Charles Hatfield is a comics scholar, teacher, and lifelong Jack Kirby fan who lives in greater Los Angeles. Hand of Fire: The Comics Art of Jack Kirby, published in late 2011, was his second book.
More specifically, Charles is a Professor of English at California State University, Northridge specializing in comics, word/image studies, popular culture, media studies, and children’s literature and culture. He has been teaching university classes for thirty years. His perennial course, Comics and Graphic Novels, is one of the most popular English electives at CSUN, and draws students in diverse majors from across campus.
Charles has published widely in comics studies, including his first book Alternative Comics: An Emerging Literature (UP of Mississippi, 2005), recognized as a landmark study, and articles in such journals as The Lion and the Unicorn, the Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, ImageTexT, English Language Notes, Transatlantica, SubStance , and Studies in Comics. In addition, Charles has contributed chapters to Teaching the Graphic Novel (MLA, 2009), The Oxford Handbook of Children’s Literature (2011), Keywords for Children’s Literature (NYU Press, 2011; rev. ed. 2021), Uncanny Bodies: Superhero Comics and Disability (Penn State, 2019), and Keywords for Comics Studies (NYU, 2020, forthcoming).
Charles co-founded the Comics Studies Society, the US’s first member-supported learned society for comics scholars, in 2014, and served as its first President (to 2018). He continues to serve on the CSS Executive Board. He has also served on, and chaired, the executive committees of the International Comic Arts Forum (1997-2009) and the Modern Language Association’s Forum for Comics and Graphic Narratives (2010-2014). He has served on several editorial boards and now co-edits, with Jared Gardner, the Studies in Comics and Cartoons Series for the Ohio State University Press.
Besides his work in academia, Charles has written extensively for the comics press, notably for The Comics Journal and of course The Jack Kirby Collector. He now blogs on children’s and young adult comics at kindercomics.org (and in the past has written comics reviews and essays for the blogs Thought Balloonists and The Panelists). He loves writing about comics!
In 2015, Charles curated, for the CSU Northridge Art Galleries, the exhibition Comic Book Apocalypse: The Graphic World of Jack Kirby, one of the largest exhibitions of Kirby’s original art, perhaps the largest yet in a US venue. Comic Book Apocalypse became the best-attended gallery exhibition in the history of CSUN. The exhibition catalog, co-edited by Charles and his colleague, curatorial consultant Ben Saunders, was co-published by the CSUN Art Galleries and IDW (and may be purchased from either by following the links!).