Hand of Fire: The Comics Art of Jack Kirby

Hand of Fire: The Comics Art of Jack Kirby

by Charles Hatfield


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Jack Kirby (1917-1994) is one of the most influential and popular artists in comics history. With Stan Lee, he created the Fantastic Four and defined the drawing and narrative style of Marvel Comics from the 1960s to the present day. Kirby is credited with creating or cocreating a number of Marvel's mainstay properties, among them the X-Men, the Hulk, Thor, and the Silver Surfer. His earlier work with Joe Simon led to the creation of Captain America, the popular kid gang and romance comic genres, and one of the most successful comics studios of the 1940s and 1950s. Kirby's distinctive narrative drawing, use of bold abstraction, and creation of angst-ridden and morally flawed heroes mark him as one of the most influential mainstream creators in comics.

In this book, Charles Hatfield examines the artistic legacy of one of America's true comic book giants. He analyzes the development of Kirby's cartooning technique, his use of dynamic composition, the recurring themes and moral ambiguities in his work, his eventual split from Lee, and his later work as a solo artist. Against the backdrop of Kirby's earlier work in various genres, Hand of Fire examines the peak of Kirby's career, when he introduced a new sense of scope and sublimity to comic book fantasy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781617031786
Publisher: University Press of Mississippi
Publication date: 09/27/2017
Series: Great Comics Artists Series
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.08(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.82(d)

About the Author

Charles Hatfield, Northridge, California, is associate professor of English at California State University, Northridge. He is the author of Alternative Comics: An Emerging Literature. Follow his blog at handoffire.wordpress.com/.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 3

Chapter 0 Kirby's Improbable Career 20

Chapter 1 Kirby's Narrative Art 36

Chapter 2 Kirby, Stan Lee, And The Creation Of Marvel Comics 78

Chapter 3 How Kirby Changed The Superhero 108

Chapter 4 Kirby's Technological Sublime 144

Chapter 5 The Great Bust-Out: Kirby's Fourth World 172

Chapter 6 Kirby At Apogee 206

Chapter 7 "Unexpected Constants": Kirby's Eternals Versus The Marvel Universe 228


Kirby And Kirbyana In Print And In Fandom 253

Notes 262

Works Cited 272

Index 284

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