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1001 Asterix
Added on 11th June 2020

Creators Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo
Illustrator Albert Uderzo
First Published 1961
Publisher Hachette, Paris

Comic strip which made its first appearance in Pilote magazine in France in1959.

Story

Asterix the Gaul is part of a Gaulish tribe living in Roman occupied Armorica (now Brittany) in 50 BCE. Asterix and his fellow villagers, including the large and superhumanly strong Obelix with his trusty dog Dogmatix, wage a continual battle against the occupying Roman forces. They are helped by the village Druid, Getafix, who brews a magic potion that gives Asterix superhuman strength but only for a limited amount of time. Each of the stories opens in the same way, setting the context of the Roman occupation, and each story concludes with a feast in the village after the Roman legionaries have been beaten.

Why we chose it

In addition to humour in the plot and the illustrations, the Asterix stories use a lot of comic word play, particularly in the naming of the characters. The stories are set in a range of locations around the world, revealing much about Roman history and the effects of Roman occupation on local customs, as well as allowing for comic stereotyping of different nationalities. They are one of the most popular Franco-Belgian comics in the world, having been translated into over 100 languages, with over 370 million copies sold worldwide.

Where it came from

Goscinny and Uderzo had already worked together on a comic series about Ompa-pa (a native American) and his friend Hubert Brussels Sprout (a French Officer) set in eighteenth-century French-colonial America. The first Asterix story was serialised in Belgian magazine called Pilote in October 1959, with the first book Asterix the Gaul published in 1961.

Where it went next

The series grew exponentially with new books published almost every year until the death of Goscinny in 1977. Uderzo continued the stories after that but on a less frequent basis. The British translations were mostly the work of Derek Hockridge and Anthea Bell who have been widely praised for their skill in keeping the spirit and humour of the original French.

There have been over 15 film adaptations - including four which are live action. The characters have also appeared in board games and video games and there is a theme park near Paris called Parc Astérix.

Associated stories

There are 38 Asterix stories plus four additional books separate from the series.

Added on 11th June 2020

Creators Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo
Illustrator Albert Uderzo
First Published 1961
Publisher Hachette, Paris