Hägar the Horrible is a classic comic strip about a red-bearded Viking. He is married to Helga, who is a formidable woman with bigger horns on her helmet than he has on his. The rest of Hägar's family consists of his young son Hamlet, and a daughter called Honi who is just old enough to be The Ingenue. His best friend is a short guy called Lucky Eddie. This is a gag-a-day Strip set in Dark Age Europe covering both Viking invasions and sieges (he regularly harasses castles) and Hägar's home life.Not to be confused with Haggis Is Horrible.
Artistic License - History: Inevitable in a comic strip with this premise. For one thing, Attila keeps making appearances (and is referred to even more), even though he died three hundred years before the Vikings began to sail around Europe. Browne stretched this trope even further once, when Hägar met Nostradamus!!
Author Avatar: Hägar bares a striking resemblance to his creator, Dik Browne, as well as his son, Chris, who currently draws the strip.
Britain Versus the UK: In one strip, after being blown off course and shipwrecked, Hägar thinks he has landed in England and sends Lucky Eddie ashore proclaiming he loves the English. Turns out they have actually landed in Scotland, and Violence Ensues.
Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Hägar normally doesn't seem too impressive, but his job is raiding castles and sacking towns, and he shows off some pretty badass stunts while doing so. One three-panel strip has the catapult break down on a raid. So he successfully fills in for it by shotputting boulders at the enemy castle.
Delivery Stork: Hamlet asks his mother The Question. She answers that the stork brought him. He wants to know about his big sister, and Helga gives the same answer. Then he asks about his dad, and Helga says: "Four big storks."
In the Norwegian translation, all the main characters are named after people from Snorri Sturluson's Norse Kings' sagas. Hägar is named Hårek after Viking Age chieftain Hårek of Tjøtta (965-1036).
The Swedish translation names Hägar Hagbard, his son Loke, his daughter Brynhilde and his best friend Tur-Ture.
In Spanish-speaking countries, the strip is known as "Olafo el Vikingo" ("Olaf the Viking"). Hägar becomes Olafo, Lucky Eddie is named Chiripa and Honi is Astrid.
The French translation calls him Hägar Dünor, meaning Hagar of the North, but also an Asterix-style pun on one of Paris' train stations (Gare du Nord). His wife is Hildegarde, his daughter is Ingrid and his son Homlet.
The Finnish name of the strip is Harald Hirmuinen (Harald the Horrible) - Harald is a genuine Viking name. His best pal is Orm Onnekas (Orm the Lucky) in Finnish. Orm is also a genuine Viking name.
Rape, Pillage, and Burn: Hagar his crew pillages a lot, and occasionally burn, but they spare the women. (Kids read the strip, after all.) There are a lot of jokes about this; for example, in a strip, Hagar is leading an army with siege engines and a battering ram against a castle, but it has a sign that says, "No looting and pillaging allowed!" Hagar says, "Gee, I kinda hate to turn back now..."
Rhetorical Question Blunder: Hägar is looking for men willing to sail to the end of the world. The jester character answers: "Do I look like a fool?" And Hägar has his first volunteer.
Sadly Mythtaken: Dragons aren't nearly as common in Scandinavian myths as this comic strip would have you believe. It might just be a case of Rule of Cool and Author Appeal, though, since Dik Browne really liked drawing dragons.
Saw a Woman in Half: Subverted in one strip. The woman in the act tells him it was her fault to say that "there was no magic left in their marriage" (the magician is her husband, and it's hinted at that this won't end well).
Western Zodiac: Parodied. Helga rants how she made a mistake when she married the Leo Hägar and claims she would have done better if she had married a Virgo instead. Lucky Eddie applauds her - because he's a Virgo. She gives up on astrology.
When I Was Your Age: Also parodied. Hamlet is 12, and his grandfather tells him that in his time, kids had to grow up faster, and he himself had been 20 at Hamlet's age.
Also another relative of them who claims that he had to work 24 hours a day and got nothing to eat but stones and was grateful for them, when he was young. And then Helga comments how much he has mellowed...
"Where? Where?": Once they met a panicked Frenchman shouting "Les barbariens viennent!" (The barbarians are coming!) and thought he was mad, since they couldn't see anyone.