Have any of you heard of a comic series The Adventures of Asterix? It was originally a French comic series written by Rene Goscinny and illustrated by Albert Uderzo.
It started back on 29 October 1959; Goscinny was the writer for the comic until he died in 1977. After that Uderzo took over the writing until 2009 when he sold the rights to Hachette, a publishing company. After that, in 2013, a new team consisting of Jean-Yves Ferri (script) and Didier Conrad (artwork) took over the series. There have been 37 volumes of the comics as of 2017.
I should mention that up until this point I’ve gotten my references from this Wikipedia article. But from here on, the rest is my own opinion and stuff I remember of the series. If I get anything wrong then I’m sorry.
The series broadly follows the adventures of citizens of a village in Gaul (old France); the only village left that the Romans (their mortal enemies more or less) have not been able to conquer. This is because of a magic potion the village druid Getafix (Panoramix in the French version) brews for all the villagers. The potion temporarily gives the drinker super human strength, which the villagers use to beat the Romans over and over again.
The main focus of the series is normally on the titular character Asterix and his best friend Obelix. Together they have a ton of adventures, sometimes within their village, sometimes outside, and sometimes in far off places like Egypt, America, Britain, Rome and Switzerland.
Why are these comics helpful against stress? Well let me try to describe the way the stories are told. Each story is usually quite outrageous or silly like the Gauls helping the Egyptians build Alexandria, or the Gauls helping their chief lose weight which leads to them somehow stopping a war.
Each overarching story is filled with little stories that are part of and add on to the main story in one way or the other and the entire thing is one giant laugh fest from cover to cover. One of the main running gags in all the comics is the fact that each of the gauls names end with –ix (this is played this up a little in Asterix and the Normans where they comment on the fact that all the Normans names end with –af). Another running thing (not really a gag) is that each story ends with the gauls celebrating with a feast (Usually with Cacofonix – the village bard who is terrible at singing- bound and gagged to a tree far away from the banquet).
Asterix is so famous that it’s sold all over the world. Not only that, many of the issues have been made into full length animated films, even some live action films.
I got into it because of the animated film (based on the very first volume) Asterix the Gaul. It’s basically an introduction to the entire thing and most of the main characters. Sadly I haven’t read every single Asterix comic, but I have read a lot of them. Let’s see if I can remember the ones I’ve read.
- Asterix and the big fight
- Asterix in Britain
- Asterix and the Normans
- Asterix and the Chieftain’s Shield
- Asterix and the Soothsayer
- Asterix and Caesars Gift
- The XII tasks of Asterix (A play on the twelve tasks of Hercules)
- How Obelix fell into the magic potion when he was a little boy
Sadly that’s all I’ve read but there are a lot more.
I have a lot of fond memories of the Asterix comics and happily recommend them as a stressbuster or just for the heck of reading them. You won’t regret it.
Let me end this with just one question. Be honest, do you think the Romans are crazy? (This is a reference, if you have read the comics you’ll get it).