Tom Hart || External Homepage · Blog ·
I have been drawing all my life. I teach cartooning, and I've done a large amount of work for a large interactive company. I recently helped promote the new $20, $10 and $50 bills for the US Treasury.
Here's what my book copy tends to say:
Born in Kingston, NY, Tom Hart has been drawing cartoons since tracing a strange picture in the second grade of Charlie Brown's head sticking out of the tube of toothpaste.
A popular underground/alternative cartoonist since the early 1990s, he published his first book, featuring the surly and homeless Hutch Owen, as one of the earliest recipients of the Xeric Foundation grant for self-publishing cartoonists, a foundation created by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle co-creator Peter Laird. Two book collections of Hutch Owen/Dennis Worner stories to date have been published since by Top Shelf Productions. "The Executive Hour" is from "Hutch Owen: Unmarketable."
He has released numerous books to critical and audience acclaim, and has been nominated for Ignatz, Eisner, and Harvey awards. He has created a series, Pitch Unger, for a publisher in Japan, has been translated into French and Portuguese, and has had his work shown in shows from Seattle, Washington to Porto, Portugal to Lubjiana, Slovenia. and has also been a guest on Air America Radio?s ?The Majority Report.?
Tom Hart teaches cartooning all over the New York City area, where he lives with his wife and fellow cartoonist, Leela Corman.
--A cartoonist's history with his character--
I first drew Hutch Owen, after months of tossing and turning and not being able to get this bum-character out of my head in the summer of 1993. I dreamed his name.
He first really appeared in a small story in my mini-comic, Love Looks Left, as a more destitute version of me. In that story, called "Our Friend, Tom" he sat in a corner, played with himself and tutored young guys who came down his alley.
He was reborn as a real character in Hutch Owen's Working Hard which won me a grant from the XERIC FOUNDATION to self-publish it as comic book 1994.
I killed Hutch in that story. I was a cranky defiant kid, and I didn't want to stick with the same character ("laziness" I called it. "shallow.") for more than a story, so I made sure to make the story work the way I felt made the most sense. Which was kill the main character.
And so I avoided him for a few more years, concentrating instead on New Hat and The Sands.
And of course, Pitch Unger.
Japanese publisher Kodansha was interested in the Hutch Owen character. Being cranky and defiant, I told them he dead to which they responded, "Whatever happens, this character must live." Who am I to argue?
I collaborated with Jon Lewis to produce Pitch Unger, a version of Hutch that we thought would be more palatable to the Japanese reader. Boy were we wrong, but that's another story. I drew somewhere in the neighborhood of of 140 Pitch Unger pages in the years 1996-1998.
In 1998 with Pitch Unger dead in the water, I was posessed and inspired to make Emerging Markets, using, to some degree, my time in Morocco (another another story) as source material.
And soon after, I realized, quite simply, that all my good story ideas I had lying around were better if they were Hutch Owen ideas. A continuing character, not as laziness, not as shallow, but as a life's meditation.
>Here we are.
In 2003, I wanted to explore him and his world further, so I enlisted daily comics genius Shaenon Garrity to write Trunktown, a daily strip that I call "Hutch Owen's Downtime." It's a romp with a dozen crazy characters, of which Hutch is probably the least crazy and probably the least active, in sharp contrato his very active roles in his stories.
2004 and beoynd will see the next Hutch Owen collection from TOP SHELF, and perhaps a few other project I've got in the hopper. Stay tuned, and e-mail me with your comments and especially any "Hutch Owen Moments" out there in the real world.