37th mission for Asterix

Asterix, the indomitable pint-sized Gaul forever outfoxing the Romans, returns for his 37th comic adventure on Thursday, this time battling his way across Italy in a chariot race.

By Reuters
  • Published 20.10.17
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Author Jean-Yves Ferri (left) and illustrator Didier Conrad pose with a copy of Asterix et la Transitalique (Asterix and the Chariot Race) in Paris. (Reuters)

Paris: Asterix, the indomitable pint-sized Gaul forever outfoxing the Romans, returns for his 37th comic adventure on Thursday, this time battling his way across Italy in a chariot race.

The moustachioed hero, who has been entertaining readers with his magic-potion exploits alongside Obelix since 1959, has become a mainstay in the publishing industry, with more than 370 million albums sold worldwide. As well as being translated into more than 100 languages, the books have inspired a dozen movies and cartoon series, making it a global phenomenon.

The latest edition, Asterix et la Transitalique (Asterix and the Chariot Race), is set in ancient Italy. Rather than a showdown with Julius Caesar, it involves the resolute Gauls meeting a tribe called the Italics who are also fighting to remain independent from Rome.

The original books, written by Rene Goscinny and illustrated by Albert Uderzo, built up a mass following in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, with many childhood readers from those days still snapping up the titles decades on.

After Goscinny's death in 1977, Uderzo wrote and illustrated the series until he retired in 2009. The last three editions have been written by Jean-Yves Ferri and drawn by Didier Conrad.