Hagar the Horrible, by Dik Browne
Hagar the Horrible

When he had completed one year at the New York art school, Dik Browne quit school to start working at The New York American newspaper, where he made various technical illustrations. He joined the art staff of Newsweek, and then was inducted into the Army, where he spent three years in the Corps of Engineers.

Advertising for Franks, by Dik Browne (1956)
Advertisement comic for Franks (1956)

Simultaneously he published his first comic, 'Ginny Jeep', which was distributed among American soldiers. In the 1940s he began an association with Johnstone & Cushing, an ad company specialized in advertising comics. Browne worked on promotional comic art for most of the 1950s, including the design of 'Chiquita Banana', the redesign of the 'Campbell Soup Kids' and a comic for Boy's Life, the official magazine of the Boy Scouts of America.

The Tracy Twins, by Dik Browne (1957)
The Tracy Twins (April 1957)

Browne's contribution was a strip called 'The Tracy Twins', that he drew from 1953 to 1960. But it would take him until 1954 before he got his lucky break: King Features editor Sylvan Beck, who noticed his work in Boy's Life magazine. Beck introduced him to Mort Walker, who was looking for an artist to draw a newspaper comic about the family life of the sister of his famous comic soldier 'Beetle Bailey'. By then, Walker had already picked the artist of the newspaper ad comic 'The Trouble Twins', which turned out to be Browne as well!

Hi and Lois, by Dik Browne
Hi and Lois

'Hi and Lois', written by Walker and drawn by Browne, debuted in October 1954. The strip met with great success and after two years, a Sunday page was added to the daily. Over the years, Browne has been assisted by Jerry Dumas, Bob and Greg Gustafson, as well as Mort Walker's sons Greg and Brian (script) and his own son Chance (art), who finally took over completely after Browne's death in 1989.

Hi and Lois, by Dik Browne (1989)
Hi and Lois (1989)

In 1973, Browne came up with the viking family comic 'Hagar the Horrible', also for King Features. Both 'Hi and Lois' and 'Hagar' have earned Dik Browne a place among the greatest comic artists of the U.S. 'Hagar' was continued by Browne's other son, Chris Browne.

Hagar dailies, by Dik Browne
Hagar dailies (1992)

Dik Browne photo from 1966 © The Newspaper Enterprise Association
Dik Browne photo ©1966 Newspaper Enterprise Association

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