The Scorsese of Commix

Denis Kitchen (founder of Kitchen Sink press) is to comics and commix what Martin Scorsese is to movies and cinema. Not only a practitioner of supreme merit, but a scholar, chronicler, producer and publisher. His name can be found in the “courtesy of” lines of many monographs and biographies (including a recent one on his friend Will Eisner) and he also produces his own.

Now there is a book about Kitchen himself. And it seems like he put everything into it, including the kitchen sink. The Oddly Compelling Art of Denis Kitchen (Dark Horse Books), with an introduction by Neil Gaiman, is a appealing compilation of printed and original strips (photographed with all the old analog printer marks) that traces Kitchen from his earliest to his latest (with a portrait by Basil Wolverton thrown in for good measure).

Here are a few facts and figures about Kitchen’s career:

Comics by Kitchen have appeared in anthologies such as Blab #8, Twist #2, Bijou Funnies #8, Consumer Comix, Mom’s #1-3, Mondo Snarfo, Arcade #3, The Spirit Jam and the 2001 Dark Horse Maverick Anthology. He has contributed covers and stories to various issues of Snarf, Dope Comix, Bizarre Sex, Energy Comics, Weird Trips, The Badger, Spirit Magazine, Nard n’ Pat, Alcohomics and Comix Book; covers for Krupp Mail Order Catalog; an album cover (Major Arcana); many covers, column logos, ads and strips for The Bugle-American and many covers, ads and column logos for The Fox River Patriot; comix and illustrations for several issues of The Milwaukee Journal’s Insight magazine; and strips for national magazines such as Head, High Times, and Playboy. One-man shows have been held at the University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh and at Ripon College and individual pieces have been exhibited in larger shows.

5 thoughts on “The Scorsese of Commix

  1. Pingback: Sex! Nudity! Comix! iPhone App... Censored! — Imprint-The Online Community for Graphic Designers

  2. Kim Munson

    We do have an Underground show, thanks Diana, for mentioning it. It’s a survey show, about 70% from Kitchen’s own collection, that tells the whole story arc of the undergrounds and includes all the key art of the era. The Underground Classics book, the show catalog, had a nice mention in Steven’s NYT article about Kitchen’s Kurtzman book last year.  Here’s a link to exhibition photos, reviews, etc… Denis and I are also developing a Kurtzman retrospective together, based on his book, which will open at the Toonseum in Pittsburgh next fall.

  3. Steven Heller Post author

    Thank you Diana for your corrections and ammendments.
    A brief rebuttal about one or two “m.”
    I refer to commix as a co-mixture of art and text. Thus COMics and MIXture. Ergo, two “m.”
    In fact, it is spelled both ways.
    But why quibble?

  4. Diana

    Minor corrections and amendments:
    Kitchen’s company, Kitchen Sink, went bankrupt in the early 90s. Kitchen is, for the most part, an artist’s agent now. He hardly ever draws any more, so to call him a “practitioner” is somewhat disengenuous.
    Kitchen was instrumental in getting the work of Eisner recognized by a new generation, and remains a big fan of Ernie Bushmiller, noticing the minimalist surrealism in Bushmiller’s Nancy long before anyone else.
    Kitchen is also working on a touring museum show of underground comix art, which deserves to be mentioned in this context.
    Finally, there’s only one M in comics, whether you use the “cs” or “x” ending!