Popdose/Kirkus Review by Jack Feerick

Popdose: pop culture news, reviews, and discussion

Wow, I’m just catching up! A ways back, on April 30, critic Jack Feerick posted a very encouraging review of Hand of Fire to the Popdose blog, part of the Kirkus Book Blogger Network.

Kirkus Reviews: The World's Toughest Book Critics

Interested readers can find the first part of the review at Popdose or go directly to the entire review at Kirkus Reviews online.

Some highlights (to me) from Feerick’s review:

Hatfield is that rare creature—an academic who writes plainly and with panache. Too much academic writing on art dissolves into a hail of buzzwords, forcing an artist into a particular theoretical framework—not so much pinning the butterfly as breaking it on the wheel. Hatfield treads lightly around the jargon. When he does evoke semiotic theory, he does so playfully […]. In the main, though, he confronts Kirby in the context of his themes and their intersection with his biography.


Hatfield lays out the history—of the shady publishing practices, of the fraught collaborations with Joe Simon and Stan Lee, of the feints toward autonomy and the simmering bitterness—about as well as anyone can, given that the accounts of the persons involved vary widely and are inevitably self-serving. But his finest work comes in delving deep into the themes that both haunted and sustained Kirby: the totalitarian mind-set, the horrors of war, the promise of youth and friendship.

Heartening words. So glad that these themes and concerns come through—and glad that Feerick finds the book’s prose clear and full of verve!

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