Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)

Eponymous hero of the French Comic strip by Goscinny and Uderzo, which first appeared in the comic weekly Pilote in 1959. The stories concern the inhabitants of a small village in Roman-occupied Gaul who are able to hold out against the invaders through the efficacy of a magic Potion brewed by their local druid, Panoramix, which temporarily endows all who consume it with incredible strength. The great success of the strip lay in its exaggerated praise of all things French and its Satire of the characteristics of all other nationalities; also important was Uderzo's clean and finely detailed artwork. The adventures of Asterix and his slow-witted gluttonous sidekick Obelix as they travel throughout Roman-occupied Europe were reprinted in book form from 1964 and ran to some 30 volumes, with translations in almost as many languages.

The UK translations by Anthea Bell (1936-2018) and Derek Hockridge are witty and inventive, giving the characters even more amusing names and idiosyncrasies than those in the original French editions. The druid Panoramix is renamed Getafix; the inept village musician becomes Cacophonix; Romans include Christmus Bonus and Raucus Hallelujachorus. Asterix's great popularity in the UK was not matched in the USA.

Asterix has also starred in a series of Animated Movies (see Asterix Movies). [RT]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.