Hand of Fire
The Comics Art of Jack Kirby
Publication Year: 2011
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.
Published by: University Press of Mississippi
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This oneâs been a long time coming: not just the handful of years Iâve spent pushing and pulling at the bookâs text, not just the seventeen-plus years since my first professionally published article on Jack Kirbyâmy first professional publication, periodâbut much longer, so long, in fact, that the roots of the ...
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The wall stands as if in expectation, as if waiting for the man to reach out, to speak out. The man suddenly shouts, shaking his staff toward the wall, flinging his name and his terrible burden outward as if in challenge. Abruptly the wall answers with a deafening WABOOOMM!!âand a hand of fire sweeps across ...
Chapter 0: Kirbyâs Improbable Career
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Jack Kirbyâs career succeeded by accidents both happy and unhappy, and was scarred here and there by unfortunate or ill-timed decisions and plain hard luck. Biographical accounts paint himâdespite his commercial successes, artistic clout, and widespread influenceâas a man little used to taking care of his own ...
Chapter 1: Kirbyâs Narrative Art
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BAAAAAM!! Kirbyâs graphic ferocity, the sheer, brawling kineticism of his style, calls to mind combat: the slugfest, the siege, the riot, in sum the carnal indulgence of raw physicality and untamed rage. Take for example the opening two-page spread, pages 2 and 3, from the first issue of The Demon ...
Chapter 2: Kirby, Stan Lee, and the Creation of Marvel Comics
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In 1985 one of the beloved, sustaining myths of comic book culture came hurtling down: that of the Marvel Bullpen. According to this long-savored myth, the Marvel Comics of the sixtiesâin the eddies of which the comic book industry still spun, and still spins to this dayâwas a bastion of collegiality ...
Chapter 3: How Kirby Changed the Superhero
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Thus far Iâve tried to untangle Kirbyâs relationship with Marvel, the publisher with which he is most closely linked. Much of the lore and conversation of American comic book fans has to do with that relationship, because the Marvel of the 1960s was pivotal to comic book history and Kirby was pivotal to Marvel. ...
Chapter 4: Kirbyâs Technological Sublime
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Kirby and Leeâs The Fantastic Four, on which they worked in tandem from 1961 to 1970, was Marvelâs flagship and, along with Ditko and Leeâs The Amazing Spider-Man, one of the signature superhero comics of its era. It led the sudden surge in creativity which, as weâve seen, overtook and transformed Marvel ...
Chapter 5: The Great Bust-Out: Kirbyâs Fourth World
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Two worlds: the one green and flourishing, overlaid with forests and clean waters, a free-breathing, fertile world orbited by a floating city crystalline in its beauty, where the inhabitants rejoice in an unending dream of peace; the other a metallic husk, its surface scabbed by hideous machines and cratered by huge, ...
Chapter 6: Kirby at Apogee
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Both âThe Pactâ (New Gods #7, Feb.âMar. 1972) and its counterpart âHimonâ (Mister Miracle #9, JulyâAug. 1972) are flashbacks, detours from the forward-thrusting narrative of the Fourth World. Kirby described them as âsupplement[s]â and begged his readersâ indulgence. In fact, these stories are the core ...
Chapter 7: âUnexpected Constantsâ: Kirbyâs Eternals versus the Marvel Universe
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Consider likewise the following commentary by letter-writer Larry Twiss during Kirbyâs 1976â77 run on Captain America and the Falcon: âWhen the King returns, he returns. All of the wonder and power of the old Marvel magic is with us once again. Itâs really like a step back to what everybody is always calling ...
Appendix: Kirby and Kirbyana in Print and in Fandom
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Though Kirbyâs active career tapered off years before his death in 1994, his publication history remains an open book. Kirby publishing is an ongoing affair: the publication record of even his most popular and most studied work remains volatile, with new or revised reprint volumes appearing frequently. ...
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Publication Year: 2011
Series Title: Great Comics Artists Series