Asterix comic

Have you ever seen this guy? His name is Asterix (not to be confused with an asterisk "*"). He was a big part of my childhood, and one of his creators, Albert Uderzo, died yesterday at age 92 (unrelated to the coronavirus).

Asterix and his friend Obelix are the main characters in a humorous French comic that has been around since 1959 (and translated into over 100 languages). He lives in Gaul -- an ancient name for France -- at the time of Roman occupation. His unnamed village still "holds out against the invaders" due to a magic potion that gives them superhuman strength, brewed by their druid.

There's lots of fighting in the stories, but it's cartoon level violence that reminds me of Bugs Bunny or Road Runner (people just fly into the air). The stories are pretty interesting, and there are lots of subtle historical references. Every so often there are racist or sexist moments, but if you can bypass those the stories are a lot of fun.

Although it was written in French, the English translation is very good (and full of silly puns). You can read the whole collection for free at the Internet Archive or on the readasterix blog.

There are 38 official Asterix books altogether. The original ones were by two people, Goscinny and Uderzo, and I think these are the best ones. After Goscinny died in 1977, Uderzo wrote another 8 books, which are still good but don't have the same feel as the original ones. Two other people revived Asterix in 2013 and added four more (these are my least favourite, but maybe their writing will improve over time).

(Bizarrely enough, in one of the latest books there's actually a character called Coronavirus, but that's another story).

Comments

  • @respectful
    Sad news.

    I still remember the day someone pointed out to me that the druid's name Getafix, was a play on "Get a fix". I was 20 at the time. 😀

    Best episode for me is where Asterix is forced by the Roman chief to make the magic strength potion, and after taking it, he tries out lifting heavy things.
    He tries a big log, but fails, so tries a big rock, and fails. He tries smaller and smaller items, until he eventually manages to lift a tiny stone and celebrates.

    I think it is the same episode where the potion is actually for hair growth, and the Romans are seen endlessly cutting their hair.

  • edited March 25

    @geoff1000 Yep, those things happened in the very first story, Asterix the Gaul. There's so many good scenes like that!

    And just to make this thread a bit more cuddle related:

    Asterix can sometimes be a bit shy around women:

  • 38 official Asterix books? Damn! I'm missing a few... I've had these forever.

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