Today I’m talking with James and Aaron, two brothers and archenemies, of the very funny web comic, The Obscure Gentlemen. James also hosts, 12 For A Penny, a podcast dedicated to his favorite music. Aaron co-hosts, Plain Zero, a podcast where they watch a movie from the past, and discuss whether or not it stands the test of time.
M: What inspired you to start a web comic?
J: My little brother Aaron (The now artist) asked me to help him come up with ideas for a comic he was doing for his blog. So like a good older brother I told him that I was in charge now and we were going to do it on my terms. I also hit him…with my fist.
A: Like James said, I had a blog and from time to time was posting up web comics. They were mostly nonsensical and leaned towards absurdist, but in a bad way. So I asked him if he wanted to make a web comic and, well, here we are today.
M: How much of your background and experiences go into your comics?
J: A lot actually. Almost each comic is based off of an observation or an experience. When we first started it was mostly just snarky three panels. Now I like to go for more things based off of actual human interaction.
A: I’m like Daniel Day Lewis. Before each web comic, I’ll spend a year living out the life of the strip before drawing it. The logistics are a nightmare since we do one a week. It’s worth it though.
M: I noticed you have a slight obsession with Juggalos. Did one of them ever inappropriately touch you?
J: No! You were a Juggalo! Actually I love metal and took a short detour into the realm of the Insane Clown Posse. I liked their music and thought it was funny. Then I learned about other Juggalos and the culture and I felt like a I fell for a ruse. Now I lash out at this cult.
A: I was a 10 year old Juggalo. Those were dark times.
M: I was a Gigolo not a Juggalo, so stop trying to drag me down to your level!
M: Did you read a lot of comics growing up and what were some of your favorites?
J: Like most kids I liked super heroes and comics. It wasn’t until I got older that I really appreciated books like the Preacher, Watchmen, and Sandman. From there I really got into main stream Marvel comics and I’ve been a “Marvel Zombie” ever since. Wolverine makes me cry sometimes.
A: Thanks to my brother I grew up in a world of comic books. Green Lantern (The Kyle Rayer era) was really what got me hooked. I used to be a big DC Comics reader and I’m still obsessed with Superman. The Nu52 happened and now I’ve made mine Marvel. As for favorites, probably Preacher, Starman, Hitman and anything with the Fantastic Four. I still keep up with Green Lantern and Superman though. I could go on for hours with this question.
M: If you could have any super power what would it be?
J: The power cosmic, because I would wield it like a mother fucker. Not a literal one. Really there is nothing better than that power so suck my nuts flying because I could do that and everything else.
A: Matter manipulation. To control matter is the control the building blocks of the universe. I’d put it to good use though… I think.
M: Aaron is a co-host and James has been a guest a number of times on the podcast, Plain Zero, a podcast dedicated to movies and whether or not they hold up over time. I hate movies as you know, but I did notice there wasn’t a single episode dedicated to Stanley Kubrick movies. I would like to hear your thoughts on why they hate Stanley Kubrick and America.
J: I think they have failed to cover Stanley Kubrik because there are no ninja turtles or Bruce Campbell’s in Kubrik movies.
A: I’m actually a huge fan of Kubrick. One day we’ll get to him. Dr. Strangelove is at the top of my list. I just hope the other guys find it as hilarious as I do.
M: As a passionate hater of movies, I have to ask why is the podcast called, Plain Zero and there is not an episode devoted to, The Running Man. Is it because Jesse Ventura does aerobics?
J: I see what you’re doing with that sarcasm and “I don’t do requests”.
A: I could have sworn we did. Hmm. I’ll have to look into that.
M: No need Aaron; I’m right. I do the kind of meticulous research, that Pulitzer Prize winning journalists do. (entered Running Man on your podcast search and came up with no results)
M: James is a host of the podcast, 12 For A Penny, a podcast that discusses music. I also hate music as you know, but I think it’s safe to say you like heavy metal music. What are some of your favorite heavy metal bands?
J: Metal is a music I hold near and dear to my heart. My favorite bands range from having Glenn Danzig with a skull t-shirt to Glenn Danzig wearing mesh shirts. What I’m trying to say is that if you have a song sung by a tiny man then I’m all in.
M: I noticed there were not any episodes devoted to Michael Bolton. Why are you not celebrating his entire catalog?
J: That’s because we are all Michael Bolton in our own little way. Michael Bolton is what gives a person their power. He’s an energy field created by all living things. He surrounds us and penetrates us. He binds the galaxy together.
M: I will accept that answer; I also would have accepted no comment.
M: Out of all the concerts you’ve been to, which one was your favorite?
J: They are all my babies is what some jerk would say. My favorite has to be the first time I saw Danzig back in 93. It was the first time I truly understood music and tiny crooners.
M: Which heavy metal group would you have most wanted to be a roadie for?
J: None, because I assume that the hazing that goes on would be an HR nightmare and who has time for that. Really it would be Iron Maiden because they look like they have fun and aren’t too serious.
M: Now for the big question all of my readers want to know. (There are none) Do you have many groupies?
J: We have amazing Gent fans from all over the world. We have had a few weirdos that we have had to block but for the most part just great people who read the comic every week. I love our fans and I’m blown away when people buy our shirts or support us on Patreon. People spending their hard earned money on what we do is something that makes me smile.
M: Please tell the hill folk where they can find your comics and podcasts on the interwebs.
Comic and Podcast site: http://theobscuregentlemen.com/
2 thoughts on “Interview with Aaron and James Alvarez of The Obscure Gentlemen”
Great interview! I do feel I should point out, though, that the first episode of Plain Zero is the The Running Man episode.
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Like I said, top notch, crackerjack research.