Friday, January 16, 2009

Asterix Conquered!

Don't know what's going in the Uderzo family, but many people view the change in ownership of the Asterix Intellectual Property (IP) as an unfortunate circumstance that apparently strikes at the very heart and the very spirit of the eponymous hero of this French graphic novel series, which was first published in the late 1950s. 

A new business arrangement may mark the demise of the Asterix sensibility of freedom, independence and opposition of the oppressors, but may also open up other subsidiary rights opportunities and give more exposure to this brilliant work. I suppose it depends on what end of the royalty cheque one is on and how large or small your voting rights are.

  The UK Guardian reports that:
The Romans may not have defeated Asterix, but his creator, Albert Uderzo, stands accused of surrendering to the indomitable Gaul's worst enemies: businessmen and financiers...

Uderzo, who created Asterix with the late Rene Goscinny in 1959, sold his stake in the company which publishes Asterix to Hachette last December, giving them a controlling stake of 60% in the company. The remaining 40% is owned by Sylvie [Uderzo's daughter].
I LOVE Asterix and Obelix and Dogmatix and the whole gang. I have the entire set of graphic novels in a small A5 format in my professional library. I really need to replace the lot with the larger standard size. I came across them in my high school library when I was 13 and I read the lot in about two weeks. They were the only graphic novels at school, along with Tintin. Comics were not given their rightful place in the school system. Things are changing now, but I digress ...

I always loved the way the Gauls could out-think the Romans and also outfight them after a slug of Getafix the Druid's magic potion. Obelix, of course, didn't need to do that – he had fallen into a magic cauldron of the stuff when he was a baby. I loved the running gags throughout the entire series – the encounter with the pirate rabble and the inevitable sinking of their ship, and the last page banquet scene with Caconofix all tied up to prevent him from playing the lute and caterwauling. Absolute utter hysterical delight! From memory Asterix and Cleopatra was my favourite – she was a slinky sexy seductive Egyptian vixen.

It's hard to think of the franchise being spoiled by family feuds. The creators have every right to dispose of their IP as they see fit, but I hope it's not to the detriment of the work. Don't know anything about the family dynamics but it would be a shame if Goscinny and Uderzo's legacy was marred by conflict.

Check out the official Asterix site here.


Auricfield said...

Asterix!! I remember going to see the Asterix movie in the primary school!

Black Mermaid Productions said...

Julie here.
I saw about ten minutes of the Asterix movie on SBS once – the one with Gerard Depardieu in it. It didn't feel right so I switched it off. However, I didn't watch it from the beginning so it is probably not a fair assessment of the movie and I will need to revisit it.

Go to the original graphic novels source material – they are some of the most hilarious stories I have ever read. I am going to pick them up again and have a good chuckle.

Thanks for your comments.

Alan said...

I remember reading the Asterix books from the local library when I was little (as well as Tintin, although there weren't as many of those available, alas). I still remember most of the names of the characters, and the various jokes that popped up in all the books (Obelix wanting a sip of the potion and being told off by Getafix, Cacophanix being hogtied to stop him from playing and spoiling the feast at the end)

Julie said...

You've given me more nice memories, Alan.

I like the use of your word "hogified" – very powerful and apt for the last image in each book.


Julie said...

Ooh, I got that wrong – it was "hogtied" not "hogified".