘s Superman Returns. I really watched it talaga because it was the revival of Superman. So medyo tago na siya talaga. Not on the surface. Kasi when you get to my age, you really just mature in a lot of things.

But when the news came out that Warner and DC in general is planning to revive everything and all that. I just can’t help and be excited. And I know they are doing the right stuff. It’s not critically acclaimed but if you follow the comics. The way they did Suicide Squad, the way they Did Batman vs. Superman. All you want as a Comic book fan is to have those characters come alive di ba. And that’s what the movies are doing right now. And through next year with Wonder Woman.

Haoson: When did you start reading comics?

Boris: We didn’t have that much resources when we were a child. But when I was in college, I tried to go back and get the comics that I thought was priceless. And then I was able to collect all of them. I was a big Superman fan, and I was just following Superman then. I focused on key Superman stories, origin, death, alternate universe, when superman had Lois Lane as a wife and Wonder Woman too. Even Batman versus Superman kaya big deal yung BvS then. Pero hanggang dun lang ako. I’m not really a batman fan really, so nag-iintersect lang si batman.

Haoson: Sino ang pinaka favorite mong Superman Villain? And Why?

Boris: My favorite villain talaga is Lex Luthor. Jesse Eisenberg‘s luthor isn’t really the luthor what I had in mind. But I like the take na para siyang si Mark Zuckerberg. It’s not really Jesse’s fault. Parang the way they built his character is kulang. He keeps mentioning his father. And if you remember Smallville dati. Dun na explain yung relationship between Father and Son Luthor. I love that there were moments (in Smallville) na nag-ally silang dalawa when they need to collaborate together pero magkalaban parin sila. Kung meron kang susubaybayan na villain si Luthor yun. And he’s human. The way he outsmarts him (Superman).

And I don’t really like the Gene Hackman portrayal, hindi pa nila talaga nacrack yung Luthor.

Haoson: So basically, they haven’t found the perfect luthor yet at this point.

Boris: The characterization I mean. Jesse Eisenberg is a really good actor and won’t be surprised that he would win an award in the future. I guess he just needed time for the character.

Haoson: Which superman story is your most favorite and why?

Boris: It’s the Doomsday story. When the writers started making them real or rounded, that’s when I started liking them more. They finally explored the human side of Superman. That’s what I liked also about BvS. In the spiritual standpoint, ang sarap pasukan.

Haoson: Among the upcoming DC movies that are scheduled to come out, Which one are you most looking forward to and why?

Boris: Tinatanong pa ba yun? Eh di  Justice League (laughs). Oh and the Green Lantern Corp. I’m also glad na nag fail yung kay Ryan Reynolds kasi they can take it on a diff. perspective. We probably know that the Green Lantern will be teased sa JL na movie. And I want to see the bigger world when the movie comes out. Medyo nacornihan ako with the powers and the ring but when they explained the whole universe that made things exciting. I’m looking forward to that approach.

Haoson: You mention a lot about the DC Movies, so what do you think about the DC TV verse? 

Boris: The TV series are just fantastic and it’s a lot better than what Marvel is doing. So for a while I was hiding all those things, but later on I just realized, na I can’t help it I just really like it. And I started sharing them and yun I tried to convince my family to even like it. When you watch things together with the family on the TV you want to share it with people that you love. And wala na yung friends ko halos who likes those things but I still hang around with some of them. I was trying to convince my daughters to like Supergirl and the Flash and Wonder Woman. So far I am 50% successful. So when I go out on a date with my family, we watched Batman vs. Superman twice. Suicide Squad, I watched with my eldest daughter and then yung mga TV series and we make abang as a family.

I know a lot of people, medyo na weieierduhan sila. Because nga other than being a speaker and trainer, I’m a lay pastor. So I preach on the pulpit. So one time, I was like posting about Batman vs. Superman, a very conservative Christian Lady said, isn’t there so much violence in it?

Haoson: How do you respond to the conservative people. Like the one who said na napaka violent ng movies or isn’t it good to children?

Boris: So far wala pa naman. The one who said that just posted a comment on Facebook. And I actually, graciously ignored it. But I also noticed, that when I posted something geeky, lumiliit ang circle of friends ko. In Facebook, kasi people who generally follow me, know me as a guy of wisdom or a person that they look up to. So medyo broad yung scope na yun. And a lot of them don’t know that about me. So when I start talking about DC comics and superheroes in general. Bigla siyang lumiliit to a few individuals. And I realize na it’s not meant for a bigger audience that there are certain posts that I just tag certain guys because I just want to have a conversation with them.

Violence…. and SCIENCE!

Pero if that happens (confronting conservative people), I think, I’ll just explain it to them, I have a clear definition between what’s real and what’s not and I think you should have one too. It’s like the same thing, if you like a telenovelas like Encantadia or these Korean soaps, then you post in in Facebook and talk about it. It doesn’t make you a lesser Christian, a lesser mature person or a lesser adult because you did. It’s a preference, it’s a medium of creativity and entertainment and you just happen to like it. As long as it doesn’t affect your values, because that’s where it matters and that’s how I would advise.

Haoson: So how would you comment to that conservative person?

Boris: I’ll ask the tita of the things that what she likes. And then I’ll frame my answer the same way she answered me. “Tita that’s the same way I like my superheros. I like my apples the same way you like your mangos.” That should be fine right?

Haoson: One of the things that took me by surprise was when you posted about it. There’s a sense of weirdness when it comes to faith in general and pop culture super heroes. So do you see a correlation of a maturity of a person and being a fan of these kinds of fandoms? And most specifically in your case, comic book fandom?

Boris: No, I think it’s totally different altogether.To begin with, let me just start by saying that these things are part of my childhood. And for other as well. Unlike the generation now. We didn’t have the internet and the digital stuff. So there’s just a few medium. Basically just tri-media. So if you’re a creative person, or your imagination up a lot of levels. Watching a cartoon entitled, Super friends would be the highlight of your week.

As long as you don’t forget your responsibilities!

So it’s just being reminiscent of your childhood. And you don’t rob people of their childhood. When people try to look back, it’s a way of being grounded with your present and your future. There’s a level of stability who can actually look back into their childhood and smile, and enjoy what transpired then. So these things are just paying homage to my childhood. Having said that, it has nothing to do with a person’s level of maturity.

Haoson: So how do you define Maturity in relation to being a comic book fan?

Boris: Maturity is defined as your state. It has something to do with responsibility. Ends of level-headedness. Wisdom. Those are totally different things when it comes to creativity. And these things (Geeking Out) are part of my childhood and “funess”. It fed my imagination when I was young. And I Just wanted to reminisce about it. and we know it’s not real di ba? So I say that because by the strict definition of maturity, if it affects your sense of responsibility, level-headedness and wisdom, then I’ll say they clash. But if they don’t then they don’t. Not naman that you separate, they are just totally different worlds.

For example when I say responsibility by definition is being responsible of the things that you are meant to take care of. Like, if you’re a family man, the money that you earn for example is not be between, buying the latest collector’s items or sending your child to school. Maturity tells you that you should send your child to school. So it doesn’t really run in conflict with one another.

With his Wife, Michelle

My wife was very sweet last year, when Batman vs. Superman was promoting. Inggit na inggit ako kela Carlo Ople, they were buying the toys. The toy models that were just for display. Because as a child, we were not well off. And even when I liked things, my parents chose not to buy them. I’m a good artist and I draw a lot. My hand is kinda skilled as an alternative I just draw ant-man, the flash and I did that just because I can. Just because it’s the hype and all the grown men are buying the toys, I chose not to. It’s really ridiculous and school was about to start. Three months from the date of showing. I never really articulated that outwardly. And March was my birthday then, so my wife bought me three figures, si Superman, si Batman at si Wonder Woman. I actually teared up when she did that. My point is your level of maturity should not affect your sense of responsibility, level-headedness and wisdom.

Haoson: Has there been those moments where the things you geek out on and the christian life intersect? Or at least your geekdom intersected with your Christian life?

Boris: There’s a lot of times. Not just in DC comics. To begin with, some of the movies in recent years can be correlated. Lord of the Rings series, obviously that. Even the Lion the witch and the wardrobe, Narnia can be used. Even the Matrix before was a good reference movie to talk about one’s faith and this and that. I’ve always used movies as a good illustration to point out certain aspects about relationships and our constant need for salvation and being saved.

Si John Eldredge said this, the way human race is driven to movies of redemption, second chances, new beginnings of finding a hero, of getting a savior stems from that God-shaped vacuum in our hearts. That’s why we like movies like that. No matter how many times it’s narrated, kasi paulit ulit lang naman talaga. You just want to watch that. If a storyteller breaks that cycle it’s a bummer. According to John Eldredge that’s the reason why the gospel is relevant, it’s not make-believe, it’s not just a product of a person’s imagination. God knows that we need Him. We are built the need to be saved. That’s why it’s easy for me to put that in that kind of mindset.

A few nights ago, me and my daughter did a marathon on the batman trilogy. She doesn’t like gritty movies. When I told her about the backstory of everything. When she found out the story about the movie. She got hooked.

We were able to talk about faith when we were correlating it to the actions of the Joker, testing human fallibilities and Batman at what he stands for. It was a good springboard for discussion. Superman has always been a good springboard. The creators of Superman were Jews. The reason that it’s an S is that they are still waiting for a savior because majority of them doesn’t regard Jesus as the Messiah. That’s a good framework to start a discussion on why we need a savior. It was a good opportunity to inspire and encourage people during the time when he was created.

With youngest daughter Julia

Superman was created 1936 so it was around the time of depression and World War I. The Jews were just trying to settle in. And the writer was one of the immigrants. They’ve been scattered all over the world. And the way he probably channeled his frustrations and aspirations through the writings of Superman. SO a lot of these stories, regardless of the origin, because its a story about second chances, its a story about good overcoming evil, redemption and, they’re always good springboards about discussions of faith and of God.

Haoson: One of the things I did not realize about superman, is the era and the time he was created. onga no, this kinds of discussions allows people to talk about God. This is the best time to be a Geek, kasi we can use all the things we are seeing right now as a means to bring Jesus Christ to people not normally reached by people.

Haoson: Which animated Superman version did you like the best and why?

Boris: The New Adventures of Superman. My biggest dream was to fly. He’s the first character I knew to fly so I was just faithful to him.

Haoson: Which version of Superman is your most favorite?

Boris: Man of Steel. That gave a diff. dimension of him. I liked the fact that they can also be flawed. The reason why why I was compelled to Catechism to the Evangelical faith is the way that Jesus is real to me and how he is. And that he is 100% God and 100% human.

I loved that it showed the heroes of the bible struggle and failed and was redeemed by God in so many ways. In the catholic faith, a saint is a saint. And I think I liked that about the bible and when I read the bible and how David reacted to temptation and Joseph reacted to pride and be a star. And how Peter was aggressive but was called and how Paul is basically competing against the other disciples. I like understanding that because I can relate as a person and those are my struggles. And I was guided on how to deal with them.

In the same manner, this is the kind of treatment that I liked when they X-Men when came out. And they changed the landscape of how superheroes were told. Superman was my hero and I lost interest when I was growing up. But Man of Steel, and the Dark Knight, I find Batman and Robin actually really corny. Pinagbigyan ko pa ang kryptonian when he wears his underwear out and being powerful. But when you’re human and rich hindi na. When they started doing a diff. take on it. That’s where smart story telling comes into play and I liked the human dimension when they take on it for a superhero.

Haoson: What’s your take with DC taking on the gritty side of things.

Boris: My other background is on marketing. So I did a lot of things for PnG (Procter & Gamble). I like observing this. Because I know that marketing plays 40% of the decision making here. I believe though this may be a conspiracy theory here that the extended cut was designed that way for DC and Warner to make more money off it. And they did. Kahit 3 hours siya hindi ka mabobore eh. I watched the extended cut last night and I wasn’t bored, but then I realized ala una na pala. I think they intentionally did that. And even suicide squad, they didn’t have to cut the joker but they did. They outsmarted Disney with that. With Disney, after watching the movie, they can’t keep up with the after movie sales. But with DC they were able to do so.

Holistic marketing ang target ni DC eh. It’s seen where they did the rebirth after the movie, (rebirth in the comics) of the trinity and the rebirth of batman, and is the best selling comic of all time. Though I heard lang not sure about that.

All I’m saying is that nahuli ang DC and Marvel jumped the gun. Si DC kasi ang original strategy is take it slowly, and we’ll milk the character. Kaya nga frustrating. But then they decided to fast track, and when they decided to react to marvel, so they needed to find their niche. Zack Snyder was responsible to take on the gritty take. Whether you argue or not MoS was successful. And when they started with BvS they started to think that maybe it doesn’t have to take it really gritty. And they did that with Suicide Squad kaya naging panget ang ilang areas.

Marketing has a big factor in a lot of those decisions. It really depends on the marketing decisions they are taking. And it’s marketing that makes us watch the movies as they come.

Haoson: With that said, Are you liking their take with the DC universe?

Boris: As far as I’m concerned, as one as a hardcore fans I really like it. Of course a lot of people would argue, it’s not for the younger generation. I’m kinda selfish about that and I like it. I think it was made for me. If you’re a hardcore DC fan you’ll really savor every frame and I did that. Pero hindi ako ganun ka obsessed, because I don’t do easter egg hunts, but there will be scenes that would seem really familiar. Snyder was really intentional, and each frame was taken from somewhere. For a comic book fan, sobrang saya nun panoorin. I’m sure it could be better, but I really don’t mind.

Alam mo yung idea ng multi-verse di ba? the people in warner and DC, kumbaga, they can redo it anytime they want and it doesn’t matter. They are good in making materials to just be giddy about.

Haoson: which would you say is the best and worst DC movie?

Boris: I find the George Clooney‘s batman is the worst. And it’s really bad because maganda yung backstory ni Mr. Freeze eh. The best one is the Batman Trilogy. Since I’m a Superman fan, yung first Christopher Reeve version was also good. Given the limitation of their technology before that, they did it really good. And then sunod is Superman 2. Well Superman 3 and 4 was really bad.

Despite the star power hindi talaga eh.

Haoson: Pano yun Green lantern hindi ba the worst?

Boris: I didn’t even count that eh. And rating from the best to worst, the green lantern just fell off. The only good thing that came there is nagkatuluyan yung dalawang actors and they had kids.

YEAH… STILL NO!

So there you have it! If you want to reach out and get in touch with Kuya Boris, you can reach him via his Facebook account. Or if you’d like to join in on the various training Salt & Light Ventures provides, you can head to their fanpage right here.

Do you have other suggestions on who we can feature? Or did you like this post? Please sound off in the comments section!

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