He's HAGAR The Horribly Nice Guy; Cartoonist Chris is set to make his hero a TV superstar.
Vanquishing viking Hagar the Horrible is planning a new invasion of the waves - the airwaves, that is.
The Sunday Mail's cartoon raider (born 940AD) plans to do a fresh spot of looting with his own TV show.
And he won't be cleaning up his fearsome Viking act for the cameras. In fact, Hagar is about to become more horrible than ever, according to Chris Browne, the man behind the Hagar strip, who came ashore in Scotland to talk to us.
In true viking tradition, Chris - in an outfit clearly plundered from Hagar's wardrobe - beached his longboat in the northern isles. But don't let the bushy red beard and vast belly fool you - this is Hagar the Horribly Nice Guy.
At 25 stones, the chubby cartoonist reckons he'd be pretty useless in a raiding party (before getting into his longboat, he arrived on a much comfier cruise ship).
Still suffering from a bout of flu and looking green around the gills, Chris said: "I think Hagar would tell me to pull myself together, let's face it, this is not very Viking-like."
No surprise really from the man who, as a youth, was the inspiration for Hagar's peace-loving, vegetarian son when his own father Dik first invented the strip 25 years ago. Dik Browne started the strip after a car accident because he was worried about how his family could make ends meet if anything happened to him. Today, the Brownes are mega-rich on the back of Hagar and his exploits.
Chris took charge of the cartoon after Dik died in 1989 and is proud of the fact that Hagar appears in 1,900 papers worldwide, 300 more than when his father passed away.
He said: "In some countries he is Hagar, in others he is known as Olaf and in Sweden he's called Hagbard. He really is an international Viking.
"We are discussing a TV series now. It might be made in America and I hope it will come on to British TV too. But despite his worldwide appeal, Chris still isn't happy with Hagar and wants to change him - for the worse.
He said: "I think Hagar has become a little softer. When my father drew him, he was a gruff Viking with a warm heart. I think we may have made him a bit too tame.
"My father occasionally showed Hagar kicking dogs and spitting on the sidewalk. Now his biggest vices are eating and drinking. But look out.
"Mind you, there's always a bit of a balancing act because we wouldn't really want to upset anybody.
"You won't see Hagar carrying away maidens. In the early days, my father did drawings like that and we got mail from women objecting."
Chris respects feminists' opinions. Hagar, you suspect, might have been a bit more ruthless with them.
But then Hagar would probably make better use of his earnings.
Chris, who lives in Florida, said: "I have a simple life, with the same house and car as ten years ago."
He works at night. Inspiration comes from a pocket notebook Chris carries around with him to jot down his thoughts, and from real life.
On one occasion, his step-daughter Ashley came marching into the house, slamming all the doors.
That became a scene where Hagar and his wife Helga sat calmly as their daughter swept through the house banging doors, before Helga looked up from her knitting, pronouncing: "She's in love."
There's a quote from Dik on Chris' desk: "My son can do better than this."
For Chris strives to do things the way his father would have wanted. He's nice, non-materialistic and a good son. Hagar would be horrified.
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|Publication:||Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)|
|Date:||Oct 5, 1997|
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