Irvine was born on March 22, 1969. Irvine gained attention with his Locus Award-winning 2002 novel A Scattering of Jades (which also won the Crawford Award in 2003) and the stories that would form the 2003 collection Unintended Consequences. He has also published the Grail Quest novel One King, One Soldier in 2004, and the World War II-era historical fantasy The Narrows in 2005. He released a collection of thirteen short stories called Pictures from an Expedition in 2006. Buyout, a novel set in 2041, was published by Random House in 2009.
In addition to his original works, Irvine has published Have Robot, Will Travel in 2004, a novel set in Isaac Asimov's positronic robot milieu; and Batman: Inferno in 2006, about the DC Comics superhero. His novel The Ultimates: Against All Enemies, about the Marvel Comics superhero team was published by Pocket Books in September 2007. He also wrote the Vertigo Encyclopedia. As well as writing about comics he has written a number of comic book series, including one featuring Daimon Hellstrom for the Marvel Comics imprint MAX, Daredevil Noir, and "Iron Man: The Rapture."
Irvine has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan (1991), an M.A. from the University of Maine (1996), and a Ph.D. from the University of Denver (2003). From 2005-11, he was an assistant professor of English at the University of Maine. He also worked for a time as a reporter at the Portland Phoenix. He is married with twins, a boy and girl. He is currently a professor at the University of Southern Maine.