Headlines   2002 Review Index   August 29, 2002

Suspended Animation

Michael Vance - Mark Allen
Michael Vance Books

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Review Index 2002 - 2001 - 2000 - 1999 - 1998
Comics Legend Dik Browne

      Dik Browne was Richard Arthur and Hi and Lois and Hagar the Horrible. He was also a Comics Legend.

      Born Richard Arthur in 1917, he was initially employed as a copy boy at the New York Journal newspaper, then as an artist for Newsweek, before starting a career in advertising. But a publisher who enjoyed his art in Boy's Life magazine brought Browne and cartoonist Mort (Beetle Bailey) Walker together and changed both of their lives. With Walker on scripts and Browne handling art, they created the comic strip Hi and Lois in 1954. The family oriented feature bore the stamp of both of their personal visions, and quickly won great popularity.

      Browne created Hagar the Horrible, a comic strip featuring an uneasy melding of a Viking warrior and a husband worried by his family, in 1973. Looking remarkable like his creator, Hagar became even more successful than Hi and Lois.

      The prose of both of his comic strips offered a light humor bordering on whimsy, and was always focused on a punch line instead of story continuity. Dialog was direct.

      Browne's art was simple, using minimal backgrounds or settings that directed a reader's attention to his characters. In fact, Hi and Lois and Hagar were character driven in both word and art, which is a trademark of all successful literature.

      Dik Browne won two Reubens and the Segar Award for his comic strip work, and was president of the National Cartoonist Society in 1965. He died in 1989.

      Browne's comic book work included:Hi & Lois/Four Color(#s 683, 774, 955, Dell), Hi & Lois/Comics Reading Library (#11, King) Hi & Lois (1965-'71, Charlton), Hagar the Horrible/Comics Reading Library (#9, King). Many paperback compilations of both strips were published as well.

      Some older comics are expensive or difficult to locate. Price guides or comics dealers help. Comics shops, conventions, mail order companies and trade journals are good sources. Prices vary; shop around.

      The work of Dik Browne is recommended.

      Review by Michael Vance


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