ASTERIX or THE ADVENTURES OF ASTERIX (French : Astérix or Astérix
le Gaulois, IPA: ) is a series of
French comics . The series first
appeared in the
Franco-Belgian comics magazine
Pilote on 29 October
1959. It was written by
René Goscinny and illustrated by Albert
Uderzo until the death of Goscinny in 1977. Uderzo then took over the
writing until 2009, when he sold the rights to publishing company
Hachette . As of 2015, 36 volumes have been released.
The series follows the adventures of a village of indomitable Gauls
as they resist Roman occupation in
50 BC . They do so by means of a
magic potion brewed by their druid Panoramix, named Getafix in the
English translations, which temporarily gives the recipient superhuman
strength. The protagonists, the title character
Asterix , along with
Obelix have various adventures. The "ix" ending of both
names (as well as all the other pseudo-Gaulish "ix" names in the
series) alludes to the "rix" suffix (meaning "king") present in the
names of many real Gaulish chieftains such as
Dumnorix (See below for further explanations of the
character names). Many of the stories have them travel to foreign
countries, though others are set in and around their village. For much
of the history of the series (Volumes 4 through 29), settings in Gaul
and abroad alternated, with even-numbered volumes set abroad and
odd-numbered volumes set in Gaul, mostly in the village.
Asterix series is one of the most popular Franco-Belgian comics
in the world, with the series being translated into over 100
languages, and it is popular in most European countries.
The success of the series has led to the adaptation of several books
into 13 films : nine animated, and four live action (one of which,
Évariste Vital Luminais
Évariste Vital Luminais (1821 – 1896) paintings of
Goths had been rather popular in France and are a possible role model
Prior to creating the
Asterix series, Goscinny and Uderzo had
previously had success with their series
Oumpah-pah , which was
published in Tintin magazine.
Albert Uderzo drawing Astérix, in
Astérix was originally serialised in
Pilote magazine, in the very
first issue published on 29 October 1959. In 1961 the first book was
put together, titled
Asterix the Gaul . From then on, books were
released generally on a yearly basis. Their success was exponential;
the first book sold 6,000 copies in its year of publication; a year
later, the second sold 20,000. In 1963, the third sold 40,000; the
fourth, released in 1964, sold 150,000. A year later, the fifth sold
Asterix and the Big Fight sold 400,000 upon initial
publication. The ninth
Asterix volume, when first released in 1967,
sold 1.2 million copies in two days.
Uderzo's first sketches portrayed
Asterix as a huge and strong
traditional Gaulish warrior. But Goscinny had a different picture in
his mind. He visualized
Asterix as a shrewd small sized warrior who
would prefer intelligence over strength. However, Uderzo felt that the
small sized hero needed a strong but dim companion to which Goscinny
Obelix was born. Despite the growing popularity of
Asterix with the readers, the financial backing for
Pilote was taken over by Georges
When Goscinny died in 1977, Uderzo continued the series alone on the
demand of the readers who implored him to continue. He continued the
series but on a less frequent basis. Most critics and fans of the
series prefer Goscinny's albums. Uderzo created his own publishing
company, Les Editions Albert-René , which published every album drawn
and written by Uderzo alone since then. However,
Dargaud , the
initial publisher of the series, kept the publishing rights on the 24
first albums made by both Uderzo and Goscinny. In 1990, the Uderzo and
Goscinny families decided to sue
Dargaud to take over the rights. In
1998, after a long trial,
Dargaud lost the rights to publish and sell
the albums. Uderzo decided to sell these rights to Hachette instead of
Albert-René, but the publishing rights on new albums were still owned
Albert Uderzo (40%), Sylvie Uderzo (20%) and Anne Goscinny (40%).
In December 2008, Uderzo sold his stake to Hachette, which took over
In a letter published in the French newspaper
Le Monde in 2009,
Uderzo's daughter, Sylvie, attacked her father's decision to sell the
family publishing firm and the rights to produce new Astérix
adventures after his death. She said "...the co-creator of Astérix,
France’s comic strip hero, has betrayed the Gaulish warrior to the
modern-day Romans – the men of industry and finance”. However,
René Goscinny's daughter Anne also gave her agreement to the
continuation of the series and sold her rights at the same time. She
is reported to have said that "
Asterix has already had two lives: one
during my father's lifetime and one after it. Why not a third?". A
few months later, Uderzo appointed three illustrators, who had been
his assistants for many years, to continue the series. In 2011,
Uderzo announced that a new
Asterix album was due out in 2013, with
Jean-Yves Ferri writing the story and Frédéric Mébarki drawing it.
A year later, in 2012, the publisher Albert-René announced that
Frédéric Mébarki had withdrawn from drawing the new album, due to
the pressure he felt in following in the steps of Uderzo. Comic artist
Didier Conrad was officially announced to take over drawing duties
from Mébarki, with the due date of the new album in 2013 unchanged.
In January 2015, after the murders of seven cartoonists at the
satirical Paris weekly Charlie Hebdo, presumably for their
controversial work, Astérix creator
Albert Uderzo came out of
retirement to draw two Astérix pictures honouring the memories of the
LIST OF TITLES
List of Asterix volumes
Numbers 1–24, 32 and 34 are by Goscinny and Uderzo. Numbers 25–31
and 33 are by Uderzo alone. Years stated are for their initial
release. Numbers 35–37 are by
Jean-Yves Ferri and
Didier Conrad .
Asterix the Gaul (1961)
Asterix and the Golden Sickle
Asterix and the Golden Sickle (1962)
Asterix and the Goths (1963)
Asterix the Gladiator (1964)
Asterix and the Banquet (1965)
Asterix and Cleopatra (1965)
Asterix and the Big Fight (1966)
Asterix in Britain
Asterix in Britain (1966)
Asterix and the Normans
Asterix and the Normans (1966)
Asterix the Legionary (1967)
Asterix and the Chieftain\'s Shield (1968)
Asterix at the Olympic Games (1968)
Asterix and the Cauldron (1969)
Asterix in Spain (1969)
Asterix and the Roman Agent (1970)
Asterix in Switzerland (1970)
The Mansions of the Gods
The Mansions of the Gods (1971)
Asterix and the Laurel Wreath (1972)
Asterix and the Soothsayer (1972)
Asterix in Corsica (1973)
Asterix and Caesar\'s Gift (1974)
Asterix and the Great Crossing (1975)
Obelix and Co. (1976)
Asterix in Belgium (1979)
Asterix and the Great Divide (1980)
Asterix and the Black Gold (1981)
Asterix and Son (1983)
Asterix and the Magic Carpet (1987)
Asterix and the Secret Weapon (1991)
Obelix All at Sea (1996)
Asterix and the Actress (2001)
Asterix and the Class Act (2003)
Asterix and the Falling Sky (2005)
Asterix and Obelix\'s Birthday: The Golden Book (2009)
Asterix and the Picts (2013)
Asterix and the Missing Scroll (2015)
Asterix and the Chariot Race (2017)
* Non-canonical volumes:
Asterix Conquers Rome (1976)
Obelix Fell into the Magic Potion When he was a Little Boy
Asterix Conquers Rome is a comics adaptation of the animated film The
Twelve Tasks of
Asterix . It was released in 1976, and was the 23rd
volume to be published, but it has been rarely reprinted and is not
considered to be canonical to the series. The only English
translations ever to be published were in the
Asterix Annual 1980 and
as a standalone volume in 1984.
In 2007, Les Editions Albert René released a tribute volume titled
Astérix et ses Amis , a 60-page volume of one-to-four-page short
stories. It was a tribute to
Albert Uderzo on his 80th birthday by 34
European cartoonists. The volume was translated into nine languages.
As of 2016 , it has not been translated into English.
SYNOPSIS AND CHARACTERS
List of Asterix characters
The main setting for the series is an unnamed coastal village
(rumoured to be inspired by
Erquy ) in
Armorica (present-day Brittany
), a province of
Gaul (modern France), in the year 50 BC. Julius
Caesar has conquered nearly all of
Gaul for the Roman Republic. The
little Armorican village, however, has held out because the villagers
can gain temporary superhuman strength by drinking a magic potion
brewed by the local village druid, Getafix . His chief is
The main protagonist and hero of the village is
Asterix , who,
because of his shrewdness, is usually entrusted with the most
important affairs of the village. He is aided in his adventures by his
rather fat and slower thinking friend, Obelix, who, because he fell
into the druid's cauldron of the potion as a baby, has permanent
superhuman strength (because of this, Getafix steadily refuses to
Obelix to drink the potion, as doing so would have a dangerous
and unpredictable result).
Obelix is usually accompanied by
his little dog. (Except for
Asterix and Obelix, the names of the
characters change with the language. For example, Obelix's dog's name
is "Dogmatix" in English, but "Idéfix" in the original French
Obelix (and sometimes other members of the village) go on
various adventures both within the village and in far away lands.
Places visited in the series include parts of
Lutetia , Corsica
etc.), neighbouring nations (Belgium, Spain, Britain , Germany etc.),
and far away lands (North America, Middle East, India etc.).
The series employs science-fiction and fantasy elements in the more
recent books; for instance, the use of extraterrestrials in Asterix
and the Falling Sky and the city of
at Sea .
The humour encountered in the
Asterix comics is often centring on
puns, caricatures, and tongue-in-cheek stereotypes of contemporary
European nations and French regions . Much of the humour in the
Asterix books was French-specific, which delayed the
translation of the books into other languages for fear of losing the
jokes and the spirit of the story. Some translations have actually
added local humour: In the Italian translation, the Roman legionaries
are made to speak in 20th century Roman dialect and Obelix's famous
"Ils sont fous ces romains" ("These Romans are crazy") is translated
as "Sono pazzi questi romani", alluding to the Roman abbreviation SPQR
. In another example:
Hiccups are written onomatopoeically in French
as "hips", but in English as "hic", allowing Roman legionaries in at
least one of the English translations to decline their hiccups in
Latin ("hic, haec, hoc"). The newer albums share a more universal
humour, both written and visual.
All the fictional characters in
Asterix have names which are puns on
their roles or personalities and which follow certain patterns
specific to nationality. Certain rules are followed (most of the time)
Gauls (and their neighbours) having an '-ix' suffix for the
males and ending in '-a' for the females, for example, Chief
Vitalstatistix (so called due to his portly stature) and his wife
Impedimenta (often at odds with the chief). The male Roman names end
in '-us', echoing
Latin nominitive male singular form, as in Gluteus
Maximus , a muscle-bound athlete whose name is literally the butt of
the joke. Gothic names (present-day Germany) end in "-ic", after
Gothic chiefs such as Alaric and
Theoderic , for example
interpreter. Greek names end in "-os" or "-es"; for example, Thermos
the restaurateur. British names end in "-ax" and are often puns on the
taxation associated with the later
United Kingdom , such as
Valuaddedtax the druid and Selectivemploymentax the mercenary. Other
nationalities are treated to
Pidgin translations from their language,
like Huevos y Bacon, a Spanish chieftain (whose name, meaning eggs and
bacon , is often guidebook Spanish for tourists) or literary and other
popular media references, like Dubbelosix (a reference to James Bond
's codename 007).
Most of these jokes, and hence the names of the characters, are
specific to the translation, for example, the druid Getafix is
Panoramix in the original French and Miraculix in German. Even so,
occasionally the wordplay has been preserved: Obelix's dog, known in
the original French as Idéfix (from idée fixe, a "fixed idea" or
obsession), is called
Dogmatix in English, which not only renders the
original meaning strikingly closely ("dogmatic") but in fact adds
another layer of wordplay with the syllable "Dog-" at the beginning of
The name Asterix, French Astérix, comes from astérisque, meaning
"asterisk ", which is the typographical symbol * indicating a
footnote, from the Greek word αστήρ (aster), meaning a "star".
His name is usually left unchanged in translations, aside from accents
and the use of local alphabets . For example, in
Esperanto , Polish ,
Slovene , Latvian , and Turkish it is Asteriks (in Turkish he was
first named Bücür meaning "shorty", but the name was then changed).
Two exceptions include Icelandic , in which he is known as Ástríkur
("Rich of love") and Sinhalese , where he is known as සූර
පප්පා (Soora Pappa), which can be interpreted as "
For explanations of some of the other names, see List of Asterix
Many of the
Asterix adventures take place in other countries aside
from their homeland, Gaul. In every album that takes place abroad they
meet (usually modern-day) stereotypes for each country as seen by the
* Goths (Germans) are disciplined and militarists, they are composed
of many races that fight each other (which is a reference to Germany
Otto von Bismarck
Otto von Bismarck and to East and West Germany after the Second
World War) and they wear
Pickelhaube helmet of
World War I
World War I .
* Helvetians (Swiss) are neutral, eat fondue , are obsessed with
cleaning, accurate time-keeping and banks.
* The Britons (English) are phlegmatic and speak with early 20th
century aristocratic slang (like
Bertie Wooster ). They stop for Tea
every day (making it with hot water and a drop of milk until Asterix
brings them actual tea leaves), drink lukewarm beer (Bitter ), eat
tasteless foods with mint sauce (
Rosbif ) and live in streets
containing rows of identical houses.
* Hispania (Spain) is a place full of tourists. Hispania is the
country where people of northern Europe go on vacation (and ask to eat
the same food they eat at their homelands), causing tremendous traffic
jams in the Roman roads while traveling. Other recurring topics are
flamenco and bullfighting or olive oil in gastronomy. Reference is
also made to the famous character of
Don Quixote .
* When the
Gauls visited North America in
Asterix and the Great
Obelix punches one of the attacking Native Americans with a
knockout blow. The warrior sees first American-style emblematic
eagles; the second time he sees stars in the formation of the Stars
and Stripes ; the third time, he sees stars shaped like the United
States Air Force roundel . Asterix's idea for getting the attention of
a nearby Viking ship (which could take them back to Gaul) by holding
up a torch references the Statue of Liberty (which was a gift from
* Corsicans are lazy and irritable patriots who have vendettas
against each other and always take their siesta .
* Greeks eat stuffed grape leaves, drink retsina and always have a
cousin right for the job.
* Normans (
Vikings ) drink endlessly, they don't know what fear is
(which they're trying to discover) and in their country night remains
for 6 months.
* Belgians speak with a funny accent and snub the Gauls.
* Lusitanians (Portuguese) are short in stature and polite (Uderzo
said all the Portuguese who he had met were like that).
* Sumerians, Assyrians, Hittites, Akkadians and Babylonians are at
war with each other and attack strangers because they confuse them for
their enemies, but they apologize when they realize that the strangers
are not their enemies. This is likely a criticism of the constant
conflicts between the Middle Eastern peoples.
* The Jews are all depicted as
Yemenite Jews , with dark skin and
black eyes and beards, a tribute to
Marc Chagall the famous painter
whose painting of
King David hangs at the
Parliament). Asterix's and Obelix's visit to
Jerusalem is full of
references to the
* The Picts (Scots) use a typical dress with kilt (skirt), have the
habit of drinking "malt water" (whisky) and throw logs (caber tossing)
as a popular sport and, of course, the names of the characters all
start with Mac.
Gauls see foreigners speaking their foreign languages, these
have different representation in the speech bubbles:
* Iberian: Same as Spanish, inversion of exclamations ('¡') and
* Goth language: Gothic script (incomprehensible to the Gauls)
* Viking: Ø and Å instead of O and A (incomprehensible to the
* Amerindian: Pictograms (incomprehensible to the Gauls)
* Egyptian: Hieroglyphics with footnotes (incomprehensible to the
* Greek: Straight letters, carved
The various volumes have been translated into more than 100 languages
and dialects. Besides the original French language, most albums are
available in Estonian, English, Czech, Dutch, German, Galician,
Danish, Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Spanish, Catalan,
Basque, Portuguese, Italian, modern Greek, Hungarian, Polish,
Romanian, Turkish, Slovene, Bulgarian, Serbian, Croatian, Latvian,
Welsh as well as Latin.
Some albums have also been translated into languages such as
Esperanto, Scottish Gaelic, Scots, Indonesian, Persian, Mandarin,
Korean, Japanese, Bengali, Afrikaans, Arabic, Hindi, Hebrew, Frisian,
Romansch, Vietnamese, Sinhalese, Ancient Greek and even Luxembourgish.
In France, Finland, and especially in Germany, several volumes were
translated into a variety of regional languages and dialects , such as
Alsatian , Breton , Chtimi (Picard ) and Corsican in France, Bavarian
, Swabian and
Low German in Germany, and Savo ,
Karelia , Rauma and
Helsinki slang dialects in Finland. Also, in Portugal, a special
edition of the first volume,
Asterix the Gaul , was translated into
Mirandese . In Greece, a number of volumes have
appeared in the
Cretan Greek ,
Cypriot Greek and Pontic Greek
dialects. In the Italian version, while the
Gauls speak standard
Italian, the legionaries speak in the Romanesque dialect. In former
Yugoslavia, "Forum" publishing house translated Corsican in "Asterix
Corsica " into Montenegrin dialect of
Serbo-Croatian (today called
Montenegrin language ).
In the Netherlands several volumes were translated into Frisian , a
language related to English spoken in the province of
Friesland , into
Limburgish , a regional language spoken not only in Dutch Limburg but
also in Belgian Limburg and North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany and into
Tweants , a dialect in the region of
Twente in the eastern province of
Overijssel . Hungarian-language books have been issued in Yugoslavia
for the Hungarian minority living in
Serbia . Although not a fully
autonomous dialect, it slightly differs from the language of the books
issued in Hungary. In Sri Lanka, the cartoon series was adapted into
Sinhala (Singhalese) as Sura Pappa, the only Sri Lankan translation of
a foreign cartoon that managed to keep the spirit of the original
Most volumes have been translated into
Latin and Ancient Greek with
accompanying teachers' guides as a way of teaching these ancient
English translations of Asterix
The translation of the books into English has been done by Derek
Anthea Bell , and their English language rendition has
been widely praised for maintaining the spirit and humour of the
original French version.
The series has been adapted into various media.
List of Asterix films
Various motion pictures based upon the series have been made.
Asterix the Gaul , 1967, animated, based on the book
Asterix and the Golden Sickle, 1967, animated, based upon the
Asterix and the Golden Sickle
Asterix and the Golden Sickle , incomplete and never
Asterix and Cleopatra , 1968, animated, based on the book Asterix
and Cleopatra .
Dogmatix Movie, 1973, animated, a unique story based on
Dogmatix and his animal friends,
Albert Uderzo created a comic version
of the never released movie in 2003.
The Twelve Tasks of Asterix , 1976, animated, a unique story not
based on an existing comic.
Asterix Versus Caesar
Asterix Versus Caesar , 1985, animated, based on both
Asterix the Gladiator .
Asterix in Britain
Asterix in Britain , 1986, animated, based upon the book Asterix
in Britain .
Asterix and the Big Fight , 1989, animated, based on both Asterix
and the Big Fight and
Asterix and the Soothsayer .
Asterix Conquers America
Asterix Conquers America , 1994, animated, loosely based upon the
Asterix and the Great Crossing .
Asterix & Obelix: Take on Caesar , 1999, live-action, based
Asterix the Gaul ,
Asterix and the Soothsayer , Asterix
and the Goths ,
Asterix the Legionary , and
Asterix the Gladiator .
Asterix ham and cheese-flavored potato chips
* The first French satellite, which was launched in 1965, was named
Astérix-1 in honour of Asterix. Asteroids 29401
Asterix and 29402
Obelix were also named in honour of the characters. Coincidentally,
the word Asterix/
Asterisk originates from the Greek for Little Star.
* During the campaign for Paris to host the 1992 Summer Olympics
Asterix appeared in many posters over the
Eiffel Tower .
* The French company Belin introduced a series of
shaped in the forms of Roman shields , gourds , wild boar , and bones
* In the UK in 1995,
Asterix coins were presented free in every
* In 1991,
Obelix appeared on the cover of Time for a
special edition about France, art directed by Mirko Ilic . In a 2009
issue of the same magazine,
Asterix is described as being seen by some
as a symbol for France's independence and defiance of globalisation.
Asterix has made several promotional appearances for
fast food chain McDonald's, including one advertisement which featured
members of the village enjoying the traditional story-ending feast at
a McDonald's restaurant.
* Version 4.0 of the operating system
OpenBSD features a parody of
Action Comics Number 579, published by
DC Comics in 1986, written
by Lofficier and Illustrated by
Keith Giffen , featured an homage to
Jimmy Olsen are drawn back in time to a
small village of indomitable Gauls.
* In 2005, the Mirror World
Asterix exhibition was held in Brussels
. The Belgian post office also released a set of stamps to coincide
with the exhibition. A book was released to coincide with the
exhibition, containing sections in French, Dutch and English.
* On 29 October 2009, the Google homepage of a great number of
countries displayed a logo (called
Google Doodle ) commemorating 50
years of Asterix.
* Although they have since changed, the #2 and #3 heralds in the
Society for Creative Anachronism
Society for Creative Anachronism 's Kingdom of Ansteorra were the
Asterisk and Obelisk Heralds.
Obelix are the official mascots of the 2017 Ice Hockey
World Championships , jointly hosted by France and Germany.
List of Asterix characters
English translations of Asterix
List of Asterix games
List of Asterix volumes
Kajko i Kokosz
Gaul , after Julius Caesar's conquest of 58–51 BC that
consisted of five provinces
Commentarii de Bello Gallico
Commentarii de Bello Gallico
* ^ Cendrowicz, Leo (November 19, 2009). "
Asterix at 50: The Comic
Hero Conquers the World". Time.
* ^ volumes-sold (8 October 2009). "
Asterix the Gaul rises sky
* ^ Sonal Panse. "Goscinny and Uderzo". Buzzle.com. Retrieved 11
* ^ Luminais Musée des beaux-arts. Dominique Dussol: Evariste
Vital. 2002. p. 32.
* ^ "René Goscinny". Comic creator. Archived from the original on
24 March 2010. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
* ^ BDoubliées. "
Pilote année 1959" (in French).
* ^ A B C Kessler, Peter (2 November 1995).
Asterix Complete Guide
(First ed.). Hodder Children's Books;. ISBN 0-340-65346-9 .
* ^ A B Hugh Schofield (22 October 2009). "Should
Asterix hang up
his sword ?". London: BBC News.
* ^ Lezard, Nicholas (January 16, 2009), "
Asterix has sold out to
The Guardian (retrieved June 21, 2016)
* ^ Shirbon, Estelle (14 January 2009). "
Asterix battles new Romans
in publishing dispute".
Reuters . Retrieved 16 January 2009.
* ^ "Divisions emerge in
BBC News Online
BBC News Online . London.
15 January 2009. Archived from the original on 19 January 2009.
Retrieved 16 January 2009.
* ^ "Anne Goscinny: "Astérix a eu déjà eu deux vies, du vivant
de mon père et après. Pourquoi pas une troisième?"" (in French).
Bodoï. Archived from the original on 7 February 2009.
* ^ "