Tentacle Tuesday: The Kitchen Sink Touch

Kitchen Sink Press, a trailblazing publisher of underground comix that grew out of Denis Kitchen’s successful attempts at self-publishing, has seen its share of tentacles. (For a detailed story of how Kitchen Sink grew from a modest artists’ cooperative into a force to be reckoned with, as well as a discussion of its 30-year legacy, pay Comixjoint a visit.)

First we have a pair of entries from the Death Rattle catalogue. There were 3 “volumes” (series, if you will) published, and my favourite is volume 2, consisting of 18 issues coming out between October 1985 and October 1988, starting out in glorious colour but reverting to black-and-white with issue 6 (which was fine, actually). It’s a remarkably consistent anthology nearly devoid of clunkers, and featuring awesome stories and art by Rand Holmes, Jaxon, Tom Veitch, Al Williamson, Wally Wood, Steve Stiles, etc.  It’s also where Mark Schultz’ Xenozoic Tales series was introduced (Death Rattle no. 8, December 1986)!

Death Rattle no. 4 (April 1986), cover by Rand Holmes, who’s already ascended to the rank of Tentacle Tuesday Master.
Death Rattle no. 12 (September 1987), cover by Jaxon (Jack Jackson). The cover belongs to Jaxon’s “Bulto… The Cosmic Slug“, an epic eleven-parter that I really enjoyed reading (and not only because of its manifold tentacles). We’ll talk about that again.

Speaking of Jaxon, I’d like to quote from General Jackson, a tribute written by Margaret Moser (who dated him on-and-off through the years).

« The last time I saw Jack was a humid, late summer night in 2005 at the South Austin Museum of Popular Culture. His hair was nearly white and had lost its red-brown burnish, but his mustache was bushy as ever, and he resembled God Nose himself. He was a little grumpy, probably feeling bad, and I was with my boyfriend, so I didn’t sit on his lap. I did kiss his leathery cheek and fetch him a beer. He smelled like cigarette smoke and maybe of Old Spice.

On Wednesday, June 7, just three weeks after his birthday, Jack Jackson took his life at the graves of his parents outside Stockdale. His diabetes and arthritis were getting worse, affecting his ability to draw, and he’d been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Unwilling to face a debilitating course of chemo treatment, he put down his pen forever and made his own kind of peace with the unforgiving future. »

On to something more cheerful! Next, we have a bit of a non sequitur in this otherwise horror-centric post, although one might argue that being grabbed by an octopus is a traumatic experience. What’s The Spirit doing in here, you might ask?

« Kitchen Sink continued publishing multiple undergrounds and alternative comics through the ’80s and ’90s, but also expanded into publishing non-underground comics, graphic novels and extensive anthologies, most notably by Will Eisner, Al Capp, Milton Caniff and Harvey Kurtzman. » |source|

The Spirit no. 34 (August 1987), cover by Will Eisner.
Page from “A Day at the Beach“, drawn and scripted by Will Eisner and inked by André Leblanc, printed in The Spirit no. 34 (August 1987). Somehow I’m not surprised that Eisner draws a mean-yet-elegant octopus.

All rested now? Okay, back to horror.

Flesh Crawlers no. 1 (1993), written by Richard Rainey and illustrated by Michael Dubisch. A quick look at the latter’s catalogue shows that Dubisch happily adds tentacles to whatever he’s drawing.

The scientist seems to have been preparing to dissect the specimen – turnabout is fair play! This cover reminds me of this, actually:

Barney & Clyde is a syndicated newspaper strip with jokes that are actually funny and characters that you can get attached to, a rarity these days. You can read it online.

Back on topic, another attack of the Flesh Crawlers:

Flesh Crawlers no. 3 (1993), written by Richard Rainey and illustrated by Michael Dubisch.

My final submission for today involves a cozy family scene where Frank is peacefully having breakfast with, err… Potted turnip babies and an almost-nude greek serial killer. I think.

Hyena no. 4 (1993, Tundra), cover by Dave Cooper. If Jim Woodring’s work frequently creeps me out, Cooper’s comics are viscerally repulsive to me (I think he goes for “nauseating” on purpose, but I’m not in the camp of people who like to experience strong emotions by watching disgusting, repulsive things happen). This cover, though, is all right.

~ ds

4 thoughts on “Tentacle Tuesday: The Kitchen Sink Touch

  1. mikedubisch November 12, 2019 / 21:36

    Honored to be part of this look back at the great KSP!


    • gasp65 November 15, 2019 / 22:26

      I’d say that, as a proud tentacle man, you’ve quite earned your place in KSP’s history, Mike. Thanks for reading and for dropping us a line!


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