The Oddly Compelling Art of Denis Kitchen
Artist/Commentary: Denis Kitchen
Essays: Neil Gaiman & Charles Brownstein
Editors: John Lind & Diana Schutz
Publisher: Dark Horse Books
Price: $34.99 US
Like a lot of comics readers — not all, mind you, but a lot — I discovered the wonder of the medium through the super-hero genre. I remain a fan of both the medium and the genre today (obviously), but as an adult comics reader, I’ve enjoyed discovered different corners of the medium and industry, different applications, different histories. I’ve been aware of Denis Kitchen as a publisher for decades, but I really knew little of the man as an artist. My tastes tend to run a little more mainstream, so I never really happened upon his work before or chose to seek it out. Though this is billed as an art book, it’s really much more. It’s a history of an important and vital aspect of the comics industry from years gone by. While the art featured in this book is reproduced from originals in Kitchen’s own files, just as interesting as the images are Kitchen’s own commentaries on the selected pieces. The ease with which Kitchen moves between different roles in the creative and business processes is impressive, as is his apparent comfort with moving between different sectors of the industry and society. Kitchen somehow manages to embody respectability and rebellion at once, and while he helped to push comics into the future with his underground comics and publishing savvy, he also built bridges with the medium’s past in the form of friendships and partnerships with the men who helped to establish it in the first place.