Monday, March 28, 2016

Asterix the Legionary by Rene Gosciney and Albert Underzo

Asterix was France's answer to Belgium's Tintin. However, besides a comic book format and an indomitable male main character, there are very few similarities. Asterix is outrageous and nonsensical; Tintin is studious and earnest. Asterix is set in BC, Tintin is mid century modern. Asterix has a magic potion, Tintin relies soley on his wiley wits and his cat like reflexes. 

The main similarity between the two is the sheer level of funness (It should be a word) to be had. I thoroughly enjoy both. Tintin goes back a little further into my childhood though, since we were only introduced to Asterix when my future brother-in-law came into the picture and told us of the fun to be had. But we quickly made up for lost time. 

All Asterix books begin with a fairly identical front page like this. highlighting the one small holdout against Caesar's occupation of Gaul--Asterix's village.

The main characters--Asterix, Obelix--his super strong sidekick, the druid Getafix, Cacofonix, the village bard, and Vitalstatistix, the chief of the village. 

All the names in these comics are puns. 

We love puns. 

In this particular comic, Obelix falls in love... 

There are a lot of wild boar eaten in every comic. 

Menhirs are always in season with Obelix, who makes and delivers them. 

There are always Roman patrols. Mostly Roman patrols who have heard of Asterix and Obelix and are deathly afraid of them. 

And the Roman patrols, after being biffed and bonked, always say "These Gauls are crazy." 

Obelix in love

The plot line in this one is Obelix and Asterix head off to find Panacea's true love, who was captured or drafted into the Roman army. 

They don't get very far with their inquiries, so they decide to join the Roman army to find him. 

This pirate ship is destroyed a least once a comic book. Sometimes, a few more times just for fun. 

Puns are abundant! 

Asterix taking the magic potion. Obelix doesn't need to take any because he fell into the cauldron when he was a baby. Obelix always wants to take magic potion, but they never let him. He generally pouts a bit bout that. 

At least one Roman camp is broken up by Asterix and Obelix per comic book. 

Roman stupidity is always a crowd favorite!

And then, the triumphant return

A feast is held in Asterix's honor almost every time. Cacofonix the bard generally tries to play a song and someone ties him up and puts him where he can't distress anyone with his music. 

Although they are formulaic, the very predictability of Asterix is part of the appeal. There is something to be said for sitting down and knowing exactly what you are getting into when you open a book. 

The joy really is in the details with Asterix. 

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