The Oddly Compelling Art of Denis Kitchen

The Oddly Compelling Art of Denis Kitchen
edited by Diana Schutz
Dark Horse Books, 201
0

A handsome summation of the life’s work of underground cartoonist Kitchen, the founder of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Much of his work was boundary-pushing in a time when “outrageous” meant “publishing a comix magazine entitled Bizarre Sex with the cover story The Giant Penis that Invaded New York“. Kitchen was pushing boundaries because suddenly in the ’60s and ’70s people could, and although those boundaries now seems a little childish, it’s not as if, say, student newspapers publish outrageous cartoons anymore, is it?

Forty years later, Kitchen’s art is now a social history of the counterculture, and the many samples of his artwork are often less entertaining than his wry captions. The account of his publishing enterprises (notably the Bugle-American and Kitchen Sink Press, who reacquainted the world with Will Eisner’s The Spirit) are interesting to any self-publishers out there, and there’s also photos of his other projects (like a paisley-painted 1950 Nash) and endearing portraits of the author as a geeky hippie.

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