The artist co-creator of Asterix, Albert Uderzo, has passed away at the age of 92 in Neuilly, France, as announced by son-in-law Bernard de Choisy.
Along with writer writer René Goscinny, Uderzo brought the diminutive Gaul to life in the French magazine Pilote on 29 October 1959, going on to clock up an amazing 370 million comic book albums (bande dessinée) sold worldwide, 11 films and an Asterix theme park as well as the celebration of Asterix’s 60th anniversary only last year.
Asterix, along with Obelix, Getafix, Dogmatix and a whole village of rebellious Gauls have entertained generations of children over the past 6 decades with adventures that have spanned the globe in books such as Asterix in Spain and Asterix and the Great Crossing as well as stories set closer to home, such as the original Asterix the Gaul and Asterix and the Normans.
With his bottle of magic potion in hand, and loyal companion Obelix by his side, tever the underdog, Asterix has taken on the might of the Roman Empire – and Julius Caesar himself on occasions – rubbed shoulders with Cleopatra and even visited as far afield as America. There’s not too much Asterix hasn’t;t does in this ancient world of some 1,500 years ago. It’s the reason I fell in live with the history of the Roman Empire, as I am sure is the same for many fans of the beguiling Gaul.
After his partner’s death in 1977, Uderzo took up writing as well as illustrating the books, with Asterix and the Great Divide(1980) but eventually retired from writing and illustrating new Asterix stories in 2009 when he sold his interests to Hachette.
But, that hasn’t stopped his characters from continuing to be popular amongst readers with every new title topping the charts across the world, with the most recent publication, Asterix and the Chieftain’s Daughter printing 5 million copies! Long may he continue to fight the good fight and bring entrainment to so many.
RIP, Albert Uderzo (25 April 1927 – 24 March 2020)