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Hart, Tom – Hutch Owen: Unmarketable


Hutch Owen: Unmarketable

Don’t worry, I’m keeping track of all these titles that get online without the benefit of a decent scan and plan on fixing that when I do get a new scanner. Until then, sorry about the fuzzy lifts from other sites. Other than that, what you have here is a new Hutch Owen book, which is great for people like me who mostly didn’t read the online strip, at least not in any organized fashion. And this blurb from the cover (from The Comic’s Journal) says everything I think about the character in a much less rambling, much more coherent way than I ever could:”Owen is the consummate outsider…His call to individual liberty and self-fulfillment is the foundation of the comic’s philosophy…” So, why keep going with my review? No reason,really. This book has two hefty stories (Aristotle and Public Relations) as well as short pieces (some sketchbook strips (or at least that’s what they look like), the story from the 9/11 benefit book, Consumer Confidence Level, The Executive Hour and one strip without Hutch Owen, except for a cameo. Why do I keep having this horrible mental image of Hutch on all sorts of t-shirts and mugs in ten years as some kind of “rebel” advertising blitz? I think Tom Hart’s just about the last person in the world who would let something like that happen, but I can’t get the thought out of my mind. You know, I just read some of Tom’s daily strips in a hopeless effort to try and give this review some cohesion and I think I like those more than this collection. Go figure. I do like this collection quite a bit though, there are lessons in here to be learned (or at least reminded of) for almost everybody in this country. Contact info is up there, you can find this for $10 if you look but the cover price is $14.95…

Hart, Tom – The Collected Hutch Owen


The Collected Hutch Owen

Review from Chris Clark

Hutch Owen’s Working Hard is a perfect stand alone comic. Tom Hart has taken the standard narrative structure of western story telling and turned it on its ear. The story’s protagonist (and title character) doesn’t appear until several pages into the book after a lengthy introduction of the antagonist, Denis Worner. Hutch ultimately succeeds only by losing to his enemy. No pat happy ending here. Yet the reader comes away feeling somehow empowered and joyous. The writing and artwork is poetically vulgar; expressive and pretty without being polished. One of my very favorite comics. That is why I was so disappointed in this collection, Hutch’s introduction is so terrific that it cannot likely be topped and certainly wasn’t in the later stories. By the end of the book Hutch’s cynicism has defeated his joy of life. I cannot imagine the Hutch in “Stocks are Surging” offering advice on hideout construction or quoting Hamlet to children. The artwork gradually gets worse by getting better, if that means anything. It looks nicer and cleaner but somehow less beautiful. Anyway. Buy this book, read the first story and let it soak in, read it a few more times, wait a few months and then read the rest of the book. It’s all ok. I just wish Tom Hart had left the poor guy alone.

From me:

Collects a couple of the best mini comics ever done along with some other stories that were done for various anthologies. There’ll be a review of this up pretty soon but it won’t be by me, which is odd because this is one of my favorites. What can I say, I wanted an unbiased review. Or maybe it will be by me, because my other reviewer fell through, but here’s what “straight from the horse’s mouth” means, as told by A Hog on Ice and Other Curious Expressions:

When we hear someone say that he had such and such a piece of information “straight from the horse’s mouth,” we know that he means he received it from the highest authority, from the one person whose testimony is beyond question. The expression comes from horse-racing and has to do with the age of the racers. Scientists tell us that the most certain evidence of the age of a horse is by the examination of its teeth, especially those of the lower jaw. The first of the permanent teeth, those in the center of the jaw, do not begin to appear until the animal is two and a half years old. A year later the second pair, those alongside the first, begin to come through, and when the animal is between its fourth and fifth year, the third pair appears. Thus, no matter what the owner may say of the horse’s age, by an examination of its lower jaw an experienced person can get his information at first hand, straight from the horse’s mouth.