Tuesday, 21 January 2014
ASTERIX THE GAUL COVER GALLERY...
It was 1976 - I was 17 years old and working in the warehouse of my local BOOTS The CHEMIST. On my day off one Saturday, having been paid the day before, I treated myself to some ASTERIX The GAUL softcover books, which have been in my possession ever since. I've long meant to upgrade to hardback, but, somehow (aside from an Omnibus or three), have never quite gotten around to it.
I'd decided to purchase them because I remembered looking through a French edition in my school library one lazy, hazy, summer afternoon in 1973 or '74, which already seemed like the dim and distant past to me by the time I came to be a working lad with a bit of spare cash to spend. I recall being much impressed by the artwork, so I suppose it was inevitable that I would eventually buy copies for myself when I spotted them in my local branch of JOHN MENZIES while browsing in their book department one day.
In the mid-'80s, when I was commuting to London every week during my freelancing days at IPC, I was given some file-copies of RANGER magazine (which I still have) by one of the editors, and was surprised to see that it had reprinted Asterix in 1965 under a different title: BRITONS NEVER, NEVER, NEVER SHALL BE SLAVES. The setting was changed from Gaul to Britain and Asterix was renamed BERIC The BOLD, and OBELIX became DORIC, the son of BOADICEA. Their shield-riding leader, CHIEF VITALSTATISTIX, was called CHIEF TUNNABRIX, which I happen to think is actually a far better name.
I was equally surprised to later learn that, just over a year earlier ('63), popular boys comic VALIANT had reprinted the first Asterix adventure under the title of LITTLE FRED - The ANCIENT BRIT With LOADS Of GRIT. It would be 1969 before Asterix landed on these shores speaking English under his own name, and his full-colour books have enjoyed immense popularity ever since. If memory hasn't failed me, I bought nine albums on that afternoon back in 1976, got another one not too long after, and acquired six more over the next three years or so, completing the first 16 in the series.
As you'll all doubtless already know, Asterix the Gaul was created by RENE GOSCINNY and ALBERT UDERZO and first appeared in the French magazine PILOTE in 1959. The art is simply superb and I can think of a few cartoonists working in British comics today who'd be well-served by following Uderzo's example of how it should be done. The English versions were translated by ANTHEA BELL and DEREK HOCKRIDGE, and later, I think, by Derek himself, although I've no idea who currently performs the task.
Here then, in honour of the plucky little Gaul, is a cover gallery of those 16 books in my collection. I've probably got a few other tales in my Omnibus volumes, but one day I really must get around to getting the full set. If you don't have any Asterix books of your own, run out and buy some today!
Posted by Kid at Tuesday, January 21, 2014