Charles Hatfield, Associate Professor of English at California State University, Northridge, specializes in word and image studies, comics and graphic novels, children's culture, cultural studies, film and media, and popular genres. He takes pride in having developed new courses most semesters since arriving at CSUN in Fall 2001. A now-dated sampling of his teaching (class blogs from 2010) can be found below.
Charles has published widely in the theory and criticism of comics, most notably in the form of his book, Alternative Comics (University Press of Mississippi, 2005). His other academic publications include essays and chapters in the Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, The Lion and the Unicorn, ImageTexT: Interdisciplinary Comics Studies,English Language Notes, Transatlantica, SubStance, the Oxford Handbook of Children's Literature, and Keywords for Children's Literature.
Beyond academia, Charles has written extensively for comics industry trade magazines, most notably The Comics Journal. He now writes reviews and essays about comics at the blog The Panelists.
Charles has recently finished a monograph for the University Press of Mississippi titled Hand of Fire: The Comics Art of Jack Kirby, the first academic book about Kirby (best known as Marvel Comics' founding artist) published in the US. It is for this project that Charles was selected CSUN’s Jerome Richfield Memorial Scholar for the 2005-06 academic year. Look for it in January 2012!
Recently Charles has embarked on a third book project, in collaboration with Dr. Craig Fischer, focusing on the work of the Scots cartoonist, memoirist, and graphic novelist Eddie Campbell. This project began in 2010 with presentations at the International Conference on Narrative and the OSU Festival of Cartoon Art and continued with a paper at the Joint International Conference of Graphic Novels, Bandes dessinées and Comics 2011 at Manchester Metropolitan University in England.
Charles has been active in promoting the growth and development of comics studies as a field. He serves on the editorial boards of ImageTexT, the new Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics (from Routledge), and the International Journal of Comic Art. From 1997 through 2009 he served on the executive committee for the annual International Comic Arts Forum (ICAF), one of the most rigorous and respected conferences in the field. He chaired the ICAF in 2004 and 2005. Having stepped down from ICAF in late 2009, Charles now serves on the executive board of the MLA's newly formed Discussion Group in Comics and Graphic Narratives.
Born an Air Force brat in Alaska in 1965, Charles was raised in many places and now calls himself a transcontinental, with roots in both the Northeast and the Southwest. He lives with his wife and sons in Santa Clarita, a short commute from the CSUN campus. Aside from comics and cartooning, his pastimes include board gaming, hand drumming, 1960s-70s art rock, and kayaking.
His favorite books include Swift's Gulliver's Travels, Gibbon's Sunset Song, O'Brien's At Swim-Two-Birds, Johnson's Middle Passage, Brown & Williams' The Sailor Dog, and Green's Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary. His favorite comics stories include Jack Kirby's "The Glory Boat," Jaime Hernandez's "The Death of Speedy Ortiz," R. Crumb's "Whiteman Meets Bigfoot," and Carol Tyler's "The Hannah Story." Films he loves include Welles' Citizen Kane, Kurosawa's Ikiru, and Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro. Poets? Hugh McDiarmid, William Blake. Musical performers? Richard Thompson, Sandy Denny, Gentle Giant, Jethro Tull (to 1980), Roy Harper, Peter Hammill and Van der Graaf Generator. Too much information...
Prof. Hatfield's Courses for Fall 2010: