Chris Browne has died

Chris Browne, cartoonist for everyone’s dad’s favorite comic Hagar the Horrible, died last Sunday. I get the news from D D Degg at The Daily Cartoonist, of course. He’s not the strip’s original cartoonist — that was his father, Dik Browne — but he has been the main cartoonist for the strip for most of its 50-year history.

I never had much substantial interaction with him (or with any other syndicated cartoonist). The one I remember is chatting on Usenet with him when I noticed a week of remakes of vintage Hagar comics. I think he explained that he was remaking a couple older strips as part of breaking in a subtle redesign of the characters for the modern comic strip formats. (I was quite young when the strip was new and in that exciting first rush of figuring itself out, so I was going to catch Browne reusing situations like Lucky Eddie not remembering the words to their drinking song. It’s nothing but the word “Drink!”, and was adapted into a commercial for Mug root beer when Mug had the Hagar license.)

The Daily Cartoonist offers a retrospective of the very many comic strips Browne drew over his career. My favorite of these non-Hagar strips is Raising Duncan, which ran for five years in the early 2000s and which GoComics is still reprinting. That one’s about a married couple of writers and their pets. The couple is cheerfully and demonstrably in love, and the dog and cat love one another too. It’s a quite happy strip, and we can use more of those. I keep thinking to remove it from my daily read, which is rather long, but moments like when the wife says, “Marry me!” and the husband says I did, and the wife (hugging him) says “Marry me more!” make it hard to cut.

Author: Joseph Nebus

I was born 198 years to the day after Johnny Appleseed. The differences between us do not end there. He/him.

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