Archive: Hagar the Horrible

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Pluggers, 2/26/16

I’m gonna tell you something: at first, this panel made me actively angry. And not for the reasons that Pluggers usually makes me angry, which is that it generally posits that city dwellers who keep up with pop culture are effete traitors who will be “dealt with” after the real American resurgence. No, I’m mad because the “plugger sippy cup” depicted here is from Starbucks or one of its ubiquitous knockoffs, which is exactly where effete city dwellers go for overprices frappawhatevers, whereas true pluggers drink cheap and horrible coffee out of a ceramic mug at a diner with a free refill policy. But then I realized that, no, that’s the plugger of 10, 15 years ago I’m thinking about. Starbucks has long penetrated every suburb and exurb out there, and those nostalgia diners have been by and large driven out of business, only surviving in cities where kitsch appeal keeps them going. This, after all, is the essence of pluggerdom: embracing the newfangled when it isn’t newfangled anymore, all the while maintaining that this is how you’ve always done it, and that Other People out there are doing it newer, and wronger, and badder.

Hagar the Horrible, 2/26/16

Remember, Hagar is a warrior chieftain in a society built entirely on plunder, so yeah, he “fought like an animal” in the sense that he was merciless and probably the other guy was dead by the end of the process.

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Mary Worth, 2/9/16

“Well, the surface of the ice represents our ability to move quickly or slowly, according to our needs and our abilities. The boundaries of the rink represent the restrictions placed on our behavior imposed by society or the nature of the universe, restrictions we need to respect and learn to live with. And the razor-sharp ice skates that swish and slice so quickly, that carry us to and fro with ease but can also, in the briefest of seconds, slice us open and end our lives in a terrifying moment of screaming and blood, so much blood — well, they represent the danger that is omnipresent, the danger that makes life so precious. Join me, Olive! Join me in this world of lightning-fast skating and sudden, violent death!”

Slylock Fox, 2/9/16

In panel one, this nice lady is going to use the scissors to cut this poor man’s shirt so that this vicious dog will finally let go of him. In panel, she’s going to use them to stab him to death.

Hagar the Horrible, 2/9/16

Ha ha, it’s funny because they’re about to be horribly killed and Eddie’s real broken up about it!

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Hagar the Horrible and Wizard of Id, 12/15/15

Most comic strips begin their existence as the singular creation of an artist or artist-writer pair; but once it runs for long enough, it becomes an institution, and often hired hands are brought in to do the actual day-to-day work on the strip. The personnel decisions that happen behind the scenes — at Walker-Browne Amalgamated Humor Industries LLC, say, or the lesser known Parker Hart & Associated Anachronistic Whimsy Professionals responsible for the unholy B.C.-Wizard of Id-Crock trinity — are opaque to us, and all we’re left with, if we’re regular comics readers, is the occasional disquieting realization that “the strip looks different.” Which is a long way of saying that Hagar the Horrible and Wizard of Id look different to me this week. Is this true for anyone else? Anyone? At least we can take solace in the evidence that the writing of the strips is staying true to their original vision: to put references to contemporary issues in imagined versions of our brutish past, in order to show that our present remains just as violent beneath its thin veneer of civilization.

Dennis the Menace, 12/15/15

Dennis is self-aware enough to know that he’s constitutionally incapable of pleasing a monotheistic God who judges humans against some absolute morality, or even of currying favor with a watered-down version like Santa. He’ll be happy to make a deal with a much older form of folk spirit, one with an agenda at once more opaque and easier to accommodate. The tooth fairy doesn’t care if you’ve been bad or good; the tooth fairy operates on a plane entirely removed from whatever ethical system you use to define those terms. The tooth fairy just wants your teeth.