Asterix René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo

(Due credit for the paper texture goes here:

Default Smiles Imagine Gaul. That’s old France to you. Now imagine Rome. Imagine Rome is being typically Roman and conquering everything it sees. But you belong to one small village that still holds out against the invaders, a village that loves a good fight, a good drink, and having good friends. Your village is frequently challenged, both from outside and in, but you always hold together. And the place is beautifully drawn.
Surprised Sharky 2 … drawn?
Default Smiles Yes, because this isn’t just a book. It’s a comic book! Or rather, a series of comic books.
Happy Sharky Fair warning, this review is going to be VERY biased because we adore these comics. We got into them when we were young so we don’t really know if it’s as easy to enjoy them if you’re older and reading them for the first time. And it might not be your thing. But boy are we going to act like fanboys.
Happy Sharky2 There’s two types of Asterix adventures. Ones that take place in or near their village, and ones where they go to other countries. The ones with other countries are great because they get to spread out and throw in a lot more variety in scenery and characters design.
Surprised Smiles But they also throw in a lot more cultural jokes and references. As a kid, I didn’t understand most of them, but I had such fun reading the adventures that it really didn’t matter. It was always really easy to gloss over what I didn’t get because the next few panels always had something interesting going on. All the same, there’s definitely a few points where the dialogue or even the art is noticeably spending panel time to build up to a joke that you might not get, even as an adult.
Happy Sharky That’s the most noticeable in the weaker stories. But in the good ones? You won’t even care. These panels are bright, funny, clever, and just a joy to read.
Less Latin


Delicious flavours
Only France can have flavour varieties to magic.


Enemy warrior
He makes a good case, really.


Bad grammar
With punchlines like this, who even cares if we don’t know Latin?


Someone has to be the pretty one, Obelix.


It took me years to realise the Goths were talking in the ‘Gothic’ font.


Tortoise and hare
The military manoeuvres are always hilarious
Happy Smiles There's one more picture we want to show you. But we're saving it for the end because it's THE BEST.
Happy Sharky2 No question.
Shocked Smiles I have to say, as much praise as I heap on the artist and writer, because this is great art and fun plots, there’s someone I always forget. The translators. I didn’t know this when I first read them, but the Asterix comics had to be translated into English. And if the original French is as full of puns and joke names as the translation, I can’t image how difficult it must have been to do. Aren’t puns basically untranslatable?
Happy Sharky I did read somewhere that the translators had to leave out whole pages of wordplay to substitute ones that would work in English. If that’s even a little bit true, that’s HUGELY impressive and these guys should get as much praise as the original creators. Makes me wonder if the translations into other languages are as good.
Happy Smiles Of course that’s all down to whoever does the translating, so two thumbs up to Anthea Bell and Derek Hockridge! You did great, guys!
Happy Sharky2 Now the real question is, which book should you start with? We didn’t start in chronological order, just got whatever was available and enjoyed that. It works great that way, because each book has a little introductory page of the main characters, so you’re up to speed no matter which book you pick up. Some of the best ones are usually when the Romans try to be overly clever and attempt to conquer the village by destabilising it, either with jealousy, greed, rival clans, or… tourists.
Default Smiles The first book, Asterix the Gaul, was probably one of the last books in the collection we managed to find. It definitely checks out as a great way to start the series, but if you can’t get your hands on it, doesn’t matter! There’s other fantastic ones for a first impression, like Asterix and Cleopatra, Asterix the Legionary, Asterix and the Big Fight, Asterix and the Roman Agent, Asterix and the Mansions of the Gods, Asterix the Gladiator, Asterix and the Olympic Games… the list just goes on.
Surprised Sharky There’s definitely some that are really weak though, and not worth starting off with. Try to stick with one of the ones Smiles just rattled off.
Happy Smiles You won’t regret it!
Happy Sharky2 And now-
Happy Smiles AND NOW!
Happy Sharky The panel to end all panels.
smiles-intensifies THE PANEL!
The Battle of the Village
So much DETAIL. You can identify individual people by sight!

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