Jeremy's Hero Story

September 05, 2017

Jeremy's Hero Story

We love hearing the inspirational hero stories of our fans. Here's Jeremy awesome story about being a nerd, his immigrant parents and Wonder Woman:

Who were your childhood heroes, fictional and in real life and why?
Growing up as a kid in the 80's, I was able to get exposed to a lot of tv, movie, and fictional characters. This was a time when being a geek or nerd wasn't cool at all and being ridiculed was the norm for having thick lensed glasses and being school smart. But I was always taught the important lesson to be myself and not hide who I am and what I believe in. So naturally, I gravitated towards the X-Men because of how I related to the characters. I felt different than everyone else based on my darker Filipino skin and couldn't help that I excelled at math and science. The X-Men experienced the same anger and prejudice as my grandmother faced when immigrating to America. She was looked down upon and often times treated like she was less than everyone else. The X-Men characters were treated this same way because they looked different (Nightcrawler with his blue skin), possessed powers people didn't understand (Storm being able to control the weather), and stood for a world where everyone could live in harmony (Magneto's mission, though his execution of his world vision was lacking). I definitely related and the message the writers kept honing in on was that people were afraid of what they don't know and that makes them do awful things. I learned at an early age that you couldn't fault those people, they just needed to be educated to be able to understand those things they were afraid of.

Stepping out from behind the comics and television shows that I immersed myself with growing up, I was lucky enough to have outstanding parents who kept me grounded but also challenged me to dream. My parents, Mario and Armi, both were born in the Philippines but were motivated to come to America not only because of the promise of great opportunities but to give their future children the chance to grow up with more than what they grew up with. I've visited the Philippines a handful of times and I realized how hard my parents worked to afford myself, my twin brother, and younger sister the luxuries that we have, including the most important thing, an education. You could say they passed on that immigrant mindset to me because I hustle in everything that I do, may it be on my various work projects, the Shadow Trooper armor that I've been building for the past year, and now, to just being as good as a parent to my two kids as they have been to me and my siblings. I owe everything to them and am lucky to call them not only my parents but my heroes as well.

In your opinion, who do you think is the most important hero in pop culture today and why?
I have a hero in mind that has influenced myself in a profound way that ranks along those mighty heroes of our day and his name is Zachary Levi. Zach is an actor most famous for his portrayal of Chuck Bartowski in Chuck and notably the genius behind a nerd apparel company called Nerd Machine. I've been a fan of his since Chuck and am lucky enough to have met him at the first Nerd HQ event at San Diego Comic-Con in 2011. Not only is he a phenomenal actor and singer but he also uses his celebrity to help a worthy charity called Operation Smile that performs safe surgeries on children with a cleft palate condition. In our world today which isn't much different than the world I grew up in, appearances are focused on and the work he does to help restore these children's appearances is amazing because it prevents them from being ridiculed for something they had no control over. Zach continues to be an inspiration to me and his fan base continues to grow not only because he is absolutely humble and grounded but also through his work with Operation Smile.

How has our modern era of heroes inspired or influenced you?
As a parent, I've been blessed to have these awesome models to teach my kids the important lessons between right or wrong, having a moral and ethical perspective on things, and the most important answer to which comic studio is the best, Marvel or DC. And based on the various shirts my son wears day to day, one day is Superman and then the next day is Captain America, the answer is both! Today, my son and daughter grow up with superhero movies in movie theaters. They grow up with these fictional heroes teaching them courage and sacrifice, and for that I am indebted because they don't see fictional characters. They see Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man. They see Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. They see these actors embodying those characters that I only knew on the page of my comic book play out right in front of them. And for that, I give a standing ovation to the comic and movie studio executives who gambled on bringing these stories to us. I never imagined I'd witness Captain America fight the Red Skull on the sliver screen or see Batman get his back broken by Bane. The kid in me was overjoyed that these stories are leaping to another medium and I'm excited to share them with my kids when they're old enough, of course.



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