Cartoonist redirects artistic efforts after tragedy with improvisational cartoon story

Official Press Release

New York, December 3, 2001: New York political and satirical cartoonist Tom Hart announced the launch of his new weekly on-line comics project Public Relations set in a post-September 11th New York City. Featured on http://www.hutchowen.com, Public Relations will unfold with a new full-color page every Sunday.

Tom Hart is a recipient of the comics industry Xeric Grant Award, has been nominated for the Harvey, the Eisner and the Ignatz awards, and is an instructor at New York City's School of Visual Arts. His previous works include the political and philosophical The Collected Hutch Owen, The Sands, Banks/Eubanks, Triple Dare, and Monica's Story published by Top Shelf Productions and Alternative Comics. Hart is also a contributor to the 9-11: Emergency Relief autobiographical anthology comic book project to benefit the American Red Cross based on the September 11 tragedy to be released January 2002 by Alternative Comics.

"The stories I had been developing before the attacks were still relevant, but they suffered from a loss of momentum," said Tom Hart, "The first few pages of Public Relations emerged after the September 11 tragedy." Public Relations marks a number of firsts for acclaimed creator Hart, including his first full-color project, and his first serialization since 1996's The Sands. What marks Public Relations as unique however, is that it will be completely improvisational.

"I am taking my cue from inspired works such as Chris Ware's Jimmy Corrigan and Lynda Barry's The Freddy Stories by developing the story slowly and confidently one page at a time," said Hart, "I have established some possible parameters and have already imagined some trajectories, but on the whole I want the story to unfold organically from its own momentum."

The first pages of Public Relations finds Hutch Owen antagonist and corporate executive Dennis Worner chipping golf balls into Ground Zero from a nearby building top. "Setting the opening action at the destruction site will force the story to evolve while reflecting the cultural changes that America is facing," said Hart. Hart envisions that his story will include a struggling public relations firm and a number of the New York City's homeless, but leaves the evolution of his story open-ended . "I am running on faith," said Hart.

Many of Tom Hart's comics feature the confrontational pariah, Hutch Owen, squaring off within and against the forces of multi-nationalism and corporate hegemony. His stories often examine issues with an uncommon objectivity, humor, and emotional depth. Tom Hart was born in upstate New York and lived in Seattle, Texas, Morocco, Florida and Boston before settling in New York City.

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