Hagar.. not so horrible.

Posted: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Happy Independence Day!
I know, it sounds like I’m posting this a little (several weeks) early but if you happen to have a few pints of Norwegian blood running through your veins, you know that the 17th of May is Syttende Mai..celebrating the day in 1814 when Norwegians drew up a constitution and declaration of independence from Sweden.
Trouble is, Sweden said no and Norway remained under Swedish rule for nearly 100 more years.
No matter, it just proves that we are a patient bunch and will wear our oppressors down.. eventually.
The early Norwegians, though, the Vikings..now “they” were a force to be reckoned with.
A thousand years ago they  pretty much ran the show in Europe.
Oh, they probably did a little pillaging and plundering to get what they wanted but boys will be boys.
They also proved their mettle and seamanship by making the first Atlantic cruise to North America in their long ships..even setting up a government in Iceland that’s still around today.
A couple years ago, I actually met the best known Viking since Erik the Red.
Hagar the Horrible.
Chris Browne, who carries on the popular comic strip created by his father, was in Sioux Falls for a cartoonist conclave at Augustana College.
One of the great benefits of working at Keloland was the chance to meet famous people like him.
It was a fun interview in which this enormous and jovial man confessed he wasn’t Norwegian but after all the years around Hagar, Helga and the rest of the characters, he feels like one.
I asked Browne if he ever catches flak from readers or publishers for Hagar’s drinking habits.
He hasn’t..at least not yet.
As we talked, Browne said he and his wife were fed up with living in Sarasota, Florida and “really” loved Sioux Falls.
Later, Ken Alvine..local head of the National Cartoonists Society..told me Browne had actually made plans to move here but so far, we haven’t seen him. Look for a big guy with a red beard and funny metal hat.
After our visit, Chris Browne drew me a personal picture of the friendly Viking seen each day by millions in over 1900 newspapers around the world.
Speaking of big loveable Vikings, drop over to Hemmingsen’s blog and wish him a happy birthday. Or just honk when you seem him outside the Social Security office.

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