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.
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. Although she is more than a match for her sword-bearing ruffian husband, she also has a tender side. 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.