"7 FOOT COMIC COVERS" POSTER by R. CRUMB & PETER
note: Poster was too large for scan bed. Image above
was taken with a grainy digital camera and is a bit
fuzzy. Acutal poster is very crisp and colorful. ]
Before the dreaded "Underground
Crash of '73," Krupp Comic Works (Kitchen
Sink Press) was riding high. Underground comic
book sales were rapidly accelerating and the market
was expanding. Partners Denis Kitchen and
Tyler Lantzy were printing their comix "guts"
at one printer, and their glossy color covers at a
second Milwaukee printer to shave costs. The latter
had a press that could simultaneously print six or
eight covers on large sheets of paper measuring 68
inches x 89 inches. In 1972 Kitchen got the
bright idea to publish single "giant comic book cover"
images that would fill the entire sheet. He thought
that for $9.95 retail they'd make great "wall covers"
in college dorms and hippie pads across America. Lantzy
was more fiscally conservative and convinced Kitchen
that they should first solicit the product to
determine demand before investing thousands of dollars
on an untested item.
R. Crumb agreed to let two of his covers, Home
Grown Funnies and XYZ Comics, be the
guinea pigs. Peter Poplaski designed the
poster offered here, and Kitchen wrote the florid
hype. Crumb's covers are depicted as 7-foot
high billboards admired by passersby. The two older
people on the left and right clearly don't "get it."
The long-haired hippie sitting on the floor and
thinking "Keen!" is Kitchen. The "POP" comic
book he is reading could be construed as "Pop Art,"
but that was Poplaski's shorthand signature.
The group of Siamese cats allude to the fact that Kitchen's
first wife Irene bred Siamese cats. This
drove Kitchen crazy, so Poplaski, as
another in-joke, had cats invade his
two-dimensional space as well. The long-haired hippie
standing up is Denis' brother Jim, who briefly
worked for Krupp at that time. He is holding the hand
of his then-girlfriend Jan Sichi, whose left
leg was actually in a cast. Poplaski, "from
the old school," drew exactly what his models
looked like, even when a broken leg would seem to be a
distraction from the product.
A mailing of this promotional poster
was sent to head shops across America, but the
response was disappointing. Lantzy concluded
that the giant comix coivers venture was too risky,
and Kitchen turned his attention to other
crazy products, like Crumb's 78 rpm record, a
"Libido" puzzle and Kruppcards. All that survives the
aborted giant cover project are a small number of the
original promotional posters.
It isn't nearly as big as the
wallcovers advertised, but still measures a good size:
16.75" x 21.5" inches.
This 1972 hippie antique is in NM/Mint