It first appeared in February 1973, and was an immediate success. Since Browne's retirement in 1988 (and subsequent death), his son Chris Browne has continued the strip.As of 2010, Hägar is distributed to 1,900 newspapers in 58 countries and translated into 13 languages. The strip is a caricature and loose interpretation of medieval Scandinavian life.
"Hagar the Terrible" was the nickname given to the late Dik Browne by his sons; Browne adapted the name to Hägar the Horrible for the purposes of alliteration. After his death Dik Browne's sons changed the title of the strip to Dik Browne's Hägar the Horrible in tribute. The name is pronounced Hay-gar by Chris Browne.
Hägar (sometimes written "Hagar") is a shaggy, scruffy, overweight, red -bearded Viking. He regularly raids England and sometimes France. Sacks notes the juxtaposition of contrary qualities that make Hägar endearing to the reader. Hägar's horned helmet, rough beard and shaggy tunic make him look somewhat like a caveman or primitive viking, but you also know Hägar has a soft underbelly occasionally exposed. Helga: Hägar's large-framed, bossy housewife, dressed in operatic, Brünnhilde-like blonde braids and helmet.She is the quintessential maternal "over-mothering" figure. Helga bickers with Hägar over his poor habits-such as forgetting to wash his hands after pillaging, or not wiping his feet before entering the hovel.
She is often seen trying to teach her old-fashioned values to her daughter Honi, though Honi never truly "gets" it. Her formidable appearance is based on that of a Wagnerian Valkyrie. Honi: Hägar and Helga's beloved, beautiful, sweet, cheerful 16-year-old daughter-dressed as a young Valkyrie with a winged helmet, metallic breastplate and a long skirt made of chainmail. Honi takes after Hägar's side of the family, a fact that her boyfriend Lute sometimes finds intimidating. She's a Viking warrior like her father, her weapons of choice are a spear and shield.
However, she's clueless about traditional "girlish" things, and tends to be overdramatic. Helga is constantly trying to marry her off, as she's seen as an "old maid" in their backward community. She was romantically involved with Lute the balladeer from the very beginning, and is the only character that can endure his terrible singing.
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