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Comic hero 'Asterix' plans friendly assault on the New World

36 Comments
By MARK KENNEDY

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36 Comments
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I can see why Asterix doesn't go in the U.S.A. It is way above the head of your average American comic reader.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

The series seems less dated than its contemporary “Tintin,” which often depicted people of color in racist ways.

Asterix has come in for criticism for is depiction of black people, who are drawn with exaggerated features (huge lips etc), but it exaggerates everyone's - massive noses on all the characters, one which westerners in Japan all know about!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I am loved these books growing up, but a bilingual French friend of mine told me that the English translations miss a lot of the jokes. Hardly surprising as the books were written in French got the French.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I loved these books too and have read most of them in English and French. It's true that a lot of the puns in French are impossible to translate, but the English version is quite amusing too. Names like Cacafonix, the bard, the village drunk, Dipsomaniax, and jokes that don't rely on words, like the English stopping every five minutes for a "hot water break," they drank hot water, because tea hadn't been invented.

There are international jibes, like the Britons drinking "warm beer," and the Romans are pulled apart and lampooned. But it's all done in good, clean fun. These are wonderful stories, beautifully drawn, little gems.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

The names in English are fantastic - getafix, unhygienic - hilarious and a I missed them the first time round. Also I didn't understand what a menhir was until I went on holiday to Brittany and saw loads of them.

As a Brit, I live the jokes in asterix in Britain.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Another Brit here who gorged upon the Asterix canon in his childhood. Never read the French originals but I agree that the English names are great. The ones I remember: Asterix, Obelix, Dogmatix, Getafix, Geriatrix, Vitalstatistix, Fulliautomatix, and of course their real-life Gallic forebear, Vercingetorix, who throws down his weapons on Caesar's feet (ouch!)

Also, gotta mention Asterix the Legionary, a lovely parody of the Foreign Legion. I love the Egyptian guy who speaks in hieroglyphics.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

“My driving thing is ‘What do I think a kid will understand?’” Johnson said. “That’s in the back of my mind as I translate it. But still keeping to the spirit of the original.”

Makes sense, seeing as how literacy in the US, comprehension of history and quirks/references about other countries is so low.

Personally, I feel the series dipped after Goscinny died but always nice to see a new comic come out.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I can see why Asterix doesn't go in the U.S.A. It is way above the head of your average American comic reader.

No, it’s just it was never properly marketed, has nothing to do with it being above American heads, but we had so many comics ourselves and more properly, it just at the time way back introducing the comic was a risk given the fact that we have already a ton of homegrown heroes and comics they comic industries felt it wasn’t necessary to introduce the character.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

I hate to say it, but the pc crowd will go after Asterix bigtime.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

To be honest, I never liked Asterix in English, it just doesn’t fit, I think German or Dutch it sounds funnier and the jokes really come off as funny. But in English, it just falls flat.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

American comics are about hero’s.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

American comics are about hero’s.

Well, yes and no. Beyond Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, etc you have had artists and writers like Chris Ware, Art Spiegelman, Daniel Clowes, Joe Sacco etc who deal in more real world topics.

That doesn't negate the lighter stuff, of course. There's room for all art forms.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I hate to say it, but the pc crowd will go after Asterix bigtime.

If something is offensive or outdated, it should carry an explanation or disclaimer. Not be banned.

Herge himself acknowledged that his early Tintin cartoons were offensive and crudely stereotypical. Thankfully, and like some former colonialist types, he grew up and accepted that his country had a lot to answer for. His later volumes showed a maturity and more subtle satrical digs, at left and right wing targets.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

American comics are about hero’s.

Yes, sir!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I dont' understand why remove some historical parts : black Africans were slaves around 50 BC. They are joked about like any character.

Erasing history does not erase racism.

I never heard about my black friends taking offense of anything obviously historical.

When you take a real look, Asterix and Obelix are the most exagerately drawn characters : Obelix is a huge whale and Asterix has such a big nose compare to his size.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The French actor Gérard Depardieu, looks like Asterix.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I dont' understand why remove some historical parts : black Africans were slaves around 50 BC. They are joked about like any character.

Erasing history does not erase racism.

I never heard about my black friends taking offense of anything obviously historical.

When you take a real look, Asterix and Obelix are the most exagerately drawn characters : Obelix is a huge whale and Asterix has such a big nose compare to his size.

I just pity for this planet. Sad, so sad.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Yes, sir!

I suppose if you really must go there, Captain America is a bona fide hero. One of the first comic book antifa characters, who can forget garish coloured covers of Cap punching out Hitler?

Today the Cap would be punching out yer man in the White House, no doubt.

I just pity for this planet. Sad, so sad.

English falling flat again, eh?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Today the Cap would be punching out yer man in the White House, no doubt.

The liberal ACTOR yes, but the comic hero, he wouldn’t. He was a true patriot in every sense of the word.

English falling flat again, eh?

Always hated Siri.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

The French actor Gérard Depardieu, looks like Asterix.

Well, he actually played Obelix in one of the French screenplays.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Well, he actually played Obelix in one of the French screenplays.

He really does. But I wonder what will happen to other famous comics like Lucky Luke or Clever & Smart if they will also fall victim to the PC surrender mob cancel culture.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The liberal ACTOR yes, but the comic hero, he wouldn’t. He was a true patriot in every sense of the word.

We're talking about comics, not films. Captain America was the first American anti-fascist, so yes, a true patriot. What a shame so-called patriotism in America these days is closer to Cap's enemies circa WW2.

I suppose in a way, Asterix (despite the occasional stereotypical mishap) was anti-fascist, too. Fighting the good fight against another corrupt empire, the Romans.

And comic heroes or not, we know, that in real life, all tyrannies crumble.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

He really does. But I wonder what will happen to other famous comics like Lucky Luke or Clever & Smart if they will also fall victim to the PC surrender mob cancel culture.

Could be worse. Could end up devoid of independent thinking and parroting Tucker Carson every day. And not even hiding it, either!

The great thing about sequential art throughout the decades, even centuries, is that they have originality and wit. Even if, in the past, the wit could be crude.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

If something is offensive or outdated, it should carry an explanation or disclaimer.

Double-plus good, eh!

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

You mistakenly seconded the notion that American comics are about heroes.

I know what they’re about, I read them, but thank you, no need for any explanation. Anyway, I am looking forward to reading this new issue and I hope to capture the excitement I had as a kid reading these awesome stories.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I know what they’re about, I read them, but thank you, no need for any explanation.

No, I insist. I've been reading comics for nearly 50 years. But I haven't read every single American comic ever printed. And as much as I make mine Marvel, I'm envious that you have managed to read and own all 79 years of Captain America.

As for the indomitable Gaul, he's survived 60 years of change, of international journeys (both in his adventures and in translation). No doubt he'll survive new writers and ideas, much like any other comic book character, by Toutatis!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

No, I insist. I've been reading comics for nearly 50 years.

I as well.

As for the indomitable Gaul, he's survived 60 years of change, of international journeys (both in his adventures and in translation). No doubt he'll survive new writers and ideas, much like any other comic book character, by Toutatis!

Im just looking forward to the German and Dutch Translation.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

There only 38 titles of Asterix. Available on Amazon for a few hundred dollars for the set.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There only 38 titles of Asterix. Available on Amazon for a few hundred dollars for the set.

Many available on the Internet Archive for free. But I do prefer a lush printed edition to read.

Eagle-eyed fans will notice Asterix appears (in carnival) in the last official Tintin book, Tintin and the Picaros. And the Thompson twins both briefly appear in Goscinny's last book, Asterix in Belgium.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

No Black guys in the Asterix series, so it's clearly Racist... right ?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Even worse, no Colored LGBT people in the Asterix series... so it's definitely unsuitable for the US Market as it doesn't meet the stringent (pointless) inclusion requirements.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I hope you see my comments in jest towards some complaints that some people raise towards the things of the past - why not leave the past as it was, and build better things for the future rather than rehashing old things .... a good example was the all Female remake of "Ghost Busters"... total flop, and an embarrassment towards the original film.... Don't remake, be more creative, come up with new ideas new stories... something new! The "Black Panther" film - was a good example of that, "Red Tails" another good example. I hope Hollywood,etc focuses upon more Original content than simply rehashing existing with changes.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

mmwkdwJuly 11  11:15 pm JST

No Black guys in the Asterix series, so it's clearly Racist... right ?

Is it? The real Roman Empire ruled from Scotland nearly all the way to India. And they ruled a good part of Africa too. That means that the Empire had people of various races, colors, ethnicities. Anyone could be a citizen or a slave.

I remember this comic strip briefly for a couple of years in my hometown funnies. I liked the funny character names, but this strip was over most people's heads. After the cartoonist died that was that.

I even remember the story of when Asterix and Obelix stumbled on the New World, like the Norse did in fact. Now in America statues of Columbus are going down. There's nothing 'PC' about any of this here. Besides, this is a comic strip.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Plenty of Asterix episodes that will run straight into American "woke" cancel culture, such as the portrayal of black pirates. Expect this to be failure. At least, as long as the current insanity lasts.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I even remember the story of when Asterix and Obelix stumbled on the New World, like the Norse did in fact. Now in America statues of Columbus are going down. There's nothing 'PC' about any of this here. Besides, this is a comic strip.

Good point.

Plenty of Asterix episodes that will run straight into American "woke" cancel culture, such as the portrayal of black pirates. Expect this to be failure. At least, as long as the current insanity lasts.

They won’t stop there because every cartoon we grew up with will either be canceled or shelved. Take your pick. The world is becoming a very sad place to live. When you have to worry about every word, every nuance, every adjective, who wants to be around people when you know one slip can end your career, your life? People are buying up all the classics because soon they will all be relics.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

WilliBJuly 12  01:49 am JST

Plenty of Asterix episodes that will run straight into American "woke" cancel culture, such as the portrayal of black pirates. Expect this to be failure. At least, as long as the current insanity lasts.

Not necessarily. Pirates come in all races. Since Somalia is in a state of anarchy, Somalian pirate gangs have been hijacking vessels from all nations in order to obtain weapons to fight each on the mainland. And Somalians are Black. That's a reality although it's about a broken nation, not an entire race.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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