Albert Uderzo (1927-2020)
March 24, 2020 6:53 AM   Subscribe

 
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posted by blob at 6:55 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]


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There can be few books I read more often in my life than the Asterix books I had as a kid. What immense amount of joy he and Goscinny gave to the world.
posted by Kattullus at 7:03 AM on March 24 [18 favorites]


I had dozens of Asterix comic books and anthologies and read them over and over again. I had to look up a lot of the popular culture references and the word play of a lot of the names but overall it enriched my life as a whole to do this because I got to find out about so many stories of people I never knew about.

There will never be another duo as iconic in my eyes as Goscinny and Uderzo.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:07 AM on March 24 [6 favorites]


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posted by Etrigan at 7:07 AM on March 24


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posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:09 AM on March 24 [4 favorites]


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Pretty sure I read the full collection when I was kid. Possibly why I took Classics/Latin for a few years at high school. Lots of older Asterix movies fully available on YouTube (links below in English)

Asterix in Britain

The Twelve Tasks of Asterix

Asterix The Gaul

Asterix and Cleopatra
posted by inflatablekiwi at 7:12 AM on March 24 [7 favorites]


I loved those books as a child. My late uncle who was a designer/illustrator used to regularly raid them for inspiration ("Ever try to draw a happy horse?"). And I'm glad to say my son is obsessed with them too, we're going through them in order, currently up to "Asterix and the Big Fight". RIP.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:19 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]


Asterix was a big part of my childhood. A then I got to enjoy them all over again as a teenager when I started to get the dirty jokes.
posted by AndrewStephens at 7:20 AM on March 24 [2 favorites]


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posted by Thorzdad at 7:37 AM on March 24




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I, too, grew up on Asterix (and Tintin, and Spirou, and Lucky Luke, and Gaston Lagaffe, and Corto Maltese, and Valérian et Laureline).
While the stories suffered a bit after the death of Goscinny, it is undeniable that much of the irrepressible charm of the series was found in Uderzo's artwork.
posted by bouvin at 7:43 AM on March 24 [5 favorites]


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posted by ZeusHumms at 7:59 AM on March 24


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posted by doctor_negative at 8:04 AM on March 24




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posted by mumimor at 8:24 AM on March 24


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I don't know how many hours I spent reading Asterix as a kid. My dad (really my step-dad, but the only dad I ever knew) was a big kid himself, and comic books was one of the main things we bonded over. When he started dating my mother, I think he was as excited about 4-year-old me as he was about my mom, because it gave him an excuse to buy comic books. My dad is an ocean away and is currently going through some health issues, including early stages of Alzheimer, and I'm very upset that I can't go visit him for at least a few months due to this damn virus, because I can feel that time is running short. But I just had the impulse to send us both an Asterix book or two, which I think will be just the ticket during this dreary time. So thank you, Mr. Uderzo, for this last gift to me and my dad.

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posted by widdershins at 8:26 AM on March 24 [8 favorites]


Honestly, it's best left in your childhood.

A couple of weeks ago I noticed some of the animated films were on Amazon Prime, so I thought I'd take a look at "Asterix in Britain", for nostalgia's sake.

The very first scene features a racist caricature of a black man. "Well that's pretty bad", I thought, "but I suppose everybody's a stereotype here, let's see where this goes."

Cut to a long shot and now that black man is AN ACTUAL APE.
posted by Buck Alec at 8:35 AM on March 24 [4 favorites]


Along with remembering Uderzo (and Goscinny); I also want to give a shout out to the English translator; Anthea Bell; who was responsible for many of the wonderful names and almost all the English language puns. She passed away in 2018. It was her puns that made me LOVE the comics.

Her obit and discussion on the blue.
posted by indianbadger1 at 8:36 AM on March 24 [18 favorites]


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posted by allthinky at 8:38 AM on March 24


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posted by fimbulvetr at 8:39 AM on March 24


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I credit this man (and Anthea Bell, the english translator) with half the laughs of my childhood. What a treasure he leaves behind.

I hope we get re-releases with the racism and other issues fixed - thankfully, they are neither frequent nor central to any of the original comics, IIRC.
posted by MiraK at 8:42 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]


I also want to give a shout out to the English translator; Anthea Bell

I just came here to say this. My favorite is the "Raft of the Medusa". Being able to carry puns and other wordplay across languages is quite a skill.
posted by 43rdAnd9th at 8:42 AM on March 24 [7 favorites]


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posted by Loudmax at 8:43 AM on March 24


Par Toutatis!

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posted by DreamerFi at 8:58 AM on March 24 [2 favorites]


Confirmed!! That “curiously named character” is in the volume titles Asterix and the Chariot Race in English.
posted by fimbulvetr at 9:01 AM on March 24 [2 favorites]


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posted by pseudophile at 9:06 AM on March 24


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posted by jabo at 9:06 AM on March 24


Thank you, sir.
posted by Capt. Renault at 9:09 AM on March 24


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posted by Hairy Lobster at 9:11 AM on March 24


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posted by Canageek at 9:18 AM on March 24


I never read them in the original French, but I do know that the English translation was so good that even Goscinny and Uderzo were impressed (I recall, in particular, "Asterix in Britain". The French original gives the name "Zebigbos" to the British chieftan. Cute, but "Mykingdomforanos" is clearly superior. And how could they have missed the name "Cacofonix" for the bard???)
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 9:29 AM on March 24 [4 favorites]


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posted by tychotesla at 9:34 AM on March 24


Semiautomatix, the elder blacksmith, passing his craft on to his son Fulliautomatix. That list of translations!

His work was just rich with greatness, sight gags and wordplay as far as the eye can see.
posted by mhoye at 9:47 AM on March 24 [4 favorites]


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I credit my ability to understand some French to my mom sharing the Asterix comic books with me as a kid.
posted by 4rtemis at 10:06 AM on March 24


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posted by wotsac at 10:13 AM on March 24


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posted by ldthomps at 10:14 AM on March 24


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posted by bryon at 10:24 AM on March 24


The english translation certainly kept my parents amused when they read them along with me.

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posted by asok at 10:33 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]


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But albums 1-24 are the best ones.
posted by Pendragon at 10:37 AM on March 24 [2 favorites]


> I also want to give a shout out to the English translator; Anthea Bell; who was responsible for many of the wonderful names and almost all the English language puns.

There was an anecdote (possibly from one of The Guardian's articles about her or interviews with her) that Goscinny, whose English was good after a couple stints of living in the US, vetted her translations of the first "Asterix" volumes and afterwards left her to her own devices, stating there was no way to improve on them.
posted by ardgedee at 10:41 AM on March 24 [7 favorites]


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posted by mdoar at 10:43 AM on March 24


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posted by doctornemo at 10:45 AM on March 24


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posted by mwhybark at 10:56 AM on March 24


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Didn't have many Asterix books as a kid, but the one I remember best was Asterix and the Roman Agent. It had some lovely touches: the giant Roman oaf Magnumopus, the endlessly devious Tortuous Convolvulous, and the tiny throwaway comment (again, a Bell/Hockridge creation) where Caesar tires of the noisy antics of Senator Stradivarius and murmurs “For Jupiter's sake, get that pleb a seat!” and his aide responds “A plebiscite! Good idea!”.
posted by scruss at 11:10 AM on March 24 [5 favorites]


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posted by ChrisR at 11:27 AM on March 24


When I took French in high school, the teacher had a few of these comics available for students (in French, bien sûr). I still recall the surge of pride and accomplishment I felt the first time I "got" one of the puns in its original language.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:30 AM on March 24 [2 favorites]


So long and thanks for all the crazy Gauls, monsieur.
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posted by The Ardship of Cambry at 11:46 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]


I too learnt my French from Astérix; luckily the school library had a lot of them.

There was something about the combination of Uderzo's faces and Goscinny's writing that made the sound of every character's voice crystal clear in one's head. I can't find on the website whether they worked with a letterer or whether Uderzo did the lettering; but the lettering is a big part of it. I don't know any other comic that beats Astérix for this.
posted by Pallas Athena at 1:29 PM on March 24 [3 favorites]


Pogo comes to mind.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:55 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]


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posted by col_pogo at 2:53 PM on March 24


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posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 3:17 PM on March 24


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posted by drnick at 3:52 PM on March 24


Lots of brilliant visual references in the books. It was only as an adult that I realised that Asterix in Belgium was imitating the 'peasant wedding feast' by Breughel the Elder.
posted by leibniz at 3:54 PM on March 24 [4 favorites]


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posted by Mister Bijou at 5:03 PM on March 24


scruss, that plebiscite line stuck with me too! I still have no idea what a plebiscite is.
posted by basalganglia at 5:46 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]


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posted by oneswellfoop at 6:07 PM on March 24


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posted by JamesD at 6:51 PM on March 24


I got the youngest a copy of the Latin translation of the first book a while back.
Tom Holland obituary in The Guardian, which draws an interesting parallel to Tove Jansen's Moomin books.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 9:06 PM on March 24 [2 favorites]


I was maybe 13 (1982?) - when I did a one month "exchange" to St Germain en Laye, and discovered Subbuteo, Asterix & Obelix, and the european appreciation for The Police and The Clash.... But what I lugged home and am looking at now on my bookshelf are 5 hardbound Asterix books, nearly 40 years old, that I still pull down and enjoy.

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posted by ElGuapo at 9:37 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]


Alas, the sky has fallen on his head, at last.
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posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 9:42 PM on March 24 [2 favorites]


By Toutatis, this is sad news indeed.

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posted by Dimes at 2:52 AM on March 25 [1 favorite]


I found out first thing yesterday, via a tweet like this one, using the image Uderzo drew in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attack. It absolutely wrecked me.

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posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 12:01 PM on March 25 [2 favorites]


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posted by Joeruckus at 3:45 PM on March 25


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posted by porpoise at 4:52 PM on March 25


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