Denis Kitchen, pioneer of underground comics and pop culture and founder of the Kitchen Sink Press, publisher of some of the most innovative comics for 30 years, shares his stories in a public lecture at 8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 6, in Auerbach Auditorium of St. Mary’s Hall at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. He will describe a period when comics became a vital part of the American counterculture and tested the limits of freedom of expression.
“Denis Kitchen was an important leader in the underground comics revolution,” said Thomas Barrett, St. Mary’s history professor. “From R. Crumb to Stan Lee, he has collaborated with some of the most important people in the industry. As a comics publisher, he has few peers.”
Kitchen Sink Press published the works of the top comics masters, including Harvey Kurtzman, Will Eisner, and Crumb, from 1969 to 1999. One of its best-known products was the first total reprinting of Eisner’s “The Spirit,” in both magazine format and color. Other definitive collections of classic strips were Milton Caniff’s Steve Canyon, Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon, Ernie Bushmiller’s Nancy & Sluggo, and Al Capp’s L’il Abner. Kitchen and Paul Buhle won an Eisner Award (the top award in comics) for their 2009 book “The Art of Harvey Kurtzman, the Mad Genius of Comics.”
Today, he owns a literary agency representing leading comics artists and writers, sells original cartoon art, and publishes a number of books each year.
The talk is sponsored by the History Club, Center for the Study of Democracy, the departments of history, political science, and art; and the Democracy Studies Cross-Disciplinary Program.