SINCE IT BEGAN ON OCTOBER 29, 1959, IMHO, Asterix is one of the most delightful comic strips ever created: the artwork is excellent, and has delighted people world-round. But according to a report by Hugh Schofield for the BBC, there are those who believe that the strip just isn't what it used to be. That's because Asterix was a co-production between Italian-born artist Albert Uderzo, who, with his script-writer friend René Goscinny, had dreamed up the idea a few months previously on the terrace of his Bobigny flat — and unfortunately, René died in 1977.
It may be so, but the article, "Should Asterix hang up his sword?" is worth the read, because it's still a nice overview of the oeuvre.
On 22 October, a new album comes out, the 34th in the series, entitled, "Asterix and Obelix's birthday - The Gold Book". And, over the following week a series of events will be held across Paris to mark the anniversary. They include a musical, a seminar at the Sorbonne and a costumed pageant on 29 October.
For the French, who take their Bandes Dessinées (BD, comic strip books) very seriously indeed, Asterix is part of the canon. Not only is he a prodigious (and rare) cultural export - 325 million books sold in 107 languages - he also exemplifies perfectly the national self-image.
The Asterix web site is a delight. Do go visit, and check out the vast number of characters with all those wonderful names.
Cacofonix: Bard, school teacher and scapegoat.
Geriatrix: The Oldest Member of the Village.Suffix: Druid whose inventions spread like powder in the wind