Thursday, March 26, 2020

Asterix Co-creator Albert Uderzo 1927 - 2020

Asterix creators Albert Uderzo, right, and René Goscinny in the 1970s. (Staff/AFP/Getty Images)

Albert Uderzo, the French comic-book artist, who created Asterix with the writer René Goscinny, died at his home in Neuilly-sur-Seine "from a heart attack unrelated to the coronavirus" on March 24th. He was 92. 

From The Guardian:

"Uderzo met Goscinny in 1951, and the pair began creating characters together, including Oumpah-Pah, seen as a precursor to Asterix. In 1959, they were asked to create a magazine called Pilote, which would feature a 'typically French hero.' They agreed to set their story in ancient Gaul, with the first issue published in October featuring The Adventures of Asterix the Gaul. More than 300,000 copies were sold."
 From The Washington Post:

"Mr. Uderzo, who was born colorblind and with six fingers on each hand, became one of the world’s most acclaimed cartoonists, known for drawing characters that ranged from the sword-wielding Asterix — with his winged helmet, bulbous nose and horseshoe mustache — to the roly-poly Obelix, a stonemason who joins Asterix in defending their village from Roman legionaries.

"[...] The series became so popular in France that the country’s first satellite was named Asterix. And when Goscinny died, in 1977, one French obituary likened his passing to the collapse of the Eiffel Tower. Mr. Uderzo, who continued the series on his own, went on to outsell Voltaire, Flaubert, Hugo and every other French author before him, with more than 380 million Asterix books sold in more than 100 languages worldwide, according to his publisher. In terms of raw sales figures, his hero was more popular than Tintin."

From 2013: Mr. Uderzo draws Asterix:

“It’s a puzzle to me why Asterix happened the way it did. René and I had previously created other characters with as much passion and enthusiasm, but only Asterix was a hit. I think it’s perhaps because everyone recognizes himself in the characters. The idea of the weak who defeat the strong appeals. After all, we all have someone stronger lording it over us: the government, the police, the tax collector.”

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