Synopses & Reviews
Collecting the travels and travails of Hutch Owen since the year 2000, The Collected Hutch Owen: Unmarketable centers on "Public Relations" as Hutch is pitted against the Worner Company and a PR firm bent on redesigning the World Trade Center Site. This 92-page story - the longest Hutch story to date - was a one-page-per-week improvisational drama begun a personal response to September 11, 2001. Other stories include "Aristotle," in which Hutch winds up in Worner's employ as a slogan writer, as well as a surreal Hutch Owen "24-hour comic" in which Hutch battles the trends of the "far future" when everyone wants to be on TV and thinks they have something new to say. Hart's shorter Hutch Owen stories round out the collection with "Consumer Confidence Level," "In Hong Kong," "Attacking Attacked Attacking," and "The Executive Hour" (a solo Dennis Worner story).
"Hart's angry nonconformist Hutch Owen is a modern comics icon a pissed-off homeless man who stands up for idealism and represents the individual against looming corporate hegemony. But the tales in this collection are not angry diatribes. Instead, they mix slapstick and verbal humor to create high-level social satire. In the first story, 'Aristotle,' Hutch pays for a cup of coffee by parading as a mascot outside his favorite coffee shop. His free-form rants catch the eye of his continuing nemesis, corporate head Dennis Worner, whose goal is to market the entire world into bite-sized, profitable chunks. The denouement finds Worner and Hutch in a helicopter over a desert 'creativity camp' where Worner has sent his other lackeys for some toughening up, with disastrous results. 'Public Relations' is a darker, 93-page tale set in New York in the aftermath of 9/11. Again, Hutch's outsider freedom makes him, ironically, a prime spokesman for the 'rebellion' that marketers use to sell their products to anesthetized consumers. This story is somewhat more complicated, and it doesn't unfold entirely clearly as it takes a sympathetic look at traumatized people who are trying to find a way to survive in a commercial society. The simple art isn't quite up to capturing the apocalyptic finale, but it defines the humor and characters well. Hart's greatest strength is seeing all sides of the stories he's telling. Hutch Owen doesn't have any answers, but he has to keep raising the questions." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)