Denis Kitchen  

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Denis Kitchen (born 27 August 1946) is an American underground cartoonist, publisher, author, agent, and founder of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.


Early life

Kitchen grew up in Wisconsin, attending Horlick High, Racine, where he cofounded and edited Klepto, an unofficial school paper, also contributing stories and illustrations to the paper. He continued this interest at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where in 1967 he cofounded and served as art director for the humor magazine Snide, also supplying cartoons.

Publishing beginnings

In 1969 Kitchen decided to self publish his comics and cartoons in the magazine, Mom’s Homemade Comics, inspired in part by Bijou Funnies. The selling out of the 4000 print run inspired him further, and in 1970 he founded Kitchen Sink Press and launched the underground newspaper The Bugle-American, with Jim Mitchell and others. In addition to the Milwaukee artists like himself, Mitchell, Bruce Walthers, Don Glassford and Wendel Pugh, Kitchen began to publish works by such cartoonists as Howard Cruse, Trina Robbins and S. Clay Wilson, and he soon expanded his operations, launching Krupp Comic Works a parent organisation into which he placed ownership of KSP and through which he also launched such diverse ventures as a record company and a commercial art studio.

By 1973 KSP was publishing works by established comics artists Harvey Kurtzman and Will Eisner, and Kitchen was approached by Stan Lee to edit Marvel's underground comic magazine, Comix Book. Kitchen assembled a number of underground comics artists to submit to the venture, including Justin Green, Kim Deitch and Art Spiegelman, whose three page story was the foundation for what was to become Maus. Sales were not strong enough for Marvel to support the book beyond three issues, and although Kitchen put out two more through KSP to utilise the work already commissioned, the title ceased publication with issue five.

Funding defences

Kitchen's founding of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund occurred in 1986, after comic store manager Michael Correa was charged with possession and sale of obscene material. Since two of the works cited in the case as obscene were published by KSP, Kitchen felt some responsibility for Correa's predicament, and so he set about raising funds for the defense of Correa, who saw his conviction overturned on appeal. Kitchen used surplus funds to incorporate the fund as a non-profit charitable organization in 1990. Kitchen served as the fund's president from its inception until 2004, noting on his retirement from the board that "The challenges facing comics are different from when I founded the Fund ... I think it's fitting that the generation directly facing these challenges ... should be the ones standing up to them." [1]

After the press

Although Kitchen Sink Press collapsed in 1999, subsequent ventures have seen Kitchen establish himself as an art agent, handling the estates of both Will Eisner and Harvey Kurtzman amongst others through his company Denis Kitchen Art Agency. He is also a partner with Judith Hansen in Kitchen & Hansen Agency, LLC, which serves as a literary agency for comics writers and artists.

On June 10, 2006 at the Mocca Art Festival in NYC, Kitchen announced the formation of a new company with partner, book designer John Lind. Their company Kitchen, Lind & Associates serves a dual role as agency and book packager.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Denis Kitchen" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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