Hector Miray is a man on a quest. As a pastor, his life’s mission is to spread the message of Jesus Christ. But Hector is no ordinary preacher. He writes devotionals that illustrate biblical themes using characters from DC Comics and popular shows like “Doctor Who.” Then he takes his work to a venue that few ministries have tapped into: comic conventions in the Southeastern United States. From his booths, he engages nerds, geeks, and some of the actors of the characters featured in his books.
To many Christians in the geek community, Hector’s technique isn’t far-fetched. Since ancient times, epic tales have told of battles between good and evil, light and dark, sacrifice and redemption, and timeless elements that reflect the teachings in the Bible. The legendary author J.R.R. Tolkien understood this and set out to create his own myths. He and fellow academic Hugo Dyson shared this concept with C.S. Lewis and it was instrumental in Lewis’ conversion to Christianity. The three men later became members of the Inklings literary discussion group and both Tolkien and Lewis wrote modern myths inspired by their Christian worldview. As with Lewis before his conversion, fans of fantasy and science fiction love the mythic storytelling without understanding the foundational story that threads through it. Hector ministers to people in both camps: those who see the biblical parallels, and those who are discovering them for the first time.
He spoke with Legendarium Media about his ministry at the 2017 Raleigh Supercon.
Legendarium Media: Could you tell us a little more about what you do?
Hector Miray: I write a book series of essays on geek and faith culture called Faith and Fandom, and they’re basically devotionals or Bible studies on superheroes, comic books, video games, [and] anime, where if I see spiritual parallels in those mediums that I’m watching or reading, that I will just make notes and flesh it out into a Bible study.
LM: What inspired you to build a ministry based on fandoms?
HM: I’ve been a geek as long as I’ve been a Christian. I kind of grew up reading comic books as much as I read the Bible, and that’s always kind of been my secondary life, and I started attending comic cons about seven or eight years ago and didn’t see a really encouraging presence of the faith community at cons. … [At] a lot of shows you’d see people protesting or being negative and discouraging, and I wanted to try to be more encouraging, and, for the people who were people of faith who are into this, to strengthen their faith. But also for the people that might be looking for something – maybe be a step for them in that path.
LM: What are some ways readers have been impacted by your books?
HM: I think there’s been a lot of times where it feels like people who thought they were the only ones that were in that place where they saw connections or that they were encouraged by these mediums, they felt kind of isolated or alone, and this made them feel like they belong or that they’re not the only ones out there. I’ve met some people that had lost track of where they stood in their faith and just got bogged down in everything else, but the concept of attending a panel or a chapel at a con or reading a Bible study on Batman seemed a little more [easily accessible] than trying to walk into a church.
LM: Do you have a favorite fandom?
HM: I’ve always been a Batman person. Batman’s been my passion. I remember being a kid and seeing “Batman: The Animated Series.” I started reading comics because of “Batman the Animated Series,” the Fox “X-Men” cartoon, like that era where everything was after school was superheroes. That really hit me. And I started reading comic books then, but over the last maybe six, seven, eight years, “Doctor Who” has taken over my world in that capacity. My whole household are Whovians. We named our youngest daughter after a “Doctor Who” character and some of my more spiritually encouraging moments throughout the year come from a season of “Doctor Who.” I watch … with my camera ready so I can take screenshots with subtitles so I can go back to it later. So, between Batman and Doctor Who, that’s kind of right where I’m at.
LM: Where can our readers find you?
HM: On Facebook at facebook.com/faithandfandom spelled out lowercase, also all of our books are on Amazon, Walmart, and Barnes & Noble. I travel to about 28 comic cons a year in the Southeast, so if you show up at a comic con anywhere in the Carolinas you might run into me.
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28: 19-20 (NLT)