I had an unusual childhood to say the least, a lot of the details you guys already know, some you don't, but that's not what this post is about. What it is about is that despite my strange upbringing, I have some really happy memories of that time in my life, and I"m sure yo won't be surprised when I tell you that many of them revolve around books. We moved around so much, that it was hard for me to make friends, but books stayed with me the entire time. Of course, they came and went, but they were still constant in a way that other kids never were. One of the books that stands out so much for me, and I'm thinking it was around the 4th or 5th grade, was a collection of Hagar the Horrible strips. I had loved him in the funny pages, so my mom bought me one of the books, and I read it cover to cover in a flash.
When I think about Vikings, I'll admit that my first thought is not of Hagar. Instead I picture a tall Nordic blond god, rippling with muscles, ready to ravage me. Or, he could be there to kill me and steal all of my property, but I'll keep my fingers crossed for the first option. But that is the adult fantasy I have in my head, as a kid, it was Hagar all the way. He was a family man; nagged by a stronger wife, bemused by an intellectual son (the way I saw myself), and in states of panic over the idea of his buxom daughter involved with an idiot of a bard. He was trying to provide for his family in the only way he knew how, pillage it from others, and he wasn't always that successful at it.
The poor guy wasn't blessed with the brightest mind, nor was he all that much better off with the crew he had, but despite all that, his family was family. He even managed to keep the dog and duck fed. Not growing up with a father, or at least not with a father I have great memories of, Hagar was the the kind of father I wanted as a kid. Strong, caring, gruff but tolerant, willing to bet here when needed... it was a laundry list of what I always hoped my dad could have been. The only thing my dad had on Hagar, he bathed more than once a year. Now that I couldn't have handled.