Remembering Asterix co-creator and illustrator Albert Uderzo

ET Bureau|
​Who is Albert Uderzo?
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​Who is Albert Uderzo?

Asterix fans across the world will immediately recognise the opening lines of their favourite comic that was co-created and illustrated by Albert Uderzo, who died on March 24.

Here is a look at the life and work of the beloved French illustrator:

​The Classic Plot
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​The Classic Plot

Set in 50 BC in Roman-occupied Gaul (modern-day France and parts of Belgium), Asterix is a small-statured but brave Gallic warrior who takes on Roman soldiers with a little help from his best friend Obelix and a dog called Dogmatix. Luckily for Asterix, Obelix fell into a vat of magic potion as a child and is now practically invincible. But he is also rather clumsy and unwittingly causes several comic mishaps over the course of the trio’s many adventures around the world.

The Creators: Two Frenchmen, writer René Goscinny and illustrator Albert Uderzo, created Asterix as a “typically French hero” for a series fi rst published in 1959 for the comic magazine, Pilote, popular with readers in France and Belgium. After Goscinny’s death in 1977, Uderzo took over the writing duties in addition to his illustration work for the series. In 2011, Uderzo retired after drawing the comic hero for 52 years straight. In 2012, he handed over the reins of the comic creation to writer Jean-Yves Ferri and artist Didier Conrad.

​First Female Hero: Asterix and the Chieftan's Daughter
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​First Female Hero: Asterix and the Chieftan's Daughter

The creators of Asterix introduced its first female hero in Adrénaline, the teenage daughter of the Gallic village chief Vercingétorix in this series released in October 2019. Explaining the absence of female lead characters in the series until then, cartoonist Conrad said, “In general, there were hardly any female characters – purely for strategic reasons, because there were not many girls who read comics. Or in any case we did not know they read them."

Asterix and Coronavirus: A character in the 37th volume of the comic series, called Asterix and the Chariot Race, was named Coronavirus. In this edition, published in 2017, Coronavirus was a masked Roman villain, eerily similar to the novel coronavirus.

​1.4 milion
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​1.4 milion

Record price at which the original cover illustration of Asterix and the BANQUET comic book from 1965, signed by Albert Uderzo And René Goscinny, was sold at drouot auction house in Paris.

​First edition
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​First edition

61: Years since the first edition of the series was published

111: Languages and dialects the comic series is known to have been translated into

​Books sold worldwide
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​Books sold worldwide

70: Media adaptations inspired from the series, including over a dozen live-action and animated movies, 15 board games, about 40 video games, and a theme park called Parc Astérix situated 30 km north of Paris.

Over 380 million: Copies of Asterix comic books sold worldwide since the series debut in 1959

39th: Volume of the series set to publish sometime in 2021. The 38th volume, also the latest in the series, was released in October 2019.

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Copyright © 2020 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service

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