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date: 25 September 2018


The Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature

Daniel Hahn


French comic hero, a diminutive, moustachioed Gaul who lives in a village in Armorique (Brittany) which is the last holdout against the Romans. Together with such friends as the dull-witted Obélix, and with the aid of a magic potion made by the druid Getafix (Panoramix, in the French), Astérix keeps the Romans at bay. He is the creation of René Goscinny (text) and Albert Uderzo (pictures), and first appeared in the French comic weekly Pilote in 1959, since when his adventures have been published in many books.

Much of the fun of the Astérix stories lies in the names, which have been skilfully adapted in the English translations by Anthea Bell and Derek Hockridge; for example, Postaldistrix the postman, Centurion Armisurplus, Cacofonix the Bard, and the dog, Dogmatix.

Following Goscinny’s death in 1977, Uderzo continued to produce the albums alone, somewhat less successfully. The job was only passed down to a new writer–artist pair in 2011—Jean-Yves Ferri and Didier Conrad produced volume 35 in the series, Asterix and the Picts, in 2013.