Hägar the Horrible broke all records when it was launched on Feb. 4, 1973, becoming the fastest growing comic strip ever. The strip was created by Hi and Lois artist Dik Browne in his basement art studio/laundry room in Connecticut. The strip’s title was the family nickname for Dik Browne, and the characters were loosely based on Dik’s family and friends. The little red-bearded Viking has appeared in advertisements for IBM, Mug Root Beer, Skol Ale and in the opening titles for the TV show “Caroline in the City,” which starred actress Lea Thompson as a successful female cartoonist. Hagar has appeared on his own CBS special and is featured in Universal’s Islands of Adventure: Toon Lagoon theme park. The strip now appears in about 1,900 newspapers around the world. It appears in 56 countries and is translated into 12 languages and is now drawn by Dik’s son, Chris Browne.
Chris Browne was born in South Orange, N.J., in 1952 and grew up in suburban Wilton, Conn. The son of award-winning cartoonist Dik Browne, he assisted his father on the comic strips Hi and Lois and Hagar the Horrible. He contributed gag writing to Hagar the Horrible from its inception in 1972.
With his father, Chris co-authored “Hagar the Horrible’s Very Nearly Complete Viking Handbook” in 1985. When Dik Browne retired in 1988, Chris continued to write and draw the strip.
In addition to Hagar the Horrible, Chris Browne has contributed cartoons to National Lampoon, Playboy, Esquire, Heavy Metal and The New Yorker. He created the comic strip Raising Duncan, and he was a contributing editor to Sarasota Magazine.
Chris’ brother Chance Browne draws Hi and Lois, and his son-in-law Dan Piraro writes and draws the King Features cartoon Bizarro.
Chris Browne now lives in Sioux Falls, S.D., with his wife Carroll Browne and three ultra-cute dogs — two Chihuahuas and a Scotty!
He has a blog of his sketchbook drawings at: www.thehistorylesson.blogspot.com
He may look like a fierce warrior, but once you get past the sword and shield, Hagar is a loving husband, a devoted father and family man, and a reluctant taxpayer. While he has a voracious appetite for pillaging and plundering, they pale in comparison to his appetite for Helga’s home-cooked meals.
Helga is Hagar’s demanding wife. Dressed always in her horned helmet, she is a true Valkyrie, besting the beleaguered Hagar in battles on the home front. While Hagar may instill terror in the outside world, it’s Helga who “wears the skins” in the family. Helga is a devoted wife and mother, often doing what’s best for her family whether they want it or not.
He’s everything a Viking shouldn’t be: not too bright, but very gentle. Totally without chin or aggression, Lucky Eddie makes the perfect foil for Hagar. He may be the only man in history to be knocked out by a slowly descending rainbow.
Hagar and Helga’s beautiful daughter and an old maid of 16. Not overly bright, she is, nonetheless, enduringly sweet. Her metallic blouse would ward off most suitors, but her love for Lute continues unabated.
Hagar’s brilliant son, and a mystery to his father. Industrious, clean and studious, Hamlet would rather read than pillage, or make a daisy chain than take up chain mail. Introspective and serious, Hamlet is plagued by Hernia, the local tomboy, who thinks he’s dreamy.
Hagar’s dog, who’s as rumpled and harassed as his owner.
Kvack, the family duck, who, as his name implies, speaks with an accent.
A poet and troubadour who can neither rhyme nor sing. Fortunately, Honi is so much in love that she really can’t tell the difference.