Celebrating 50 years of Asterix
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Last Updated: Friday, October 30, 2009, 12:16
Celebrating 50 years of AsterixShivangi Singh

Who would have known that over the span of fifty years, a little comic character will grow on to become an institution and a brand in Europe as well as a worldwide best seller!

Fifty years from now, when French writer René Goscinny and illustrator Albert Uderzo created Asterix, they perhaps never thought that accompanied with his over-sized friend Obelix and Dogmatix the dog, their creation would take the world by storm .
About Asterix

Quite similar to the much-loved Indian comic characters, Chacha Chaudhary and Sabu, Asterix is a heroic comic book character, who lives in around 50 BC in a fictional Gaulish village in northwest Armorica.

He is tiny in size, but very brave and shrewd, who never thinks twice to take on the mighty Romans every time they attack his village - the only part of Gaul (in France) not conquered by Julius Caesar and his Roman legions.

The great attributes of Asterix (aged about 35) constitute his quick thinking, courage and wisdom. He rarely likes to join brawls and prefers to rely on his wit. If ever he enters into a brawl, he uses his magic potion enhanced fists and his trademark sword, which he carries all the time. His other most recognizable feature is his winged helmet and the wings often fall into positions to match his expressions.

Asterix`s parents are former villagers, who now live in the city of Condatum (Rennes), and he has cousins in Britannia (Britain). What constitutes his source of income is not known but he is often shown going on missions, quests, or hunting.
The birth of Asterix

A series of comic strips titled ‘The Adventures of Asterix’ first appeared in French in the magazine Pilote on 29th October, 1959.

The recurring plot in all of 33 different comic albums (the 34th album is to be released on this Oct 29- a celebratory retrospective marking ’50 years of Asterix’) concerns the attempts of the Romans to steal the secret recipe of the potion that gives the drinker superhuman strength from ancient Gauls. The attempts of the foolish Romans are repeatedly foiled due to valour, quick wit and courage of Asterix and his friend Obelix. Many-a-times, the conflicts lead them to travel to various countries around the world.
Indian connection

India also features in ‘Asterix and the Magic Carpet’ (Astérix chez Rahazade, 1987). In the comics, a saint from far-away India travels to Armorica. He asks Cacofonix to save his land from drought since his horrible voice can make it rain. Cacofonix accompanied by Asterix and Obelix, agrees to travel to India on a magic carpet. They need to reach India quickly as princess Orinjade`s life is at stake because she is being sacrificed to stop the drought.

And more…

According to statistics, The Asterix series is one of the most popular Franco-Belgian comics in the world – it has sold 325 million copies and has been translated into 107 languages and dialects.

The success of the series has led to the adaptation of several books into 11 films; eight animated, and three with live actors. There have also been a number of games based on the characters, and a theme park near Paris, Parc Astérix, which rivals even the city`s Disneyland apart from miscellaneous little things that makes Asterix a worldwide phenomenon.

This month, France has been celebrating the 50th birthday of their most-loved warrior with pomp and splendour.

First Published: Friday, October 30, 2009, 12:16

(The views expressed by the author are personal)
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