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Comics archive! Hagar the Horrible

Fun History Facts Tuesday

Hagar the Horrible, 2/4/14

The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, a Chinese historical novel written in the 14th century about the 3rd century collapse of the Han Dynasty, contains a number of fascinating stories both historical and legendary. One of my favorite (probably fictional) episodes involves Zhuge Liang, a Daosit mystic who was also chief advisor to Liu Bei, one of the warlords fighting for supremacy as the Chinese Empire came apart. Liu Bei had made an alliance with another general, and their joint armies were camped across the river from their rivals; Zhuge Liang had earned the suspicion of Zhou Yu, a general in the allied army:

Zhou Yu was jealous of Zhuge Liang’s talent and felt that the latter would become a threat to his lord in future. He assigned Zhuge Liang the task of making 100,000 arrows in ten days or face execution for failure in duties under military law. Zhuge Liang promised that he could complete the mission in three days. With help from Lu Su, Zhuge Liang prepared 20 large boats, each manned by a few soldiers and filled with human-like figures made of straw and hay. Near dawn, when there was a great fog, Zhuge Liang deployed the boats and they sailed towards Cao Cao’s camp across the river. He ordered the troops to beat war drums loudly and shout orders to imitate the noise of an attack. Upon hearing the noise, Cao Cao’s troops rushed out to engage the enemy, but they were unsure of the enemy’s strength, because their vision was obscured by the fog. They fired volleys of arrows towards the sound of the drums and the arrows became stuck in the straw figures. The boats changed direction when one side became loaded with too much arrows so as to restore balance. In the meantime, Zhuge Liang was enjoying wine with Lu Su inside the cabin and they returned to camp when the fog cleared. By the time they returned to camp, Zhuge Liang had acquired more than 100,000 arrows and Zhou Yu had no choice but to let him off.

So Hagar’s idea definitely has a respectable lineage behind it! However, due to the extremely hardcore nature of Viking culture, the arrows to be used will be plucked not from straw mannequins but from his warriors’ own mangled flesh.

Hi and Lois, 2/4/14

Boy, Hi and Thirsty sure look like they’re having a blast in panel one, don’t they? We can all see why they’re avoiding their wives and families for some boisterous bro time, just hanging out together and staring silently into the middle distance. “Last call,” says Thirsty, expressionless, as they prepare to gulp down their enormous cocktails and step out into the night.

A fisticuff artist recognizes high-quality work

The Phantom, 1/9/14

Oh, man, the Phantom! I’ve been remiss in keeping you up to date with the Phantom, and don’t have the time/energy to fill you in on all the details about the current plot, in which a plucky journalist has hired a disreputable guide to help her find the Bandar. Mostly today I just want to point out how much the Phantom is enjoying this little spat, especially the part where the journalist calls her guide by his full name right before punching him in the face. “Mmm-hmm,” he thinks, allowing himself the faintest hint of a smile. “That’s some good punching.”

Hagar the Horrible, 1/9/14

This might seems like a joke about the kids today and/or those wacky liberals with their “fair trade” woo-woo and what is that even about amiright, but you have to keep in mind that Honi belongs to the family of a Viking noble whose entire fortune is derived from plunder and theft. In that light, this is actually a fairly saucy and defiant answer! It’s like this woman wants her entire village burned to the ground.

Better Half, 1/9/14

Were you concerned that the Better Half had used up all its medical-themed jokes in one great burst of hospital hilarity last Sunday? Don’t worry. As long as humans love the things that will eventually kill them and fear the reckoning that a visit to the doctor brings, there will always be more medical-themed jokes, to make you laugh and make you think (about death).

Epic tales of passive aggression

Hagar the Horrible, 12/5/13

Like many Vikings, Hagar typically returns from his missions of plunder in the more civilized parts of Europe to his simple thatch-roofed house in Scandinavia. But now it appears that, just as Rurik led his followers to settle permanently in Russia and Rollo led his to Normandy, Hagar is turning his back on his desolate homeland and is setting up shop further south. It’s not clear whether he purchased this castle from some impoverished and presumably terrified minor aristocrat with loot he plundered elsewhere or if he just killed everyone inside and is going to move his family in without even bothering to wash the blood off the walls, but one thing’s certain: as far as Helga’s concerned, these are just temporary digs, a defensible base for their clan to occupy while Hagar steals more treasure and gathers more followers until he’s ready to conquer a truly grand palace where she can live in style. Haha, barbarian women, amiright fellas?

The Lockhorns, 12/5/13

One way that Loretta keeps herself entertained is by coming up with increasingly convoluted ways to say that her husband is a desperate alcoholic.