Asterix & Obelisk Turn 50, Still Kicking Roman Ass


TIME: For 50 years, the small but cunning warrior Asterix and his podgy stonemason pal Obelix have been battling the armies of Julius Caesar in their remote village on the Brittany coast — the only part of ancient Gaul never conquered by the Romans. The latest episode in the pair’s comic-strip adventures will be released in France on Thursday to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the first Asterix story, written by René Goscinny and illustrated by Albert Uderzo for the magazine Pilote in 1959. The highly anticipated new book, The Birthday of Asterix and Obelix, is the 34th in a series that was created as a way to keep American comic strips from taking over France. These days, however, Asterix is a global brand in itself: more than 325 million of the comic hero’s books have been sold in 107 different languages around the world, proving without a doubt the lasting and universal appeal of the plucky French characters. Uderzo, who has been both writer and illustrator of the series since Goscinny’s death in 1977, attributes Asterix’s enduring appeal to people’s love of stories about underdogs sticking it to the Man. “It’s David against Goliath,” he tells TIME. “Everyone can identify with the image of retribution against things that are bigger than us.” Yet for some, the Asterix stories have also symbolized French anxiety over globalization and the struggle of independent-minded people everywhere against the hegemonic power of the day, be it Roman imperialists or Anglo-Saxon capitalists. MORE

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *