Astérix is a graphic novel series created by French authors René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo. The first graphic novel in the series, titled "Astérix the Gaul," was published in 1959 and immediately gained international success. Since then, many other graphic novels in the series have been published, following the adventures of Astérix and his companions in their Gaulish village and beyond. The series takes place during the time of the Roman conquest of Gaul and follows the adventures of Astérix and Obélix, two Gauls living in a village that has managed to escape Roman domination thanks to a magical potion that gives them superhuman strength. Despite numerous attempts by Julius Caesar to take over this village, Astérix and his companions always manage to defend it thanks to their strength and cunning. The stories of Astérix often feature conflicts between the Gauls and the Romans, with Astérix and Obélix using their strength and cunning to protect their village and their freedom. The series is known for its humor and satire of history and contemporary society. Obélix, a key character in the series, first appeared in the graphic novel "Astérix and the Goths," published in 1963. This character, known for his superhuman strength and love of roasted wild boar, has become one of the most popular characters in the series. He is Astérix's loyal companion and helps him in all his adventures. The druid Panoramix is another important character in the Astérix series. He is the one who prepares the magical potion that gives Astérix and the other Gauls their superhuman strength. He is also the village counselor and a wise and respected character. The cauldron of magical potion, in which Panoramix prepares the potion, is a key element in the series. The end of each album is celebrated with a banquet where all of our heroes feast, except for the bard Assurancetourix, who ends up gagged and apart from the group.
The son of Italian immigrants, Albert UDERZO was born in the Marne, before growing up in Paris. It is by reading Mickey Mouse that he discovers a passion for comics and it is Felix Le Chat (of Pat Sullivan) who will be at first sight.
It is one of his older brothers, believing in his talent, who pushes him to get in touch with publishers. At 14, in the middle of World War II, he worked for a year and a half for the SPE (which published Bibi Fricotin or Les Pieds Nickelés). He learns the rudiments of the trade alongside the layout artist of the publishing house. It was in 1941, in Junior (published by the SPE) that he published his very first drawing. Following this, he joined his brother and spent two and a half years in Brittany (hence the location of Asterix).
In 1946, he published his first complete comic book : Flamberge, gentleman gascon, adventure of cape and sword. The following year, convinced his father that he could make a living from his drawings (after winning a competition), he began to illustrate books, newspapers and published short stories or unique gag drawings in various publications. He is even, for a time, a reporter-cartoonist for France Dimanche !
It is via Belgium that between 1950 and 1954, he will publish the series dedicated to Belloy, a character he had created a few years earlier. It is during this same period that he crosses the road of René Goscinny who is in the process of inventing the job of comic writer! Nothing will be the same! An evidence of dialogue, of complicity, immediately appears between the two artists.
After two small creations for the supplement of a Belgian daily, they imagine the character of Oupah-Pah, Peau-Rouge leaving his Reserve to live in America in the early 1950s. It is 8 years later that the character will be validated by the Journal de Tintin and that it will become the first big series of Goscinny and Uderzo.
The following year, for the launch of the newspaper Pilote, Uderzo created, with Jean-Michel Charlier Tanguy and Laverdure and with Goscinny: Asterix. Faced with the latter’s success, he soon sought to free himself from Tanguy, for lack of time. After an unsuccessful attempt by Jean Giraud, Jigé (Spirou draftsman before Franquin) will take over Tanguy and Laverdure, while Uderzo will devote all his energy to the irreducible Gaul.
Sharing the profits and copyrights equally with Goscinny (which is unusual for a screenwriter), they jointly oversee the development of derivative products such as figurines or cartoons.
If Goscinny created Asterix, Uderzo invented Obelix and Idefix. Together, he elaborates the outline of the stories, then it is Goscinny who writes and dialogue, while Uderzo draws (and adds visual gags).
In 1977, René Goscinny collapsed during a heart test at 51, leaving Asterix and Uderzo orphans! If after the death of his colleague, Uderzo at first thinks of abandoning the little Gaul, he changes his mind, he separates himself from his editor (Dargaud, with whom he will be on trial for nearly 10 years; before winning and getting Dargaud convicted), created the publishing house Albert René (from which he sold 20% of the shares to the widow of Goscinny) and published a new album: Asterix and the Great Divide. The success is impressive with 2 million copies sold.
Uderzo signed another 8 albums alone before passing the baton to Didier Conrad (drawing) and Jean Yves Ferri (script) for another 4 albums, after his right hand, making him suffer a lot, forced him to retire as a cartoonist. In spite of everything, he will supervise his last four opus.
He declares that the series will stop at his death and end in March 2020, from a heart attack at the age of 92.