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The Best of Hagar the Horrible - Book Review

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by Marisa Quinn-Haisu (subscribe)
My name is Marisa. I am a fiction writer, a blogger, and a freelance journalist.
Published April 25th 2018
Hagar the Horrible is much loved comic book icon
The Best of Hagar the Horrible
Dik Browne

Hagar the Horrible is a husband and a father and loves a good drink. He works a demanding job, he bickers with his wife, he struggles to bond with his son and he is baffled by his teenage daughter. His problems are typical of your average modern suburbanite, with one exception. Hagar is a Viking warrior who lives in the middle ages with his family in a village in Norway.

Hagar the Horrible is the main character of the popular American comic book strip Hagar the Horrible by cartoonist Dik Browne. Hagar is an overweight and childish man who has a shaggy red beard and dresses in a bearskin rag and wears a metal hat with two horns on the side on his head.

He has a wife, Helga, who is large and intimidating and looks like an Opera singer with her blonde braids and horned hat. Hagar and Helga have two children together: their intelligent and gentle son Hamlet, who has no desire to become a Viking, and their sixteen-year-old daughter Honi, who wears a winged helmet and dresses in chainmail and wishes to follow in her father's footsteps and become a Viking warrior.

Dik was inspired to come up with Hagar the Horrible after reflecting on some old Swedish myths that his aunt used to tell him as a child. The character himself was modelled after Dik. Dik came up with the name Hagar after thinking back to what his children used to call him when he would chase them round the house, stomping his feet and bellowing in mock anger. "Run, run, here comes Hagar the Horrible!" his son used to shout in between bouts of giggles.

Hagar the Horrible was picked up by King Features and premiered in 200 newspapers in February, 1973. It was an instant success. In 1975, the comic had 600 subscribers. In 1976, that number climbed to 800 and it passed the 1,000 mark in 1978. Dik Brown died in 1989. The comic was picked up by his son Chris Browne, who has continued it ever since. In 2010, Hagar the Horrible was appearing in 1,900 newspapers in 56 countries and was being translated into 12 different languages.

The Best of Hagar the Horrible is a large, handsome hardback edition that contains the first 10 years of Hagar the Horrible. It was published on the 24th of October 2017. It is suitable for kids 9 years and up. It retails for between $30 and $50.

Hagar the Horrible is a delightful comic book character. He's adorable and loveable and shares a lot in common with Peter Griffin and Homer Simpson. He suffers a bit from the "Bumbling Dad" stereotype and his wife, Helga, has been slapped with the "Shrew" stereotype which is a woman who is unpleasant, nagging, and angry a lot.

Hagar and Helga may not be perfect but they have a great comedic relationship and present a strong, united front to their kids. I love their young son Hamlet, who wants to be a dentist and their beautiful, headstrong daughter Honi, who wants to follow her Dad into battle rather than settle down and get married.

The Best of Hagar the Horrible would be a great way to introduce young readers to the Viking Warrior.
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Why? Hagar the Horrible is like the Homer Simpson of the Viking world
When: The book is a little bit on the heavier side making it a bit hard to carry around but it is great for reading on the couch
Where: Available from your local bookstore or online retailer
Cost: $30 - $50
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