In the early 1960s, young, starry-eyed Denis Kitchen had a dream. That dream was to perfect his cartoonist art, create a nest of characters, and gather millions of dollars unto himself making people laugh at them. He studied the masters: Al Capp, Walt Kelly, Ernie Bushmiller. He worked on his craft, contributing to any obscure magazine or newspaper that would have him, and getting paid little or nothing for the effort.
He moved himself to the cutting edge of technology, discarding his trusty Bic pens in favor of brushes and India ink. He dumped his loose-leaf notebook and got a drawing board. Then he created his characters: Little Ingrid, Pooch, the Dread Spud, Mr. Krupp, various geeks, himself, and a star-spangled horde of others.
He self-published his early comics and cartoons in the magazine Mom's Homemade Comics in 1969. And then he became a publisher, founding Kitchen Sink Press in 1970 and gathering millions unto himself by printing the work of others. New ventures like a record company and a commercial art studio were later added to his company. Kitchen co-founded the underground newspaper The Bugle-American, and has syndicated comic strips to almost 50 other underground and college newspapers through his Krupp Syndicate.
An early Kitchen Sink Press letterhead by R. Crumb
Among the artists whose work Kitchen has published are Jim Mitchell, Bruce Walthers, Don Glassford, Wendel Pugh, Howard Cruse, Robert Crumb, Art Spiegelman, Justin Green, Trina Robbins and S. Clay Wilson. His company paved the way for such pioneering comic books like Gay Comix. Kitchen has kept his own cartooning hand limber with work in such titles as 'Snarf', 'Mondo Snarfo', and 'Twist', while also offering financial help in comic book-related court cases through his Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.
In 1993, Kitchen Sink Press merged with Kevin Eastman's Tundra Publishing and relocated from Milwaukee to Northampton, Massachusetts. Since 1999, Denis Kitchen has been mainly focusing on his work as an art agent and book packager, through companies like the Denis Kitchen Art Agency and Kitchen, Lind & Associates. His art and autobiography has been collected in 'The Oddly Compelling Art of Denis Kitchen' by Dark Horse in 2010. In 2013, Dark Horse also launched the imprint Kitchen Sink Books, that focuses on art books, historical collections and reprints.