Thursday, October 22, 2009

Happy 50th Anniversary, Asterix!

Asterix (and Uderzo -- both above), created by writer Rene Goscinny and illustrator Albert Uderzo in the pages of Pilote Magazine on October 29, 1959, celebrate their 50th anniversary.

There will be a number of events. In addition to the new book, their 34th album, ASTERIX AND OBELIX'S BIRTHDAY - THE GOLD BOOK, to be released today, Deutsche Welle reports:

This month's anniversary is widely recognized in France: Asterix gets his own postal stamp and the French air force is producing a video in which airplanes will draw an Asterix head in the sky. Paris will also organize a parade themed "The Gauls invade Lutetia" and a series of events will take place in the region of Brittany, where several villages claim to be Asterix' home.

Hugh Schofield, writing for BBC News in Paris, reports on the drop in quality in the series when writer Rene Goscinny passed away in 1977 in today's article titled Should Asterix hang up his sword?

"'Since the death of Goscinny, it has been the slow descent into hell,' says Hugues Dayez, Belgian film critic and comic-strip expert. (In Belgium they take BD [Bandes Dessinées; or, comic strip books] even more seriously than in France.)

"'Uderzo is a great artist, but he is no script-writer. He has no confidence in himself. He has one idea, then another, then another, and in the end the whole thing is a mess. More importantly, all the humour - the wonderful irony - is no longer there. The genius has gone.

"'But the paradox is that despite all this, the Asterix albums have never sold as many as they do now. This is entirely a result of the commercialisation of the brand. In Mr Goscinny's day there was no merchandising, but now it is like a war-machine,' he says"

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