Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A new era for Asterix

I received the long-awaited new Asterix book this morning, the release of this album is an important event in the history of European comics. This new Asterix adventure is the first which the original creators of the indomitable Gaul (Goscinny and Uderzo) did not have a hand in (though Uderzo did help draw the cover i think).

The Asterix saga is at a major turning point therefore. The creators were either too old to continue or had already passed away, the only way the franchise could continue was with new blood at the helm. You can imagine the team of Ferri and Conrad, who created this story, felt a huge amount of pressure when they were putting Asterix and the Picts together...

NuAsterix (a term i invented, feel free to borrow) could well live or die on how good this story is. If it was bad then there might not be much chance to keep the characters going much longer. Luckily Asterix and the Picts is actually pretty good.

I wouldn't say its the best Asterix book but it is definitely the best for some time, and certainly better than most of the ones Uderzo wrote and drew on his own after the passing of Goscinny. Not that i am as down on Uderzo's version of Asterix as some are, the books are still OK but lacking the subtlety and warmth of the older books.

Asterix and the Picts takes a bit of a middle ground, it still has some of the more slap stick graphically heavy humour of Uderzo's Asterix but more of the word play and puns of the original version. The story gets off to a bit of a clumsy start but then starts to find its feet and includes a few genuine laugh out loud jokes. In truth the book is a bit safe and maybe lacks a clear identity but you can understand that because of what is riding on it. I suspect NuAsterix is now safe for awhile at least and hopefully subsequent books will begin to establish more of the new identity of this third wave of Asterix. By Belanos what a relief!

Now the big question is, can the success of a NuAsterix one day spawn a NuTintin too?

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