Comic books were never really my thing—they seem too grandiose. This has stayed with me until very recently in fact. That’s until I stumbled on the creators behind The Obscure Gentlemen, an OC-based web comic that details brothers James and Aaron Alvarez’s astute observations of society and the pop culture trends that surround all of us.
Tackling issues like stopping the birth of Kid Rock, punishing grandpas for telling girls they can’t be Darth Vader, and throwing a co-worker into the surface of the sun because he asked for their Twitter account—The Obscure Gentlemen are heroes in their own right.
Armed with a pen, a pallet of colors, the backing of American Idol season one runner-up Justin Guarini, and their wit—writer, James, and artist, Aaron, are the dynamic duo that might just save the day in the pop culture meets web comic world. If only they could do something about the world’s overwhelming Kardashian infestation…
The Characters that Made Them
James Alvarez: It came down to liking the gritty guys that got bloody and weren’t afraid of things. It also meshed with me liking metal music. It was like, “I like the darkness!” I just liked the grit behind it all.
Aaron Alvarez: Green Lantern was my favorite, especially in the Kyle Rayner era, which was in the ‘90s. Superman too of course—even to this day, those two are my favorites. I just love that pure, honest, retro-throwback thing.
On Joining Forces
JA: I wanted to work with my little brother, but he was also working on a blog at the time too. One day he created this comic and I was like, “What the hell is that?” and he asked, “Do you want to write for it?” Being the domineering older brother that I am I just said, “We’re going to do this—we’re going to create our own comic.” That was it.
Behind the Mask
JA: The gents are two brothers that do anything and everything. They aren’t too cool for school, which, I feel is such a problem nowadays. Everyone wants to look like the hero or the cool guy. That’s no fun. The Obscure Gentlemen are the type of guys that will choose to time travel to stop Kid Rock from being born instead of Hitler. People might be upset about a huge world issue and we’re pissed about Superman’s weird hair (laughs).
AA: It’s kind of an Abbott and Costello kind of thing, or even a Laurel and Hardy. It’s the classic duo where James’ character is more of the straight-laced and grounded man, and my character is more fantastical.
“We don’t always have to play ourselves although we are ourselves.”
JA: I like the fact that comics are a place where people can do things that you can’t do in real life. In real life, you can’t lift everything, you can’t fly—no one can stop crime like they do in comic books. Good always wins. That’s what I kind of wanted for us—now we get to do that.
AA: I recall an early conversation we had about the direction of the comic. It was almost like a Saturday Night Live or a Kids in the Hall sketch show kind of feel. We don’t always have to play ourselves, although we are ourselves.
The Organized Chaos of the Creative Process
JA: What I do is…I send out a tweet. It’s stream of consciousness. I like to see the reaction I get from people. How engaged are they? Do they like it? The next step is asking myself, “Can I bring this tweet to life, and how can I do it?” From there I go and create a story from it. I wanted it to be read from start to finish as a story. It’s based on life’s truths.
Listen to The Gents
AA: I thought it would be nice if there were a podcast where we could discuss comic books and pop culture. Our podcast tackles anything ranging back as far as the ‘20s sometimes. We utilize pop culture, see what the internet says about the topic, weigh in on what we think about it, and we just have fun. We find some pretty bizarre stuff (laughs).
What Lies Ahead in the Next Edition of The Obscure Gentlemen?
JA: I’d say having more fun not sticking to a format, reinventing ourselves eventually. Keeping the passion alive.
AA: We've had a Patreon for a bit and we're incredibly thankful to those who've helped support us in what we're doing. It's pretty neat that they like us that much. Recently we also started a YouTube channel. Maybe a book down the road.