The Time Machine: Hagar the Horrible by Richard Arthur Browne

Time Machine Icon for the History of Comic Strips Posts

I’ve been reading Hagar the Horrible strip for a very long time. In fact, when I had first chanced upon Hagar’s not-so-horrible-and-a-bit-loveable character, I would barely understand half of what transpired in the Hagar the Horrible cartoons.

Last night when I got into the time-machine, I set the dial to arrive in the year 1975, which was a couple of years after Hagar the Horrible went into circulation.

Here’s a quick biographical sketch of Hagar’s dad/creator, Dik Browne (or Richard Arthur Browne).

About Dik Browne

Browne was born on August 19, 1917 and his first comic strip was Jinny Jeep, which he created for the engineering unit of the US Army. Until the mid-fifties, he worked worked as an illustrator for magazines and advertising agencies, but in 1954, he got together with Mort Walker (Yes, Mort Walker of the Beatle Bailey fame,) to create Hi and Lois. The Browne and the Walker family still work together on that strip. (It never ceases to amaze me how the sons of these famous cartoonists are able to carry on their fathers’ legacies…especially as these particular legacies require exceptional drawing/writing skills. As I always say, genes are important…very very important!)

Any way, as it always happens with any smart and intelligent cartoonist, Browne too began to feel some spiritual unrest. He wanted to create his own strip. One that would be built around his ideas. So in 1973, Hagar the Horrible was born with a shaggy beard, a beaten horned helmet, a shield and a spear, and the comic strip was syndicated by King Features Syndicate in newspapers and magazines world-wide.

Dik Browne died on 6th Jun 1989. His two sons, Chris Browne and Chance Browne now write and illustrate Hagar the Horrible.

About Hagar the Horrible and Other Characters in the Strip

Hagar the Horrible is syndicated to 1900 newspapers (including The Times of India) in 58 countries and is also translated in 13 languages.

Some of the important characters in this comic strip are:

Hagar the Horrible

Hagar the Horrible is a Viking warrior who induces fear in the hearts of his enemies, but at the same time, he loves his family and his dog. Hagar is fat and had a slovenly appearance (he doesn’t like baths and avoids them.) At times he’s smart (for instance, he knows how to flatter his wife when she’s angry with him,) but more often he’s not.

Lucky Eddie – friend

Hagar has a friend – a thin, reed-like unlucky (!) character who’s called Lucky Eddie. Eddie is educated but he doesn’t appear to possess common-sense and hence his character is that of a gangly, awkward, unvikinglike viking.

Helga – wife

Hagar’s wife Helga is a huge woman, who is the matron of Hagar’s household. Helga is fussy about hygiene and is always found nagging Hagar for his not-so-clean ways. Helga wants her daughter Honi to grow up with traditional values, but quite like the modern day teenager, Honi has a mind of her own.

Honi – daughter

Honi, Hagar’s daughter doesn’t consider feminity a virtue. She’s tomboyish and prefers to wield a spear and not a ladle. This of course is not appreciated by Helga and so Helga and Honi are often shown having mother-daughter disagreements. Honi wears a winged helmet and she can be quite intimidating when she wants to.

Hamlet – Son

Hamlet loves to read. He is quiet and studious and unlike his sister, completely disinterested in being what he was born to become, a Viking. Hagar wants the boy to become a Viking, and he feels ashamed that his son should not want to follow the Viking order.

Snert – dog

This “v”oofing dog wears a tiny Viking helmet, does nothing, and lazes around. Hagar loves him and is seen trying to make the dog obey is commands.

 

What is the Secret behind the Popularity of Hagar the Horrible?

(The Caricaturist’s Opinion – Don’t use it for submitting Assignments, and if you do, be warned that I shall accept no responsibility for your getting a D…or even an F!)

I think that this comic strip appeals to a lot of people because of the following three reasons:

1. Hagar’s family is enveloped in a sense of timelessness, and the fact that everyday family humor is presented through a family that lived in another age, adds to its timelessness.

2. The characters in Hagar are the kind of people that you find in the real world, yet their characteristics have been exaggerated at times to build the contrast. Compare the character of Honi with Hamlet’s, and that of Hagar with Lucky Eddie’s.

3. The humor is simple. It doesn’t make you think. For every person who loves doing crosswords, there are perhaps 10 who have neither the time nor the inclination to tire out their gray cells…

🙂

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Caricature/Cartoon – Nelson Mandela – The Phoenix who rose from the ashes and became the President of South Africa!

Here’s the man who despite all odds, remained the Master of his fate and the Captain of his soul, and who rose to become the first African President of a nation plagued with Apartheid. With respect and awe, I present this caricature of Nelson Mandela.

The caricature, cartoon, sketch, portrait of Nelson Mandela, the first African President of South Africa who fought a long battle against Apartheid.

I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.

Nelson Mandela’s Biography by the Quirky Caricaturist

Nelson Mandela was born Rolihlahla Mandela the son of the Tembu Tribe’s Chief, on July 18, 1918. He completed his B.A. and then joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1944.He completed his study of Law, but that was later, perhaps while he was in prison. At ANC, he worked towards the Apartheid policies of the ruling party. He was tried for treason in the latter half of the 1950’s but was acquitted in 1961. However, this didn’t dissuade Nelson Mandela from following his ideals, and he was once again charged with the attempt to overthrow the Government. Following his trial, he was sentenced to life-imprisonment, and he was jailed for 27 years, from 1964 to 1990. In 1990, he was released. It was in 1994 that South Africa held its first multi-racial elections, in which ANC (Mandela’s Party) won and came into power.

Nelson Mandela and Non-violence

Initially Mandela favored the non-violent protests against apartheid, but then he felt that there was a need for an armed rebellion. To this effect, he established and led the armed wing of the ANC, but all their plans were designed to ensure that there was no loss of life (only of property.)

In fact, the US wouldn’t allow Mandela and ANC party members to enter the US as they were designated terrorists in their earlier days.

Mandela’s Role in the Lockerbie Trial

In 1991, Two Libyans were accused of sabotaging a PanAm flight leading to the death of 270 people. US and Britain were facing problems in reaching an agreement with Muammar Gaddafi as to how the trial should be done. Mandela offered that the trial be held in South Africa, and it eventually did.

Mandela’s Marriages

Though Mandela married thrice, his most famous wife is Winnie Mandela, who was a social worker and became his second wife. At the age of 80, he married for the third time. While he has six children from his first two marriages, there are none from the third. (Okay…I understand.)

Awards/Honors

Perhaps the Nobel Peace Prize that Mandela won in 1993 tops his long list of honors, but among other awards, he’s also received the Bharat Ratna award from Government of India. Bharat Ratna translates to “The Gem of India” and it makes me wonder – but then he also received Nishan-e-Pakistan “Symbol of Pakistan?” award! See, there are things on which India and Pakistan agree:)

Invictus – The Movie

I have to tell you about the movie Invictus in which Morgan Freeman has played the part of Nelson Mandela. It’s a beautiful movie that focuses on the South African Rugby team and Mandela’s inspirational politics. The movie draws its name from a poem by William Ernest Henley, which has the same title. The word “Invictus” means “someone who cannot be defeated.”

According to Mandela, this is the poem that helped him stay strong those 27 years when he was in jail.

Invictus – The Poem

Here’s the poem that inspired Mandela during his incarceration:

Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

– William Ernest Henley

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This post has ended. Stop Reading Now!
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The Caricaturist turns Philosophical – Ouch!

Though the caricaturist seldom turns philosophical on this blog, she has to say this.

We live in a world of thoughts that we build in our mind. When we look around us, we look through windows of the mind, and the panes of these windows reflect our thoughts. If we fill our mind with positive thoughts, the troubles of the real world become simpler to manage; but if we do the opposite and allow negativity to darken our thoughts, no matter how beautiful and easy things might be, we’d end up making a mess of not only our lives but also the lives of those who love us and care for us.

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If you’ve read it…don’t mull over it…if you mull over it…don’t blame me because I had warned you.
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Caricature/Cartoon – Leonardo DiCaprio – The Abagnale Jr. who grew up to become J. Edgar!

This guy?

Who else but Frank William Abagnale Jr. now known as J. Edgar Hoover, a.k.a Leonardo DiCaprio!

The Caricature, Cartoon, Portrait of Leonardo DiCapiro, the Hollywood Actor of the Titanic fame. Shown here as a combination of Frank Abgnale (Catch me if you can) and J. Edgar Hoover (J. Edgar.)

Catch me if you Can!

Leonardo DiCaprio’s Tiniest Biography on the Web

Every sensible biography must begin with the birth of its subject. Leonardo DiCaprio was born on November 11, 1974 in LA, California. As it happens, most people who go on to become famous in their lives, come from a broken home; so was the case of Leonardo whose parents separated when he was a toddler. Leonardo’s dad however was not a normal person. He was an artist…even better, he was a comic book illustrator. So his dad’s influence made Leonardo explore his creative side (?) when he was little. Leonardo went to work at the tender age of 5, but was kicked out of the show for unprofessional behavior (?!) Leonardo wasn’t a good student (obviously, if he were the world wouldn’t be talking about him and obscure caricaturists wouldn’t be drawing his rather unique physiognomy,) nor was he a smashing-hit with the fairer-sex.

One thing led to another, and then I saw him in Titanic (the movie, I mean, not the ship) smooching Kate Winslet. I checked out my parameters of handsomeness and wondered why the west found him good-looking! (BTW, he’s taller than he looks. He’s 5 feet 11 inches or more!)

Anyway, Leonardo DiCaprio’s first movie wasn’t Titanic, it was “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” for which he was nominated for an Oscar (He doesn’t look like himself in this movie though). He was nineteen then. Well, one movie led to another, until “Titanic” happened. “Titanic” catapulted Leonardo into being an international celebrity. I read that 28 Kabul Barbers were apprehended by the Taliban because they were giving those kids the Leonardo-Haircut!

Why Leonardo was called Leonardo?

When Leonardo hadn’t found his way out of his mom’s womb, she went visiting a museum. The yet-unnamed-Leonardo decided to kick his mom for the first time when she stood admiring a painting by Leonardo Da Vinci. Every mother wants to remember that first-ever kick (and hopes that the child would stop kicking once it’s out,) and so Leonardo’s mom decided to call him Leonardo.

Leonardo DiCaprio’s Famous Movies

Some of his movies are:

  • This Boy’s Life
  • What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
  • Titanic
  • The Man in the Iron Mask
  • Catch Me If You Can
  • The Aviator
  • The Departed
  • Blood Diamond
  • Body of Lies
  • Inception
  • J. Edgar (Recent)

The Caricaturist’s Opinion on the DiCaprio movies that she’s seen

I watched “Titanic” but it made me sad. I don’t like tragedies. There’s enough sorrow in real-life and I really don’t like spending my time watching movies in which the hero dies. I loved him as King Luis XIV in “The Man in the Iron Mask,” a movie that may or may not be historically accurate – but who cares – not the Caricaturist! “Catch me if you Can” is fantastic. Geniuses of all types make me feel optimistic and happy…and knowing that Frank William Abagnale Jr.s exist makes this world a more interesting place for me. I watched “Blood Diamond” and wondered what the heck we need those diamonds for. Even if I had millions, I’d not waste them on a stupid piece of shiny rock that I could tie around my neck and get Spondalytis. In my opinion, no sane person should wear diamonds…but then if the world was sane, I’d not have anything to do. Who’d I ridicule then?!

Finally, “Inception.” I hated the movie, and I have a strong reason for hating it. I watch movies because I want a break from work. This movie puts your mind to work, and that too in the highest gear. You’ve got to go on calculating the dream-depth, the corresponding time-span that Leo and his team can spend in the dream…additionally you’ve got to remember the names of the dream-owners and the team-members who get left behind on the higher level! Phew! The movie left me with a headache that refused to leave me for two whole days! And this movie got several award nominations…thankfully, it didn’t win many awards or I’d have to wonder.

J. Edgar (A movie made on the life of perhaps the longest-serving FBI director J. Edgar Hoover) is right now running in the theaters. I am wondering whether I should watch it in the theater or I should wait for it to premier on television…still thinking 🙂

Caricature/Cartoon of Galileo Galilei – The Scientist who was Persecuted for Speaking the Truth.

Does the earth go around the sun or does the sun go around the earth?

You know the answer and I know it – but 500 years ago, neither of us would’ve known it, and even if we did, we wouldn’t have the nerve to say it; and if at all we had the conviction and the nerve, we would be Galileo Galilei!

The caricaturist humbly presents the caricature of one of the most important men in astronomy and science.

The Caricture, Sketch, or Portrait of Galileo Galilie, the Genius who invented the telescope, discovered the moons of Jupiter and other planets, got on the wrong side of the Church for speaking the truth about the Earth revolving around the Sun...and so on.

Galileo in Heaven: So, where are those who had imprisoned me? Never mind - I'm just glad they aren't here!

So who was this man? And what did he do to go down in history as the man who defied the authority of the Roman Catholic Church?

Here’s Galileo’s tiniest biography on the web.

Biography of Galileo Galilei

Galileo was born in Pisa on February 15, 1564. His dad was a musician who decided that his son Galileo must become a Doctor (possibly as Doctors are never out of work, the way musicians are – and because even then they earned rather well.) As it happens with most sons, Galileo didn’t want to a Doctor, so despite his dad sending him to the University of Pisa to study medicine, he became a Professor of Mathematics.

Galileo’s first important invention was the telescope, which made faraway objects appear closer…and Galileo got hooked into using it to spy on the moon. To the chagrin of lovers world-wide, Galileo discovered and made it known that the surface of the moon was pimply, wrinkly, and not at all smooth and beautiful – thus, he robbed many romantic relationships of their lunar poetry.

He also discovered a myriad other things, but what literally made his world go round n round, was the discovery that Earth indeed revolved around the Sun. This obviously didn’t go down well with the church who’d been preaching otherwise for hundreds of years. So Galileo was accused of being a heretic (a non-believer in the teachings of the Church,) but Galileo managed to get himself cleared of the charges. Yet, he was barred from stating the truth, because the Church didn’t want to be proved wrong in front of the whole world!

Galileo however became more and more convinced of the fact, and then he published a book “Dialogues concerning the Two Great World Systems” that re-affirmed the Copernican Heliocentric Theory. The Church could take his blatant disregard for their authority anymore and they incarcerated him in his own house. He stayed imprisoned for 9 years, until he died in 1642, at the age of 88.

Galileo’s “Pardon”

In 1992, Galileo was finally “pardoned” by the Roman Catholic Church. Unbelievable but true. After taking away 9 years of a man’s life for their own error, they “pardon” him! I would think that an organization that committed such a mistake should seek a pardon instead. (I really can’t comprehend it – but then I am not the smartest person in this world – there must be some reason why the entire world accepts this…and I bow to the opinion of the majority.)

What else did Galileo do?

Among other things, he discovered that there are other planets that have their personal moons, and that gravity isn’t partial to heavier objects.

I know that this is merely tip of the iceberg of Galileo’s accomplishments, so click here to read more.

A POA for the New Year…and some Birthday Wishes – A Personal Post…

…and so you may want to skip it. I heartily recommend that you check out the Caricature Gallery and if you are the reader-type you may also want to checkout my Verbal Caricatures (the eBooks.)

The first week of January is a wonderful time. It’s filled with fresh hopes and new energy, and for me it’s doubly so, as my Birthday too falls in the first week of January. I thought it’s time for me to reflect upon the journey of this blog and also to share my blogging plans for the year 2012.

The Journey so far…

I had started this blog on a foggy December morning. It’s only goal was to bring me some happiness, as I wasn’t really doing well – neither financially nor physically. The act of drawing had always brought me happiness and peace but I had almost never done art commercially…and caricatures – I had never done caricatures before I started this blog. In December, this blog turned two. It now has about 80 caricatures of different personalities supported by this caricaturist’s take on their lives, and it attracts a good number of visitors too.

I made some wonderful friends through this blog. I’d like them to know that I’ll always cherish their friendship. I am also working with two clients now – earning through art had always been my dream and I am now inching closer to my goal.

This past year, I also wrote a book, “The Evolution of a Caricaturist” which I published on Google Knol (a Platform that’d be put to sleep April this year), and which got about 55,000 views, earned me a Top Knol Author badge, and was appreciated by its readers.

Another addition to this blog was the Interactive Art Tutorial Section, which didn’t really get sufficient attention from me, as my job kept me busier than usual – yet, the these interactive tutorials were downloaded 2000 times in the last six months and I am hopeful that people liked them.

The Plan for 2012

  • The plan is actually that this blog will retain its organic format. I will try not be tardy in posting to this blog and I will try to make at least two posts a week.
  • In 2012, this blog will see more of color-caricatures and I may also do some political caricatures and cartoons.
  • I am planning to do some How-to Posts that have been planned on the basis of some feedback that I received on the “The Evolution of a Caricaturist” book – for instance, how to do shading in caricatures, how to establish volumes in drawings…etc. I hope that my readers will find these posts helpful.
  • I also hope to find a publisher for an expanded, more detailed, and more richly illustrated version of the book, “The Evolution of a Caricaturist.” I was approached for it last year, but things didn’t work out. However, if you are a publisher who’s interested in publishing the book, please let me know.
  • And finally, I want to become a more active blogger. I’d like to visit more blogs, find bloggers who I’d like to read, and make some new friends in the New Year.

I guess that’s all 🙂

Once again, I’d like to wish everyone a VERY HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR.

 

 

Your favorite Caricature blog in 2011 – A WordPress Report received with a smile:)

The cute WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog 🙂

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 150,000 times in 2011. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 6 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Thank you WordPress 🙂 I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again – I wouldn’t be blogging if it weren’t for WordPress.