Denis Kitchen began his career in 1968 as one of the earliest members of the influential “underground comix” movement. His self-published undergrounds, starting with Mom's Homemade Comics, and interactions with like-minded artists led in 1969 to the formation of his pioneer publishing company, Kitchen Sink Press, Inc. For thirty years he published numerous classic, underground and mainstream creators alike, some extensively or exclusively. A very partial list includes R. Crumb, Will Eisner, Harvey Kurtzman, Scott McCloud, Al Capp, Dave McKean, Mark Schultz, Howard Cruse, Milton Caniff, Justin Green, Alan Moore, Eddie Campbell, Neil Gaiman, Art Spiegelman and Charles Burns. Kitchen Sink received industry awards and nominations far disproportionate to its size, sometimes more than any other publisher, whether large or alternative.
In 1986 Kitchen founded and for eighteen years served as President of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to defending the industry's First Amendment rights. In 1996 Kitchen received the only Best Publisher Award ever bestowed by The Staros Report and in 1997 received a Small Press Pioneer Award from Diamond Comics Distribution.
The Denis Kitchen Art Agency, founded in 1990, specializes in the sale of original art, exclusively representing the Will Eisner and Harvey Kurtzman estates, Frank Stack and other clients.
Unable to abandon publishing altogether following the demise of Kitchen Sink in 1999, his Denis Kitchen Publishing Co., LLC produces hardcover books and boxed trading cards by artists such as Crumb, Kurtzman, Peter Poplaski, and his own prodigy daughter Alexa Kitchen.
After being Will Eisner's publisher for 20 years, Kitchen became his agent, forming Kitchen & Hansen Agency with partner Judy Hansen in 1999. The agency represents Eisner's estate and other past Kitchen Sink creative talent such as James O'Barr, Mark Schultz, James Vance, Dan Burr and Reed Waller, as well as other clients.
An expert on key aspects of cartooning history, Kitchen has written numerous articles and introductions on the works and histories of Capp, Eisner, Kurtzman, Ernie Bushmiller, and underground comix for Dark Horse, W. W. Norton, Comic Art and others. He was the curator or co-curator of several art exhibitions on Eisner and Kurtzman and is co-curating with James Danky an upcoming exhibition, “Underground Classics: The Transformation of Comics into Comix, 1960-1990.”
Kitchen’s own art has appeared in countless underground comix and newspapers and in publications as diverse as Playboy and Blab! From time to time he still gets back to the drawing board, and promises that a long-awaited collection, The Oddly Compelling Art of Denis Kitchen, is approaching its final stages.