BY Jack Davis, The Western JournalFebruary 12, 2023
1 year ago

Cartoonist Behind Iconic Funny Pages Series Has Died - You've Seen His Work

Cartoonist Chris Browne, who drew the "Hägar the Horrible" comic strip after the death of his father, who created it, has died.

Browne was 70 when he died on Feb. 5, one day after "Hägar the Horrible" marked its 50th anniversary, according to KELO-TV in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The station said it was told by family members that Browne had suffered a long illness.

Browne’s sister, Tsuiwen Browne-Boeras, announced her brother’s death on the Twitter page of the National Cartoonists Society.

“With much sadness, I am here to announce, my brother Christopher Browne passed away peacefully in Sioux Falls, SD after a long-term illness. After our father passed away, he was the face of our family’s cartoon strip Hägar the Horrible,” she wrote.

“Besides drawing Hägar, Chris drew and illustrated children’s books. He always had a sketchbook in hand and loved to draw for people. He will be very much missed by his family and friends as well as his fans throughout the world. We’ll miss his talent and his gentle and kind soul,” the post said.

According to KELO, Chris Browne had begun assisting his father, Dik Browne, with Hägar the Horrible as a teenager and then took over after his father died in 1989.

Browne told KELO that the characters were adaptations of family members.

“And he was a big man like me. He was 300 hundred pounds and six feet two and had a flaming red beard. He would come running downstairs when he would hear us and we would say, 'run, it’s Hägar the Horrible.' It was just a crazy made-up name,” Browne said.

In a 2002 online chat hosted by The Washington Post, Browne offered his idea of what comics should be.

“The comics are for everybody, and the comics page should look like America. I've been aware that there has been a real trend in the comics to become cynical and coarse, which I feel is a little unfortunate. The comic section has been a little island in the newspaper where people could have a breather from the horrors of the world,” he said.

In the session, he spoke about inheriting the strip from his father.

“I feel that comic strips should pass on when the people have stopped reading them, not necessarily when one artist or another has died,” he said.

“When we lost Dad in 1989, I was devastated and the only thing that got me through was the love of my wife, Carroll, and the idea that I could stay in touch with my dad's spirit by getting up every day and continuing his work on Hägar,” he said.

Browne also addressed the issue of a Viking behaving badly.

"I take a certain guilty pleasure from a strip where Hägar is shown cutting someone's head off," he said.

According to ComicsBeat, the strip is syndicated in about 1,900 newspapers in 56 nations. Dik Browne also created the "Hi and Lois" comic strip, which was drawn after his death by Chance Browne, Chris Browne’s brother.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Written by: Jack Davis, The Western Journal

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