Drawn to comics


Photos courtesy of JAMES ALVAREZ

Alumnus James Alvarez (right) and his brother Aaron run an Orange County web comic called “The Obscure Gentlemen.”

Ryan Chae, Sports Editor

Filled with an overflowing knowledge of films, TV shows and comic books that goes  back to his time at Diamond Bar High School, alumnus James Alvarez has put his pop culture interest  to great use.

With his younger brother, Alvarez has created “The Obscure Gentlemen,” a weekly Orange County-based web comic filled with the brothers’ views on everyday life as well as pop culture.

Although his younger brother is the main artist for most of the comics, Alvarez holds an equally vital role as he creates the dialogue and direction of the drawings.

“Each week, I’m responsible for coming up with a script and writing all of the dialogue and plotting every scene to work with my brother Aaron’s art style. He then brings it to life with his amazing art skills.” Alvarez said.

The Alvarez brothers began “The Obscure Gentlemen” 10 years ago when they first published their weekly comic, filled with references to pop culture and humor, online.  The positive support from fans led the brothers to continue publishing.

With over 13,000 followers on Twitter, “The Obscure Gentlemen” has become a platform for Alvarez to spread awareness for honorable charities and causes such as March of Dimes, the Cure for Alzheimer’s Fund and the Trevor Project.

In addition to spreading awareness, Alvarez hopes his comics can make people have fun and laugh.

“We want to be a positive creative force and show people that they can also do something creative that leaves a mark on society. We just want people to smile and laugh and be inspired by the everyday randomness of life,” Alvarez said via email.

Although Alvarez spends a lot of his time working on “The Obscure Gentlemen,” it is not his main job. Alvarez is a West Coast manager, who works with global corporations and files many reports.

To handle working in such a serious job, Alvarez uses the webcomic as an outlet to vent and just have fun.

Graduating from DBHS in 1996, Alvarez received a wakeup call from reality during his time on campus, as his experiences weren’t similar to that in the movies and shows that he grew up watching.

“I realized that TV and film had lied to me. You didn’t shower after PE, lockers were way smaller and detention lacked [“Breakfast Club” actor] Judd Nelson,” Alvarez said via email.

Alvarez had a fulfilling high school career, joining an environmental club that raised money for wolves in Washington while also discovering his love for literature and writing. However, the most important experiences from Diamond Bar were the bonds and relationships he developed.

“From metal heads, punks, vegans, straight edge hardcore kids, to your typical jocks, it was a diverse place,” Alvarez said.

One of those friendships involved  Joseph Van Fossen. With Van Fossen and a friend, Alvarez hosts “12 For a Penny,” a weekly podcast where the trio discusses music and its meanings.

Discovering the reality of the world during his time at DBHS, Alvarez hopes that students can use their time in school to share their opinions.

“Don’t be afraid to be creative. Take the leap in showing people that you have more to offer. High school is a place that forms you and gives you a glimpse of what you like. Turn that into something to share with the world.”