'Obelix & Cie' ('Obelix and Company'). Dutch-language version. 

Albert Uderzo was world famous as the co-creator of 'Astérix the Gaul' (1959-   ), developed with scriptwriter René Goscinny. Despite its francophone references and sometimes near untranslatable puns, 'Astérix' is one of the most surprising international success stories in comics. 'Astérix' managed to appeal both to children as well as adults with its humorous stories, verbal wordplay and many allusions to both Gaulish-Roman culture as well as other historical and cultural events. The tiny but invincible Gaulish warrior has become one of the best-selling European comics in the world, alongside Hergé's 'Tintin' and Morris and Goscinny's 'Lucky Luke'. Uderzo's talent for funny characterizations, expressive action and beautiful and atmospheric scenery gave the series its visual identity. It remains both his as well as Goscinny's signature work and masterpiece. However, Uderzo also created other long-running series which are better known in Continental Europe than elsewhere in the world, such as the humorous pirate series 'Jehan Pistolet' (1952-1956) and the brawny Native American 'Oumpah-Pah' (1958-1962), both scripted by Goscinny. Uderzo was also one of the founding fathers of the comic magazine Pilote and co-creator of the aviation duo 'Tanguy & Laverdure' (1959) with Jean-Michel Charlier.

Belloy by Albert Uderzo
Early panel of Belloy, featuring a caricature of the artist.

Early life
Albert Aleandro Uderzo was born in 1927 in Fismes, France, as the son of an Italian furniture salesman. In 1934, he was naturalized as a Frenchman. The boy suffered from two problematic issues by birth: he had six fingers on each hand and was colour blind. While the unnecessary fingers were operatically removed, Uderzo's inability to distinguish red from green remained a lifelong problem. Still, he usually let his unfinished drawings be colorized by his brother, Marcel, to avoid mistakes. From an early age, Uderzo loved comics, cartoons and drawing in general. Among his graphic influences were Walt Disney, Floyd Gottfredson, Carl Barks, Alex Raymond, E.C. Segar, Alain Saint-Ogan, Calvo, Milton Caniff and Al Capp. Later in life he also expressed admiration for Cabu, André Franquin and Zep.

Yet Uderzo actually longed to become an airline mechanic. Despite passing his acceptance exam, the Second World War broke out and prevented him from continuing his studies. At age 13, he was employed by the Société Parisienne d'Édition, where he edited photographs and learned text design. His first illustration work was a parody of Aesop's fables, 'Le Corbeau et le Renard' ('The Raven and the Fox', 1941), published in Boum, the youth supplement of the magazine Junior. Around the same time, he also met comics legends Alain Saint-Ogan and Calvo, who encouraged him to continue his graphic career. Unfortunately this had to wait until the end of the war. Between 1942 and 1945, Albert and his brother Bruno went into hiding from the Nazis and spent their days at a farm in Les Villages, Bretagne (Brittany).

Watoki by Albert Uderzo
'Watoki Le Valeureux'. 

Work in the late 1940s
After World War II, Uderzo aspired to become an animator, inspired by Disney. In a local studio by Renan de Vela and André Chavaud, he worked on a 11 minute black-and-white animated short: 'Carbur et Clic-Clac'. Appalled by the end results, despite all his efforts, Uderzo left animation. De Vela convinced him to illustrate a humorous swashbuckler story by Em-Ré-Vil (a pseudonym for Marcel Reville), titled 'Flamberge, Gentilhomme Gascon' (1946). By participating in a contest, Uderzo was offered a publishing contract with the Éditions du Chêne in Paris. For this company he drew a humor comic book:  'Les Aventures de Clopinard' (1946). He became associated with Marcel Debain's Paris Graphic agency, which provided the French press with guaranteed locally produced material. Between 1946 and 1947, Uderzo drew short humor strips for the children's page of Toulousian newspaper La Démocratie like 'Les Aventures de Jacky', 'Clodo et son Oie' and 'Zidor Chasseur'. The character 'Zidor' returned in the comic story 'Zidore, l'Homme Macaque', published in a magazine by S.A.E.T.L.

Uderzo drew several other humorous fantasy comics for the magazine O.K. by the Société d'Éditions Enfantines, such as 'Arys Buck' (1946-1947), 'Prince Rollin' (1947) and 'Belloy l'Invulnérable' (1948-1949), all set in the Middle Ages. Of these three, 'Belloy' proved to have the most staying power, and continued to reappear in comic magazines throughout the 1950s. For the Collection Bison, published by Lucien Dejoie, he additionally made a comic book called 'Watoki le Valeureux' (1949), about a Native American who could be regarded as a predecessor to his later character: 'Oumpah-pah'.

Captain Marvel Jr. (dutch version) by Albert Uderzo in Bravo 1950
'Captain Marvel Jr.' (Dutch-language version, Bravo, 1950).

Work in the early 1950s
Back in civilian life after his military service, Uderzo became a reporter and illustrator for France Dimanche (1949 - 1951). Besides providing drawings about news events, he was one of several artists who worked on the vertical comic strip 'Le Crime Ne Paie Pas' (1950-1951) by journalist Paul Gordeaux. This series presented its readers with real-life historical anecdotes of situations which proved that "crime didn't pay". Uderzo also worked on the spin-off series, 'Les Amour Célèbres' (1950), which dealt with real-life romantic tales from history, and illustrated a comic strip adaptation of Mildred Davis' "gothic" novel 'La Chambre du Haut' (1951). Further newspaper work include advertising strips for Colgate and Palmolive (1950-1951), Christmas stories for Sud-Ouest (1955) and illustrations for the movie section 'Le Film du Jour' in L'Aurore (1956).

Advertising strip for Palmolive by Albert Uderzo
Advertising strip for Palmolive.

Super Atomic Z and Capitaine Marvel, Jr.
Still working for Paris Graphic, Uderzo made a brief venture into superhero comics, with 'Super Atomic Z' (1950), published in the magazine 34 Aventures of Éditions Vaillant, and 'Capitaine Marvel, Jr' (1950), a commission of the Belgian press group Le Soir for their comic magazine Bravo! The latter was based on C.C. Beck and Bill Parker's famous superhero, but Uderzo had never read the original. It just gave him an excuse to draw stories about super strong men, much like he did earlier with his character Belloy. His love for super strong characters betrayed the influence of  E.C. Segar's 'Popeye' and Al Capp's 'Li'l' Abner'. In fact, he signed many of his early comics with the nickname "Al Uderzo", as a tribute to Capp.

Belloy - 'La Princesse Captive' (1956).

Brussels period (1950s)
In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Belgium was the capital of the continental European comic scene, thanks to the success of magazines like Tintin and Spirou. Uderzo therefore decided to stay in Brussels for a while, working for the International Press agency of Yvan Chéron. It shared an office with the World's Presse agency, headed by Chéron's brother-in-law Georges Troisfontaines. Uderzo got in touch with Belgian comics legends like Victor Hubinon, Eddy Paape, MiTacq and Jean-Michel Charlier. With Charlier, he relaunched 'Belloy' in the magazine La Wallonie, whose new adventures now also appeared in book form. Stories were also serialized in magazines like Pistolin (1957-1958), Pilote (1959-1963) and La Libre Junior. Uderzo also teamed up with Octave Joly again for a comics biography of Marco Polo (1953). Between 1953 and 1958, Uderzo additionally illustrated educational stories and vertical strips for the mother paper La Libre Belgique.

René Goscinny
However, the most significant person in Uderzo's career was René Goscinny, with whom he would create his most popular and best-known works. Their fruitful collaboration took off in November 1951, when he illustrated 'Qui à Raison?' and 'Sa Majesté Mon Mari', two columns by Goscinny about everyday life and proper manners for the women's magazine Bonnes Soirées, published by Dupuis. Uderzo provided the illustrations until 1953, after which he was succeeded by Charlie Delhauteur.

from Bonnes Soirées, by Albert Uderzo (1953)
'Qui à Raison?'.

L' Histoire Vivante
For Bonnes Soirées, Uderzo also provided illustrations for a section about history, 'L'Histoire Vivante', most notably installments about French resistance veteran Valérie André (1954) and  French queen Marie-Antoinette (1955). He also illustrated the similar comic story 'Le Fils du Tonnelier' (1954, script by Jean-Michel Charlier) in the series 'Les Belles Histoires de l'Oncle Paul' for Dupuis' comic magazine Spirou.

Tom et Nelly
With writer Octave Joly, Uderzo worked on the first two adventures of 'Tom et Nelly' (1955-1956), an adventure comic about two kids who escape from a terrible orphanage in London. It appeared in Risque-Tout, a short-lived comics paper published by Dupuis. When the series moved over to Spirou in 1957, José Bielsa had taken over the art duties.

Tom et Nelly, by Albert Uderzo (Risque-Tout #8, 1956)
'Tom et Nelly' (Risque-Tout #13, 1956).

Jehan Pistolet
Through International Press, Uderzo and Goscinny were productive contributors to La Libre Junior, the junior supplement of the Belgian newspaper La Libre Belgique. On 26 June 1952, the duo created their first significant series for this publication: 'Jehan Pistolet' (in some publications retitled as 'Jehan Soupolet'). The story is set in the 18th century and revolves around a young waiter who works in a tavern in the French town Nantes. Dissatisfied with his job, he decides to become a privateer and buys a ship, "La Brave". He assembles a crew consisting of various colourful characters, including his second captain Hugues, cooks Bertrand and Pierrot, cannoneer and navigator Gilles, tiny sailor P'tit René (a caricature of René Goscinny) and Jasmin the parrot. Jehan and his crew work for the French king and sail the seven seas looking for treasure, new colonies or to fight off villainous pirates.

Several elements of 'Jehan Pistolet' already remind readers of Goscinny and Uderzo's later work. It's a humorous series set during a historical period, with various puns, running gags and cultural-historical references. It satirizes a specific genre, in this case nautical and pirate stories, and much like 'Astérix', the protagonists already celebrate every happy end with a banquet. 'Jehan Pistolet' allowed Uderzo to show off his rich illustration work and talent for visualizing Goscinny's funny scripts. The series ran for four albums before it eventually reached its conclusion in 1956.

Jehan Pistolet, by Albert Uderzo
'Jehan Pistolet'. Dutch-language version. 

Luc Junior
Uderzo and Goscinny also created La Libre Junior's mascot: 'Luc Junior' (1954-1957). Luc was a young reporter in the tradition of 'Tintin', who starred in exciting and humorous adventure stories. With his friend Laplaque and his faithful companion, the dog Alphonse, he investigated seven cases before his authors handed him over to Sirius and Greg. Chéron released one album in 1956: 'Junior en Amérique' (1956). A complete volume with all seven stories created by Uderzo and Goscinny was published in 2014.

Bill Blanchart
Goscinny and Uderzo's third creation for La Libre Junior was 'Bill Blanchart' (1954-1955), about a big-game hunter. 'Bill Blanchart' was notable for being their only realistic series. 

'Luc Junior' in La Libre Junior, 1953.

Édifrance/ Édipresse
By 1956, René Goscinny had tried to establish a union for comics workers, which caused his discharge from World's Presse. Uderzo and Jean-Michel Charlier remained loyal to their friend and also left. Together with World's Presse former publicity manager Jean Hébrard, the three men founded a syndicate consisting of two different agencies, ÉdiFrance and ÉdiPresse. This allowed them to remain independent owners of all their comics. Goscinny and Uderzo succeeded Jean Trubert on the comic strip 'Benjamin et Benjamine' (originally created by Christian Godard, 1957-1959) in Benjamin, while Uderzo and Charlier worked together on 'Clairette' in the naughty magazine Paris Flirt (1957) and 'La Diligence de Santa-Fe' (1957). Yet Goscinny and Uderzo proved to be the best team-up. They shared a similar sense of humour and complemented each others' talents perfectly. Their production rate rose to the point that Uderzo sometimes drew nine pages a week, even inking everything instantly, rather than sketch it out.

For Paris Flirt, Goscinny and Uderzo created the gag series 'Monsieur et Madame Plume' (1958). Between 1955 and 1958, the team also sold older material to new publications. 'Belloy' returned in Pistolin, while 'Bill Blanchart' made its appearance in Jeannot, an advertising magazine published by EdiFrance. For Pistolin, Uderzo also illustrated the vertical strip 'Les Enfants Héroïques', about a group heroic children, and installments of the historical feature 'Grands Noms de l'Histoire de France'. The group also produced comic strips for commercial clients like Milliat Frères and the cornflakes brand Floker's (a booklet starring the western hero 'Jim Flokers'). Try-outs and prototypes of later heroes appeared in the legendary Supplément Illustré, a 1956 dummy issue of a newspaper supplement.

'Poussin et Poussif'.

Poussin et Poussif
In 1957, Uderzo and Goscinny debuted in Tintin magazine. Their first creation was 'Poussin et Poussif' (1957-1958), a gag series about a baby, Poussin, who is guarded by the dog Poussif. However, the little boy always crawls away, much to the dog's dismay. The panicky pet tries to get the child safely back home, hurting and endangering himself far more in the process. Although only three episodes were published, readers loved the comic, greenlighting more series for the magazine. Goscinny and Uderzo took the opportunity to present a series they had been carrying along for seven years, but which had been rejected by both American as well as French publishers: 'Oumpah-Pah'. 

Oumpah-Pah, by Albert Uderzo
'Oumpah-pah'. Dutch-language version. 

'Oumpah-pah' (1958-1962) debuted in Tintin magazine on 2 April 1958. The series is set in 18th-century New France (present-day Canada), when French colonialists explored the country. Oumpah-pah is a hefty, brave and strong Native American who befriends Hubert de la Pâte Feuilletée, a scrawny, dignified French military officer. Goscinny documented himself thoroughly about the historical era. Yet, this didn't hold him back from double-layering his stories with funny anachronisms, historical allusions and puns. He also poked fun at all conceivable clichés about Native Americans, as found in thousands of western films, books and comics at the time. Just like in Morris' 'Lucky Luke', for whom he also wrote scripts around the same period, the animalistic names, stereotypical language and communication through smoke signals are running gags. Goscinny also mocked European settlers with the same wit. And for anybody accusing the series of political incorrectness, Oumpah-pah the Native American is undeniably the most heroic character. 

'Oumpah-pah' was Goscinny and Uderzo's first masterpiece. It already included elements that the authors would later recycle in 'Astérix'. The Native Americans scare off European settlers with their physical strength and hide in bushes and trees, much like the Gauls in 'Astérix'. In the third Oumpah-pah' story, the main characters even encounter some incompetent pirates. 'Oumpah-Pah' was a huge hit with the readers of 'Tintin'. The classic series has been translated in many languages, including Dutch ('Hoempa Pa'), German ('Umpah-Pah'), Danish ('Umpa-Pa'), Norwegian ('Ompa-Pa'), Swedish ('Oumpa-Pa'), Finnish ('Umpah-Pah'), Spanish ('Oumpah-Pah'), Portuguese ('Humpá-Pá'), Italian ('Oumpah-Pah'), Polish ('Umpa-Pa Czerwonoskóry') and Russian ('Умпах-Пах'). 

'Oumpah-pah et les Pirates'.

La Famille Moutonet
Goscinny and Uderzo also made another comic series for Tintin: 'La Famille Moutonet' (1959). It starred a grandfather with a military background who is tormented by his overly busy grandchildren, Totoche and Mimi. It only lasted two stories, but was nevertheless in 1961 revived as 'La Famille Cokalane' in the French edition of Tintin. This reboot came about at the instigation of the petroleum company Hahn, whose products were sponsored below each comic strip. Since their products were only available in France and not in Belgium, the series only appeared in the French edition of Tintin. 'La Famille Cokalane' had basically the same set-up and cast as the Moutonet family, but with different names. It lasted a bit longer than the original, but nevertheless was cancelled again after 16 episodes. Goscinny and Uderzo worked on the first episode, but the next ones were drawn by a different artist, whose name remains unknown.

While 'Oumpah-Pah' proved to be a hit with Tintin's readers and would be republished in many other European magazines over the decades, Hergé didn't like the series. Not only did its cartooniness not fit with the "serious" style he wanted to promote within his magazine: he didn't like its puns either. So, when Goscinny and Uderzo left Tintin he was more than happy to see them go. Unfortunately for Hergé, in 1959 the ElviFrance team founded their own comic magazine in cooperation with Radio Luxembourg: Pilote. Within a couple of years, it rivalled Tintin's popularity in the French-language world. Much had to do with two succesful comic series which debuted in Pilote's first issue of 29 October 1959, both drawn by Uderzo: 'Tanguy et Laverdure' and 'Astérix'. 

Together with Jean-Michel Charlier, Uderzo also edited the short-lived newspaper Sunday supplement L'Illustré du Dimanche (1967), featuring comics published originally in Pilote. It ran for 24 issues with regional newspapers like Le Provençal, Midi Libre, Sud-Ouest and Paris-Normandie.

Tanguy et Laverdure, by Albert Uderzo 1967
'Tanguy et Laverdure' (Pilote #294, 10 June 1965). 

Tanguy et Laverdure
'Tanguy et Laverdure' (1959), which debuted in Pilote's first issue, is a realistically-drawn series about two aviators, the serious and noble Michel Tanguy and his comical and ill-mannered sidekick Ernest Laverdure. Together they go on many exciting secret missions all around the world. In a way, the series was comparable to Jean-Michel Charlier and Victor Hubinon's similar aviation comic 'Buck Danny' in Spirou. The heroic Tanguy is comparable to Buck Danny, while his goofy friend Laverdure is similar to Buck's comic relief friend Sonny Tuckson. The two comics even share the same scriptwriter, Jean-Michel Charlier. One story, 'Les Pirates du Ciel', was drawn by Uderzo in collaboration with his brother Marcel Uderzo and Jean Giraud.  'Tanguy et Laverdure' was translated in Dutch, English ('The Flying Furies', also as 'The Aeronauts'), German ('Mick Tanguy'), Danish ('Luftens Ørne'), Swedish ('Jaktfalkarna'), Finnish ('Haikaralaivue'), Spanish, Portuguese, Indonesian and Serbian and Croatian.

In 1966, Uderzo retired from drawing the series and passed the pencil to Jijé. By the end of the 1960s Jijé hired an assistant: Daniel Chauvin, and in the early 1970s, Patrice Serres came aboard, who'd eventually become the new main artist. In 1989 Charlier passed away, just when 'Tanguy et Laverdure' had a new artist: Al Coutelis, who drew the seemingly swan song of the franchise. In the early 2000s, however, Tanguy et Laverdure's plane took off again with Jean-Claude Laidin as new scriptwriter, and Yvan Fernandez, Renaud Garreta, Frédéric Toublanc, Julien Lepelletier and Sébastien Philippe either sharing or alternating on the art duties. In 2016, Patrice Buendia, Fréderic Zumbiehl and Sébastien Philippe created a special album, 'La Recontre' (2016), in which 'Buck Danny' and 'Tanguy et Laverdure' finally have an official crossover.

'Tanguy et Laverdure' were adapted into a live-action TV series, 'Les Chevaliers du Ciel' (1967-1970), with the spin-off 'Les Nouveaux Chevaliers du Ciel' (1988-1991) and a film, 'Les Chevaliers du Ciel' (2005), directed by Gérard Pirès, which was only loosely based on the original comic.

'Tanguy et Laverdure'.

The second and most popular feature in Pilote was, of course, 'Astérix'. Goscinny and Uderzo toyed with the idea of creating a comic series set in ancient French history. Originally, they picked out 'Le Roman de Renart' ('Reynard the Fox'), a classic medieval folk tale about a trickster fox of whom also exist Dutch and German versions. But it turned out Benjamin Rabier had already beat them to the idea and Jean Trubert prepared another comic book version of Renart. Goscinny decided to delve deeper, all the way back to the starting point of all French history books: Gaulish culture. At school, everybody learned about the Gaulish chieftain Vercingetourix and his brave resistance against the Romans. In grade school, Uderzo once even made a miniature Gaulish village, but it was smashed to smithereens by another pupil before he could present it in class. To him the Gallo-Roman era had special resonance, because of his Italian roots. Since the time period was such common knowledge among French readers, Goscinny and Uderzo could have all the fun they wanted with this setting, because everybody would get the references.

'Astérix' takes place around the time of Caesar's conquest of Gaul (ancient France) in the 1st century BC. As the famous title page of every album explains: Caesar apparently hadn't conquered all of Gaul. One tiny village in the western-northern French region Bretagne keeps resisting the Roman oppressors. This is where Astérix and his fellow villagers live. The choice for this homebase was self-evident. Goscinny wanted it to be near the ocean, in case future storylines would require the characters to sail to other countries. Uderzo favored Bretagne (Brittany), because he lived there during World War II. And since the province is famous for its many archaeological examples of Gaulish culture – like the menhirs of Carnac – it was a done deal. At the time, the creators weren't aware that Jean Nohain and Poléon's 'Totorix' and Fernand Cheneval's 'Aviorix' had already made comics set in ancient Gaul. Luckily we might add, because otherwise they might have scrapped that idea too.

Cover illustrations for Pilote #14 (28 January 1960) and #267 (3 December 1964). 

Astérix - Characters
The first album, 'Astérix le Gaulois' ('Asterix the Gaul', 1959), already established most of the recurring cast. Goscinny gave all the Gauls in the series punny names ending with the suffix '-ix', in reference to famous Gaulish chieftains like Vercingetorix, Dumnorix, Ambiorix, Orgetorix and gods like Albiorix and Caturix. Astérix' name, for instance, is a pun on the word "asterisk". Goscinny deliberately started the character's name with an "a", so their series could be featured in the first chaper of future alphabetical comic book encyclopaedia. He also broke with tradition by making Astérix a little person instead of a tall, strong hero as was customary at the time. Although Astérix is small, he is nevertheless very smart. Together with the village druid Panoramix (Getafix in the English translation), they are easily the most intelligent people in their village. Panoramix provides the Gauls with a magic potion that makes them strong enough to defend their village against the Roman invaders. Julius Caesar is frustrated that he can't conquer this little village. All he can do is surround it with four Roman settlements, who frequently get beaten up by Astérix and his friends. Although he is the series' nemesis, he isn't completely evil. When defeated or humiliated, he usually shows some grace or a sense of fair play towards the Gauls. In some albums he even helps them punish some of his subordinate centurions or far more villainous Romans. 

The only person in Astérix' village who isn't allowed to drink the magic potion is his best friend, Obélix. Obélix is the local stonecutter. He fell in the cauldron when he was just a boy and is therefore already strong enough. A brawny man, he enjoys eating, hunting wild boars and smashing up Romans or other people who make the mistake of insulting or attacking him. Unfortunately, Obélix isn't very bright and in constant denial over his obesity. Yet many readers, especially children, name him their favorite character, since he's such a charming doofus. Although Obélix and Astérix sometimes quarrel, their friendship is strong and heartwarming. Goscinny and Uderzo based much of the duo's dynamic on Laurel & Hardy, which is notable down to their hatwear. 

Abraracourcix (Vitalstatistix) is the village's self-important chieftain. As was common among Celtic tribes, he is carried around on a shield, but his carriers' clumsiness and stupidity constantly cause him to fall off, or bump his head. In 1964, he was given a feisty wife: Bellefleur (Impedimenta). The local bard is Assurancetourix (Cacofonix), but he sings so awful that everybody either runs away or beats him into silence. Particularly the blacksmith Cetautomatix (Fulliautomatix) often keeps his hammer near, just in case. 

Asterix by Albert Uderzo
First appearance of Astérix and Obélix in 'Astérix the Gaul'. 

Other recurring villains in 'Asterix' are the pirates. They debuted in 'Astérix Gladiateur' ('Asterix the Gladiator', 1962), originally intended as a shout-out to Jean-Michel Charlier and Victor Hubinon's pirate comic 'Barbe Rouge', which also ran in Pilote. The three main pirates are directly modelled after captain Barbe-Rouge, the one-legged Triple-Patte and Baba the crows' nest look-out. It quickly turned into a running gag. No matter where the buccaneers travel, they always happen to come across "the crazy Gauls", much to their fear and misfortune. Yet, since 'Barbe Rouge' was only translated in Continental Europe, the reference to Charlier and Hubinon's comic was lost on most foreign readers. As time went by, 'Barbe Rouge' fell more into obscurity, making the pirates in 'Astérix' a prime example of a parody which outlived the original spoof material.

'Astérix, Légionnaire' ('Asterix the Legionary'). The pirates on the raft are a parody of Théodore Géricault's classic painting 'Le Radeau de la Méduse' ('The Raft of the Medusa', 1819).

Another major character, Obelix' dog Idéfix (Dogmatix), also started out as a running gag. In 'Le Tour de Gaule d'Astérix' ('Asterix and the Banquet', 1963) Astérix and Obélix are followed by a tiny, white moustached dog all throughout the story, until Obélix notices him in the final strips and instantly adopts him. Pilote organized a readers contest to find a name for the canine. Four children, Hervé, Dominique, Anne and Rémy, came up with 'Idéfix', a pun on the French word "idée fixe" for an obsessive idea. Other regulars in the franchise are the village elder Agecanonix (Geriatrix, 1962) and his far younger wife (1970). In 1969, the final major character, fish monger Ordralfabetix (Unhygienix), was introduced. His merchandise is never fresh and therefore sparks off numerous village fights.

But despite their squabbles, Astérix' village is still united against their common enemy: the Romans. Every story therefore ends with them celebrating behind a large, round table in the middle of the forest, while drinking beer and eating roasted wild boars. Even the bard Assurancetourix is allowed to be there, but out of precaution bound and gagged against a tree.

La Grande Traverse by Uderzo
Astérix - 'La Grande Traverse' ('The Great Crossing').  

Astérix - Popularity and historical jokes
At the time, nobody believed in Astérix' commercial potential. If Goscinny hadn't had his own magazine with Pilote, it might never have been published. But it defied all expectations and became a runaway success. It made Pilote so succesful that Astérix became their mascot. Sales rose with each album. Thanks to Goscinny's witty scripts, hilarious slapstick and running gags, 'Astérix' appeals to children and adults. His clever verbal comedy, puns and subtle historical-cultural references give the series an extra dimension. Particularly in Europe, 'Astérix' is incredibly beloved. The fact that many European countries were once part of the Roman Empire is an obvious explanation: various ruins and monuments still remind people of that era. Ancient Roman history and Roman numerals are taught in every school, much like Latin and Ancient Greek are a subject in various European high schools and universities. Nearly every European country starts its own history in the Celtic time period. As a result, European readers are more likely to understand the numerous allusions and references to Gallo-Roman culture.

Some people have criticized 'Astérix' for "not being historically accurate", but this was never the creators' intention. They merely satirized the general public's knowledge about the Roman and Gaulish era. Therefore the Gauls all wear winged helmets and moustaches, live in round huts and fear the sky will fall on their head. In some cases the authors merely took some artistic license. While the Gauls love eating wild boars, there is no historical evidence that it was their favorite dish. And while only a few Celtic chieftains had names which ended in "-ix", Goscinny merely gave all Gauls names like Préfix, Prémierprix and Quatredeusix because it allowed him to think up funny puns. The same explanation applies to the anachronistic references to our modern age. Goscinny and Uderzo always defended themselves that they had no intent to remodel their characters or setting for the sake of historical accuracy.

The famous cheese fondue scene from 'Astérix Chez les Helvètes' ('Astérix in Switzerland'). 

Astérix - National stereotypes
Astérix' frequent travels to other countries are another reason why the series is so popular in its home continent. His voyages to Britannia, Germania, Hellas (Greece), Hispania (Spain), Helvetia (Switzerland) and Belgica often give the creators the opportunity to make stereotypical jokes about the local people and everything they're internationally famous for. The Britons are phlegmatic and have horrible cuisine, the Spaniards proud and hot-tempered, Belgians petulant and gastronomic, Helvetians hygiene-obsessed and punctual, Corsicans lazy and itchy, Goths serious and militaristic, Greeks civilized and related to all their nephews,… Not only do Europeans recognize these stereotypes easily, they also feel honored whenever Astérix visits their country.

In some cases, though, the stereotypes were a bit too strong. 'Astérix et les Goths' (1963), for instance, depicts the Germans as pure villains. The album was made only twenty years after World War II, when anti-German sentiments were still strong and Uderzo later expressed regret for this one-sided view. In later stories the Germans are still represented stereotypically, but as more sympathetic characters. Goscinny and Uderzo once claimed that foreign readers often sent them letters with questions regarding the way they were portrayed in their stories. According to them, the only ones who never complained were the English. Astérix and Obélix also travel to countries outside Europe, such as Egypt, Judea (nowadays Israel), India, Scotland and pre-Columbian America (nowadays the U.S.). Naturally they also visited Rome and various French cities as well.

Latin edition of 'Astérix et Cléopâtre' ('Astérix and Cleopatra'). 

Astérix - Global success and translation issues
Despite being the most "European" comic of all time, 'Astérix' managed to become a global success. Many schools have used 'Astérix' comics to help their students read and learn French. Since 'Astérix' takes place during the days of ancient Rome, Latin translations have also been popular among students of this language. But even outside the classroom, the comic series is tremendously popular. It has been translated to more than 115 (!) languages and dialects, including Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Persian, Russian, Thai and Turkish. In most languages, Asterix' name remains the same, except for different spelling now and then: 'Astríkur' (Icelandic), 'Asteriks' (Polish, Turkish), 'Asterikss' (Latvian), 'Asteriksas' (Lithuanian),...

In 1963, the series debuted in the United Kingdom in the magazine Valiant, where it ran as 'Little Fred and Big Ed'. The setting was changed from Gaul to Celtic Britain. In 1965, the series also ran in Ranger, again with Britain as setting, under the title 'Britons, Never, Never, Never Shall Be Slaves', in reference to the refrain of 'Rule Britannia'. Here Asterix and Obelix were renamed 'Beric and Doric'. Of course, once 'Asterix in Britain' was published, the translators could no longer present the Gauls as Britons. So from 1969 on the series was finally simply translated as 'Asterix and Obelix', making them once and for all Gauls. Legendary translators Anthea Bell and Derek Hockridge made a succesful effort to do Goscinny's writing justice and came up with many clever English-language puns and verbal jokes of their own. In Germany, 'Asterix' was originally translated as 'Siggi und Babarras', when it ran in Rolf Kauka's Fix und Foxi magazine in 1967. They too eventually settled on 'Asterix und Obelix'. 

All across the world, 'Asterix' shares the stage with Hergé's 'Tintin' as perhaps the most recognizable European comic strip ever, even though some people still don't know whether it's Belgian or French.  Its international fame is somewhat amazing, considering its unapologetic and sometimes untranslatable puns and references to francophone culture. In 'Le Tour de Gaule d'Astérix' (1963), for instance, Astérix and Obélix travel through Gaul, meeting people from Paris, Lyon and Nice, all depicted according to stereotypes attached to these regions. In the same story the Gauls meet four men in a bar in Marseille, who are caricatures of the main cast from the 1932 film 'Marius' by Marcel Pagnol.

'Les Lauriers de Cesar' ('The Laurel Wreath of Caesar'). 

Astérix - Film adaptations
'Astérix' also gained greater international fame through films. The first one, 'Astérix le Gaulois' ('Astérix The Gaul', 1967), directed by Ray Goossens, was made by the Belgian animation studio Belvision without Goscinny and Uderzo's knowledge. This resulted in a too literal and slow-paced adaptation of the first Astérix album. The duo took legal action and became creative advisors for Belvision's next project: 'Astérix et Cléopâtre' (1968), which was a considerable improvement. Goscinny knew the difference between comics and animation and therefore crafted some new scenes and gags for the animated film, which helped making the picture a beloved cult classic.

In 1974, Goscinny and Uderzo established Studio Idéfix, whose logo features Idéfix in a parody of the M.G.M. lion. Nevertheless they only made one 'Astérix'  film, 'Les 12 Travaux d'Astérix' ('The 12 Tasks Of Astérix', 1976). The picture is unique for not being based on a pre-existing 'Astérix' book, but an original screenplay by Goscinny. The plot centers around Astérix and Obélix performing 12 Herculean tasks. The animation is notably better and more dynamic compared with the previous two 'Astérix' features. A hilarious picture in every way, it also has a more absurd tone, frequently breaking the fourth wall in the tradition of Tex Avery. The scene where Astérix and Obélix suffer through maddening Kafkaesque bureaucracy to obtain permit nr. 8.38 has entered everyday language in some European countries, referring to similar frustrating bureaucratic situations. While 'The 12 Tasks of Astérix' polarized audiences at the time, it became a cult classic, remaining one of the most popular and best-known 'Astérix' movies. One of its animators was Harold Whitaker.

It took nearly a decade before the next 'Astérix' picture came out: 'Astérix et La Surprise de César' ('Astérix Versus Caesar', 1985) was directed by Gaëtan and Paul Brizzi and combined the plots of 'Astérix and the 1st Legion' and 'Astérix the Gladiator' into a well-made, entertaining adventure movie. Pino Van Lamsweerde directed another 'Astérix' animated feature, 'Astérix Chez Les Brétons' ('Asterix and the Britons', 1986), which was a Danish-French co-production. One animator who worked on this film was Arthur Qwak, who also contributed to the Brizzi Brothers' next 'Astérix' picture, 'Astérix et le Coup du Menhir' ('Astérix and the Big Fight', 1989). While 'Asterix Chez Les Brétons' was well received, 'Astérix et le Coup du Menhir' wasn't. The film merges the plots of 'Astérix and the Big Fight' and 'Astérix and the Soothsayer', but wrote the "big fight" in the English translation of the title out of the movie. One of the animators who worked on the film was Jeff Baud. 'Astérix et les Indiens' ('Astérix Conquers America', 1994), directed by Gerhard Hahn, was the first French-German 'Astérix' film. The plot is a very loose adaptation of 'La Grande Traversée' (1975) and therefore flopped. The same Astérix album also formed part of the plot of the next animated feature, 'Astérix et les Vikings' (2006), which was a Danish-French co-production, directed by Stefan Fjeldmark and Jesper Møller. The other half of the story was based on 'Astérix et les Normands' (1966). It received mixed reviews. Alexandre Astier and Louis Clichy made the Franco-Belgian feature 'Astérix: Le Domaine des Dieux' (2014), based on the comic book of the same name. It was the first Astérix film to be made in 3-D and received excellent reviews. Even Uderzo claimed it was the best adaptation he saw in his entire life. A new CGI film, 'Astérix: Le Secret de la Potion Magique' ('Astérix and the Secret Potion', 2018), followed four years later.

Since 1999, 'Astérix' has also been adapted into a succesful but often critically mixed received series of live-action films: 'Astérix et Obélix Contre César' (1999), 'Astérix et Obélix: Mission Cléopâtre' (2002), 'Astérix aux Jeux Olympiques' (2008) and 'Astérix et Obélix: Au Service de Sa Majesté' (2012). In this film series Gérard Depardieu plays an excellent Obélix.

Death of René Goscinny
The commercial and critical success of 'Astérix' made Goscinny and Uderzo rich. It also took up so much of their time that they both gradually dropped most other projects in favor of the indomitable Gauls. Their final joint comics were 'Le Cow-boy et la Haridell' (1962) for Record magazine and 'Obelisc'h' in Pilote (1963). 'Astérix en Corse' ('Asterix in Corsica', 1973) was the final 'Astérix' story serialized in Pilote. The subsequent stories of the Uderzo-Goscinny tandem were first printed in newspapers like Le Monde, Sud Ouest, or in the weekly Le Nouvel Observateur, before appearing in the album format. After 24 best-selling albums, Goscinny unexpectedly passed away in 1977, while Uderzo was halfway illustrating 'Astérix Chez Les Belges' ('Astérix in Belgium', 1979). The shock was huge and can be pinpointed in the story itself. Halfway the story it starts raining and the sky never really clears up. In the final image a small rabbit can be seen, sadly walking away. This was a reference to Goscinny, whose wife often called him "little rabbit". 

'Le Ciel Lui Tombe Sur La Tête' ('Asterix and the Falling Sky'). The Superman lookalike is a caricature of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Astérix after Goscinny's death
In 1977, Uderzo left Dargaud and took the decision to continue 'Astérix' on his own. He established his own comic company, les Éditions Albert-René, and published all new Astérix stories exclusively there, appearing on irregular intervals. Critics feel that they never reached the same heights of Goscinny's scripts, with the tone gradually becoming more child-oriented and melodramatic. The plausible reality of the original series was sometimes pushed too far into unbelievable fantasies, like a flying carpet in 'Astérix Chez Rahàzade' ('Astérix and the Flying Carpet', 1987) and Atlantis with flying animals in 'La Galère d'Obélix' ('Astérix and Obélix All At Sea', 1996). Uderzo's final album, 'Le Ciel Lui Tombe Sur La Tête' ('Asterix and the Falling Sky', 2005), felt like a frustrated attack aimed at his critics. It brought extraterrestrial aliens into the Astérix universe, combined with mean-spirited and pointless attacks at the manga industry who hurt his own sales. The book is widely perceived as the moment when the series finally jumped the shark. Some comic shops even strongly advised their customers not to buy it.

Chanteclairix, the Gaulish rooster (short story from 'Astérix et la Rentree Gauloise', aka 'Asterix and the Class Act', 2002).

Praise and defense of Uderzo
Since Uderzo's solo 'Astérix' books have such a lesser reputation, he hasn't always received the same critical praise and esteem as Goscinny. Many regard him as the mere illustrator of his friend's genius scripts. By constantly praising Goscinny in interviews, while remaining humble about his own contributions, Uderzo only fed his "weak link" public image. Nevertheless, he played a major part in the series' lasting popularity. Uderzo designed the characters' looks, their village and their universe. Without him, 'Astérix' would have lacked Obélix and Idéfix, since Goscinny originally didn't see much in them. Above all, Uderzo is a marvellous illustrator. He combined the instant readability of the Belgian "ligne claire" ("clear line") with stunningly detailed artwork and Disneyesque character appeal. His humans look like believable individuals and are amusingly portrayed. Uderzo was particularly fond of drawing bulbous-nosed characters with huge potbellies. Whenever he depicted stereotypical presentations of various people he added little touches which are instantly amusing in their recognizability.

Uderzo was also a master caricaturist. He frequently gave celebrities cameos in the series, several mostly known in the francophone world: TV host Guy Lux ('Le Domaine des Dieux'), film actor Lino Ventura ('La Zizanie), comedian/musician Annie Cordy ('Astérix chez les Belges'), film actors Bernard Blier and Jean Gabin ('L'Odyssée d' Astérix'). Others are internationally famous, like French politician Jacques Chirac, Laurel & Hardy ('Obelix & Co'), Sean Connery ('L'Odyssée d' Astérix), The Beatles ('Astérix Chez les Bretons') and Kirk Douglas ('La Galère d' Obélix'). Colleagues and friends of Uderzo also received regular cameos, such as Jean Graton ('La Serpe d'Or'), Pierre Tchernia ('Astérix en Corse') and Gérard Calvi ('Astérix en Hispanie'). Another passion were cute animals, from the panicky wild boars who try to hide from Obélix to the village rooster crying at dawn.

Asterix & Obelix, by Albert Uderzo
'Astérix Chez les Goths' ('Astérix and the Goths'). 

Goscinny's hilarious scripts rarely looked better when executed by Uderzo's pencil. From funny facial expressions to the over-the-top fight sequences where Obélix knocks away entire legions of Romans as if they were pins in a bowling game. Nobody could depict banquets so deliciously that one can almost taste the food. Several of Goscinny's referential gags demanded a decent visual execution, such as Uderzo's parodies of famous paintings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Theodore Géricault, Rembrandt van Rijn, or scenes from famous movies like 'Cleopatra' (1963) and Federico Fellini's 'Satyricon' (1969). Goscinny and Uderzo often went through various books and museums to study the Gallo-Roman time period. While Goscinny did most of the research, it was Uderzo who had to visualize everything. He depicted authentic clothing, weapons, sculptures, architecture, customs and objects with such attention to detail that many historians have praised him for their accuracy. Sometimes Uderzo didn't even have proper documentation, but his knowledge of the era was so exquisite that he could easily imagine how certain things might have looked. In 'Le Tour de Gaule d'Astérix' ('The Banquet', 1963), Uderzo once drew the harbour of Gesobicratie (nowadays Le Coquet) from the top of his head, only to be amazed when a historian complimented him for its accuracy!

Uderzo and Goscinny also travelled a lot, bringing back all necessary photographs of various archaeological sites and landscapes. Some of Uderzo's drawings of ancient cites and nature scenery are so picturesque that they can compete with pictures in a tourist guide. Uderzo also hid numerous sight gags in the backgrounds. They were done so subtly that they don't distract from the actions on the foreground and are therefore sometimes only discovered through numerous re-readings. 

Throughout his career, Uderzo has often received assistance, most notably from his brother Marcel. From 1964 on, Marcel Uderzo inked three 'Tanguy et Laverdure' albums and, between 1965 and 1979, participated in the artwork of 16 'Astérix' stories. For the album publication of the first 'Astérix' story, page 35 was drawn by Marcel as well, since the original source material was lost. Marcel also often colored the comics, because of Albert's colourblindness. He was responsible for a lot of promotional and other commercial artwork related to 'Astérix' for Éditions Dargaud. This includes the rare album 'Les 12 Travaux d'Astérix' (1976), based on the film of the same name, which never appeared in the regular series. Daniel Sebban was responsible for the lettering of 'L'Oddysée d'Astérix' (1981), while Michel Janvier provided the lettering of Uderzo's final three albums. Starting with 'La Galère d'Obélix' (1996), Frédéric Mébarki assisted Uderzo on the inking, while Thierry Mébarki provided the coloring.

Graphic contributions
In 1980, Uderzo provided illustrations to the Molière film adaptation 'L'Avare' (1980) by Jean Girault, starring Louis de Funès.

Uderzo was honored with the title of Chevalier (1985) and Officier (2013) de la Légion d'Honneur (1985) as well as Knight in the Order of the Dutch Lion (2006). He received a Max und Moritz Preis (2004), an Eisner Award (2005) and on 15 October 2009, an honorary doctorate from the university of Paris. His own name inspired a comic prize in 2003, namely the Prix Albert-Uderzo. Despite not being Belgian, 'Astérix' has its own comic book wall in Brussels since August 2005, located in the Rue de la Buanderie/ Washuisstraat 15, as part of the Brussels' Comic Book Route. And despite not being Dutch, streets have been named after Asterix, Obelix and Idéfix in the Dutch city Almere since 2003, as part of their "Comics Heroes" district.

Asterix stamp from 1999.

Retirement and later years
Regardless of the quality of the new 'Astérix' titles, each new album was still a major international comics event. On 9 September 1998, Uderzo managed to obtain the profits and rights from his former publisher Dargaud in a trial. For a long time he planned to let the franchise die with him, much like Hergé had done with 'Tintin'. Yet in 2008 he changed his mind. The rights to the franchise were sold to Hachette, distributor of Les Éditions Albert-René. In 2013, Jean-Yves Ferri (script) and Didier Conrad (drawings) became Uderzo's successors. All these events caused friction between Uderzo and his daughter Sylvie, who disagreed with these decisions, fearing it would lead to a decline in quality. Uderzo nevertheless retired, confident that the future of his co-creations was in safe hands.

In 2015, he suddenly gave a sign of life again when the head office of the French satirical magazine Charlie-Hebdo became victim of a terrorist attack. One of the casualties was his friend Cabu. Enraged by the events, Uderzo drew two cartoons in tribute of the murdered cartoonists. The first drawing shows Astérix beating up a terrorist flying out of his sandals, while shouting "Me too, I'm a Charlie", referencing the "Je Suis Charlie" solidarity movement that spontaneously rose to defend the freedom of speech. A more solemn drawing followed soon after, with a mourning Asterix and Obelix putting a rose on the ground. Uderzo even proposed selling one of the original pages of 'Les Lauriers de César' ('The Laurel Wreath of Caesar') with the money going to the families of the victims.

In 2019, a German-language Astérix magazine was launched by Egmont: Astérix Magazin. On 1 April 2020, an online 'Asterix' magazine was launched, 'Irréductibles avec Astérix', which can be downloaded for free at www.asterix.com. 

In the night between 23 and 24 March 2020, Albert Uderzo passed away in his home in Neuilly-sur-Seine. He was 92 years old. As one of the last remaining legends of Franco-Belgian comics, his death made international headlines. Since his passing happened to coincide with several Western countries going into a lockdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic, several articles mistakeningly reported he had died from corona. In reality, Uderzo passed away from a heart attack. 

Asterix et Obelix by Albert Uderzo
Cover illustration for the 'Astérix' album 'La Grande Traversée'  ('The Great Crossing'). 

Legacy, celebrity fans and cultural impact
'Astérix' is one of the most recognizable French symbols on the planet, along with baguettes, wine and the Eiffel Tower. When Time Magazine devoted an article to "The New France" in 1991, it was visualized by Asterix on the cover. The tiny Gaul has become the French equivalent of Mickey Mouse, particularly since he also has his own theme park near Paris (1989). The series garnered some notable celebrity fans over the years. According to French politician François Misoffe, president Charles De Gaulle read 'Astérix' and once named members of his cabinet after characters from their comic. De Gaulle's successor Georges Pompidou once suggested sending Astérix to Switzerland, which eventually led to the album 'Astérix Chez Les Helvètes' (1970). When France launched its first satellite in 1965, it was officially named A-1, but later renamed the 'Astérix'. Other things floating around in space named after the franchise are four asteroids named after Astérix, Obélix, Idéfix and Panoramix in 1996. Uderzo also received his own asteroid in 2017.

'Astérix' parodies
As world famous as Astérix is, parody is of course inevitable. Various Dutch, Belgian, German and French comic series have often spoofed the franchise. It even inspired whole albums. In 1971, two German 'Asterix' spoofs, 'Asterix un die SDAJ' and 'Asterix und der Kampf der Lehrlinge', were published, making propaganda for the Socialist German Workers Youth. In 1978, a politically motivated parody about nuclear energy was published in Austria under the title 'Asterix und das Atomkaftwerk', which was also translated in Dutch as 'Asterix en de Kerncentrale(s)' (1979). The book, credited to G. Raub and U. Druck, was mostly a cut-and-paste work, cobbling together scenes from 'Asterix' albums. In 1981, and again in February 1984, the Viennese publisher was sued by Uderzo's estate for plagiarism. Raub and Druck also published 'Asterix & Obelix gegen Rechts' (1981), in which the Gauls were pitted against conservative German politician Franz Jozef Strauss. 

Other German 'Asterix' parodies reacted against the university system 'Asterix und die UNI' (1979), Turkish holidays ('Asterix und Obelix reisen in die Türkei', 1979), hotel Schwarzwaldhof ('Asterix im Schwarzwaldhof',1980), nuclear missiles ('Asterix im Bombenstimmung', 1981, 'Asterix und die Atombombe', Raternal Verlag, 1981), reductions of subsidies ('Asterix und die Subventionskürzungen', 1980), reductions of the 35-hour week ('Asterix und Obelix und die 35-Stunden-Woche', 1980), holiday villages ('Asterix im Hüttendorf', Waldgeist,1981, by Rosa Klar and Bernd Trueb), prisons ('Asterix im Knast', 1981), cultur centers ('Asterix  und Obelix. Das Kulturzentrum', 1986), yuppies ('Asterix als Yuppie', Madnight Oilie, 1993) and the Northern-Irish conflict ('O'Connerix in Nordirland', D.A & D.A., 1999). Some German 'Asterix' spoofs promoted organisations, like the student group Liste Asta und Fachschaften ('Wahl-ASTAR-Rix', 1979), the punk movement ('Alkoholix und der Jutesack', 1983, 'Alkoholix gegen Superman', 1983), the environmental youth organisation Naturfreundejugend ('Asterix bei der NFJ', 1984) and the 'Monsters of Rock' festival ('Asterix auf dem Monsters of Rock', 1989). Equally odd were 'Gallas. Skandal auf der Chewing-Ranch' (Egmont Ehapa, 1983), which spoofed the soap opera 'Dallas', and 'Astronix der Galliroider' (1990) by a certain Alex, which brought the Gaul into outer space. The two-parter 'Asterix und die grosse Mauer' (Piraten Comics, 1992) was also translated in French as 'Astérix et la Grande Muraille' (Kalashnikov, 2002). The spoof 'Der Q-Seher' (1994) was credited to Gehtfix, Hilftfix, Adelnix (script) and Geklaut (art). 'Asterix und der Faseroptische Kreisel' (1997) dealt with fibre-optic gyroscopes, while 'Die Verschwörung' (1998) delved into conspiracy theories. The political satire 'Asterix und der Kampf um's Kanzleramt' (2005) revolved around the German chancellor elections. 

In France, Asterix fought against the French electricity company EDF in 'Astérix Contre L' Empire de Framatum' (1980). In the Netherlands, the squatters' movement brought out 'Asterix en het Kraakpand' (1980), while in J. de Reuver's 'Faberix en de Kruisraket' (1983), the indomitable Gauls resisted against the placement of nuclear missiles. In Belgium, an anti-cigarette spoof, 'Anti-rook-kolder-stripke: Asterix en de Xgaretten' (1991) was made. In the United Kingdom, Asterix promoted the shop Pick 'n' Pay in 'Asterix Goes Shopping at Pick 'n' Pay' (Hodder & Stoughton, 1986) and fought against bulldozers in 'Asterix and the Road Monster' (1990). Spanish Asterix parodies were 'Asturix y Obierzix Van A Bankistan' (2012), 'La Hoguera Calderón de la Barca' (1999), 'Asterix Contra Las Privatizaciones' (2005), 'Asterix e la Battaglia di Venaus' (No Tav, 2005), 'Asterix e la Tregua Olimpica' (No Tav, 2006), 'Asterux in Baetica' (2008), 'Asturix in Brunete' (2008) and 'Iut Bayonne' (2014). A Hungarian spoof is 'AZ Asterix-Legenda' (2013). Danish artist Freddy Milton made a political satire, 'Svenderix og de gæve Danere' (2013), spoofing Danish politician Svend Auken. 

Predictably, 'Asterix' also inspired several pornographic parodies, of which AVE's 'Asterix Op De Walletjes' (1982) and 'Asterix de Geilaard' (1982), and  'Rammerix - Le Condôme' (also known as 'La Vie Sexuelle d'Astérix') by Ger van Wulften's Espee team (by Willem Vleeschouwer and Aad Labadie) are the most notorious. In the same category we find the German sex parody 'Österix und der Tempel der Elektra' (1984), the French 'Le Dépucelage d'Astérix' (Fluide Thermal, 2009) by Almo and the French 'Camille la Zadiste' (2012)

More inspired were the Astérix porn parody in Alain Voss' 'Parodies de Al Voss' (1984) and 'Les Invraisemblables Aventures d'Istérix' (1991) by Coyote, Denis Merezette and Michel Rodrigue and 'Asterix Le Gaulois' (Yop Comics, 2011), drawn in a realistic style by Chris Lannes. 

Influence, homage and plagiarism
Albert Uderzo, particularly 'Astérix', was a huge influence on artists like Edward Gorey, Frank Sels (his comic 'Arkulleke' was obviously inspired by it), Frédéric Toublanc, Désert, Leone CimpellinMerhoJosé Antonio GonzalezMatt Groening, Kari KorhonenGisèle LagacéRobert ObertHarald StrickerAlexis FajardoErik VandemeulebrouckeAdam WellerAlex CorralesTony FernándezJuanjo GuarnidoJean Mulatier and Fernando Sosa. Some comic artists have created their own humorous-satirical series set in national history featuring characters fighting a military oppressor, like Lo Hartog van Banda and Dick Matena's 'De Argonautjes' (set in ancient Greece), Romano Garofalo and Leone Cimpellin's 'Alem' (set in Italy during the Antiquity), Lazo Sredanovic's 'Dikan' (set in 6th-century Balkan), Tito and José Maria André's 'Tonius' (set in medieval Portugal when the Moors occupied the Iberian peninsula), Janusz Christa's 'Kajko and Kokosz' (set in medieval Poland), Hanco Kolk and Peter de Wit's 'Gilles de Geus' (set in 16th-century Netherlands) and Dwi Koendoro's 'Sawang Kampret' (set in 17th-century Indonesia). Peter de Smet made 'Morgenster en Durandel' (1984-1985), of whom the title characters were similar to Astérix and Obélix, while all action is set in a post-apocalyptic world.

Twice German-language comics had too obvious similarities. After losing his license to the 'Asterix' stories in 1967, Rolf Kauka shamelessly came up with his own rip-off, titled 'Fritze Blitz und Dunnerkiel' (1967-1969), scripted by Peter Wiechmann and drawn by Branco Karabajic and later Riccardo Rinaldi. The stories were set in ancient Germany, with the title characters being Goths. Goscinny sued, but the judge ruled in Kauka's favour. Nevertheless the series wasn't a success and already ended in 1969. Two decades later, Austrian cartoonist Gunther Mayrhofer's 'Gallenstein' also made a blatant rip-off, this time set in the 16th century. Uderzo filed a complaint and the series was discontinued. Dimitris Antonopoulos' 'The Ancient Losers'  ('Ta Koróida oi Archaíoi') was a satire of Greek mythology, copying lots of imagery from 'Asterix'.  

Uderzo has been praised by veteran artists René Pétillon, MoebiusAndré Franquin and Gotlib. In 1996, the comic book 'Uderzo Croqué Par Ses Amis' (1996) featured homages to Uderzo by 26 authors, namely Achdé, Éric Adam, Arleston, Serge Carrère, Giorgio Cavazzano, André Chéret, Hélène Cornen, François Corteggiani, Al Coutelis, Crisse, Xavier Fauche, Franz, Gil Formosa, Paul Claudel, Michel Janvier, Erik Juszezak, Jean-Charles Kraehn, Jack Manini, Félix Meynet, Jean-Louis Mourier, François Plisson, Rodolphe, Michel Rouge, Éric Stalner, Pierre Tranchand and Roger Widenlocher. Another all-star homage, called 'Astérix et ses Amis - Hommage à Albert Uderzo' was released in 2007. It contained contributions by international authors like Achdé, Scotch Arleston, Baru, Batem, Fred Beltran, François Boucq, Brösel, Serge Carrère, Raoul Cauvin, Steve Cuzor, Dany, Derib, Emebé, Forges, Laurent Gerra, Jean & Philippe Graton, Juanjo Guarnido, Kathryn & Stuart Immonen, Jidéhem, Henk Kuijpers, Laudec, David Lloyd, Loustal, Milo Manara, Midam, Jean-Louis Mourier, Grzegorz Rosinski, Didier Tarquin, Tibet, Turf, Jean Van Hamme, William Vance, Vicar, François Walthéry and Zep.

In 2019, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the franchise, no less than two 'Astérix' homage albums were launched. In Germany, '60 Jahre Asterix' (2019) featured old and new graphic contributions by Didier Conrad, Flix, André Franquin, Klaus Jöken, Mawil, Moebius, Fabrice Tarrin and Sascha Wüstefeld. In France, 'Genérations Astérix' (2019) has more than 60 graphic homages, including again by François Boucq, Didier Conrad, Derib, Flix, Juanjo Guarnido, Milo Manara, Mawil, Midam, Fabrice Tarrin and Sacha Wüstefeld, but also Charlie AdlardPierre Alary, Kaare Andrews, Laurent Astier, Philippe Aymond, Alain Ayroles, Alessandro Barbucci, Béja, Charles Berberian, Philippe Bercovici, BlutchPaul CauuetFlorence Cestac, Frank Cho, Ian Churchill, Serge Clerc, Louis Clichy, Cosey, Arthur De Pins, Delaf, Guy DelisleDupuyJean-Yves Ferri, Emmanuel Guibert, Eric Hérenguel, Frédéric Jannin, Kim Jung Gi, Wilfrid Lupano, Frank MargerinJulie Maroh, Catherine MeurisseRalph MeyerFélix Meynet, Terry Moore, Fabrice ParmePascal RabatéFrançois RavardAnouk RicardMathieu Sapin, Lolita Séchan, Tébo, Didier Tronchet, Lewis Trondheim, Tony ValenteSylvain Vallée, Valérie Vernay and Bastien Vivès

Books about Albert Uderzo
For those interested in Uderzo's life, the biographies 'Uderzo: de Flamberge à Astérix' (Éditions Albert-René, 1985), 'Uderzo-Storix' (J.-C Lattès, 1991) by Bernard de Choisy and 'Uderzo' (Chne, 2002) by Alain Duchêne are all very much recommended.

Traditional festivities at the end of 'Astérix et le Chaudron' ('Astérix and the Cauldron'). 


Series and books by Albert Uderzo you can order today:


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