Arguably the world’s best known French character turned 50 on Thursday, October 29, a birthday celebrated by the entire nation.
It was 1959 when writer René Goscinny and artist Albert Uderzo first sketched their cartoon hero. Asterix and his trusty sidekick Obelix were born. Albert Uderzo was the special guest at the opening of a series of Asterix “events” in the French capital. “It’s wonderful, it’s prestigious. Now they must ask the Mayor of Paris to keep this on, it’s really beautiful. It must be kept on. It must not be removed.” As well as open air displays at historic sites all over Paris, the Musée de Cluny is holding an exhibition showing early Asterix drawings. 30 original plates from the Asterix albums and the typescripts used to prepare them are being showcased for the first time. Objects such as Goscinny’s typewriter and the issue of the comic Pilote, which carried the very first strips, are also on display. In 50 years, 325 million copies of 33 Asterix books have been sold around the world. What’s more, the lovable rogues Asterix and Obelix will not be hanging up their shields any time soon. A commemorative book is out this week featuring the 400 characters who have appeared alongside the Gallic heroes over the last half century.