The Riff: Sarge or Hagar, Who Is More 'Macho'?
Once upon a VHS era, "Saturday Night Live" had an inspired game-show parody titled "?Quien Es Mas Macho?" -- in which Bill Murray quizzed contestants about who most embodied the manly heights of machismo.
When we read "Beetle Bailey" and "Hagar the Horrible" today, we cannot help but play this very game between Hagar and Sarge. Mostly because we are convinced that, beneath Hagar's vermilion beard, he basically IS Sarge.
Twin sons of different fathers. Two warriors, two eras -- and the very same bulbous-nosed profile.
Our hypothesis is not so farfetched as it might seem, of course, because the two men's creators -- Hagar's Dik Browne and Sarge's Mort Walker -- collaborated on "Hi and Lois," which itself is a spinoff of "Beetle Bailey." (Help us here, o comics scholars -- we can hear you breathing.) Artistic influence was bound to rub off.
Others for eons have surely noted the eerie physical similarities between the viking and the soldier -- from foot to waistline to knuckle to mouth, they are cartoon cousins. Yet there's one key difference: Hagar, as ironically "horrible" as he's rumored to be, is far more put-upon than Sarge. That's because Beetle is far less psychologically imposing than Helga, the wife who today leaves her viking hubby outside to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune.
So: "?Quien es mas macho?" Given that Hagar is more evolved -- and that Sarge's three-knuckled hands drag just a bit lower to the ground -- we award this round to Sarge.
Sarge shouldn't get too comfortable with the dubious crown, however -- the game's next contestant, we hear, is the Incredible Hulk.
Who is more macho on the comics page? Bring on your candidates ...
| September 1, 2008; 11:00 AM ET
Categories: The Riffs
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