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, sum-
mer 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 my-
self 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 to Britain and Asterix was renamed BERIC
The BOLD, and OBELIX became DORIC, the son of BOADICEA.
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 no doubt already know, Asterix the Gaul was created
by RENE GOSCINNY & 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!















  

12 comments:

Irmantas said...

I should try and buy some of those books on eBay. I've always liked Asterix the Gaul - I think we even used to have Lithuanian translations available here some years ago!

TwoHeadedBoy said...

Well I never knew about Asterix's pseudonyms over in these parts! Always loved the little guy though - I think Asterix and the Golden Sickle was the first one I read. It's certainly the oldest on my shelf anyway.

Overall, Asterix In Britain's my favourite (predictably). The "wrong side of the road" bit always gets me.

Kid said...

Which would you prefer, Irmantas - British or Lithuanian editions? Either way, they're 'must-haves' for your collection.

******

THB, apparently, translators Anthea Bell & David Hockridge were responsible for a lot of the word-play that appeals to British readers. A more faithful translation of the original humour may have gone right over our heads.

TwoHeadedBoy said...

Ah, similar to the made-up translations that made The Magic Roundabout so popular over here then?

I've tried reading a lot of French humour, from what I've read they put a lot more emphasis on cruelty. Couldn't imagine Asterix being cruel...

Kid said...

Funnily enough, THB, I had intended to make that very comparison myself, but got distracted and forgot. Yes, exactly like Eric Thomson's Magic Roundabout, which is supposed to be far better than the original French version.

Christopher Sobieniak said...

It was 1976 - I was 17 years old and working in the warehouse
of my local BOOTS THE CHEMIST.


A sentence that will confuse plenty of Americans, but you can forgive us, we only just lately got the Boots brand of products sold at a few places like Target)!

Incidentally, Disney animation legend Ub Iwerks produced this clever bit of animation for the company in the 30's...
http://cartoonresearch.com/index.php/ub-iwerks-see-how-they-won-1935/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_gMC6dAt5U

"I treated myself to some ASTERIX THE GAUL softcover books, which have been in my possession ever since. I've always meant to upgrade to hardback, but, somehow (apart from an Omnibus or three), have never quite gotten around to it."

You guys have it far easier than we did across the pond. I'm lucky if a Barnes & Noble picks up a softcover of the latest Asterix adventure like I found a few times.

"and was surprised to see that it had reprinted Asterix in 1965 under another title: BRITONS NEVER, NEVER, NEVER SHALL BE SLAVES."

Sounds like a slap in the face at this being a French comic being brought across the channel for unsuspecting Brits to read!

"CHIEF VITALSTATISTIX was called CHIEF TUNNABRIX,
which I happen to think is actually a far better name."


It works (they used that name in the English version of the first movie I recall).

"The British versions were translated by ANTHEA BELL and DEREK HOCKRIDGE, and later by Derek himself, although I've no idea who currently performs the task."

The most recent book, now being written and drawn by two new chaps (Asterix & The Picts), uses the services of Anthea Bell I see. Nice to see such talent still with us.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Asterix-Picts-Jean-Yves-Ferri/dp/1444011677

If you don't have any Asterix books of your own, run out and buy some today!

Already got a good collection of hard and softcovers myself, but mostly have a lot of softcover editions published by Darguad Canada (these edtions state they were also distributed in the US as well, the US also had editions was distributed by a oddly named Distribooks that had some adventures with newer translations by someone else I care not to remember).

A more interesting piece of collecting glory I have is the first three US editions of Asterix The Gaul, Asterix vs. Cleopatra and Asterix the Legionary. These were published by William Morrow and Company, Inc. of New York in 1970 (printed in Great Britian), and sold at the price of US$2.95. It was very short-lived and no more books were published after that point.
http://i.imgur.com/RXml6mE.jpg

"THB, apparently, translators Anthea Bell & David Hockridge were responsible for a lot of the word-play that appeals to British readers. A more faithful translation of the original humour may have gone right over our heads."

Wouldn't surprise me. Just like what we see in Japanese anime when the hard-core fans get uppity over the "Americanization" that happens over here.

"Funnily enough, THB, I had intended to make that very comparison myself, but got distracted and forgot. Yes, exactly like Eric Thomson's Magic Roundabout, which is supposed to be far better than the original French version."

Don't suppose we Americans have an equivalent to that, though I suppose I could nominate "Samurai Pizza Cats" in that category since they didn't care to translate those episodes anyway and just made it up as it went along.

Gey Blabby said...

All very interesting that about reprints under different names - me and my pals only ever knew him as Asterix. They were lucky, I suppose, to get translators who understood what would appeal to young British readers - they were like a combination of British comics and the Carry On films, like Cleo and Up The Khyber.

The Magic Roundabout comparison came to mind for me as well. It was part of the daily routine to watch it before the news came on. It's hard to imagine those characters as anything other than what they were in Eric Thompson's version.

Didn't children's telly do something similar with Flashing Blade, where they removed the original French dialogue and replaced it with
general British silliness?

Kid said...

Chris, you've made me wonder if the first cartoon film was where I heard the name Tunnabrix, but I'm sure(ish) that Ranger used it as well. As usual, Im far too lazy to dig through boxes to find out.

******

GB, I caught Flashing Blade a few times in the early '70s, but I can't remember too much about it apart from the theme tune. I'd imagine you're spot on 'though.

Christopher Sobieniak said...

Chris, you've made me wonder if the first cartoon film was where I heard the name Tunnabrix, but I'm sure(ish) that Ranger used it as well. As usual, Im far too lazy to dig through boxes to find out.

Well that movie came out in 1967, not sure when it when it was dubbed into English but I suppose sometime shortly later, so the film post-dates Ranger's publication by a couple years. The movie's English version does however retain Asterix and Obeliex's namesakes and even Getafix's original French name Panoramix. The bard Cacofonix is given the name "Stopdemusix" I think.

Kid said...

I must be remembering the name 'Tunnabrix' from Ranger then, Chris. See just how easily I get confused? Maybe I should eat more fish.

Red shadow said...

A bit of synchronicity here, having read your post on Tuesday,I popped into the local second hand shop on a whim after work on wednesday and found to my complete surprise five hardback asterix books from the early 70's.
Slightly battered ex library stock but perfectly readable at a bargain two pounds each.
Also the same shop had 40 issues of Champ comic from the eighties for eight pounds the lot.
Very strange since prior to your post I had never considered purchasing any asterix books and was thinking I must get round to buying a few.
Sorry for the long first post by the way.

Kid said...

No apologies necessary, Red. The longer the better, as they usually make for interesting reading. So tell me, what evil DOES lurk in the hearts of men? (Whaddya mean, ya don't know?)

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