Remember Asterix and Obelix? The French comics? Well, they were first introduced to the public in the Franco-Belgian comic magazine “Pilote” on the 29th of October 1959. The story was written by René Goscinny and illustrated by Albert Uderzo.
Asterix and Obelix are living in a village of invincible Gauls who can not be conquered by the Romans due to their superhuman strength. Their strength depends on a magic potion made by special herbs and the only one who knows the recipe is Getafix, the village druid.
Asterix has the main role in the story and is accompanied by his best friend, Obelix. If you were wondering why the names of all these Gauls end with – ix, is because the suffix suggests the royal ancestry of the person, or even more precise, that the person is a king.
So, behind the story we know and love are the creators – René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo. Goscinny was born in 1926 in Paris to a Polish Jews. When he was only two years old, his family moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina, because of his father’s job. The family had a good life there, and René went to a French school where he was famous as the “class clown” because he was always entertaining his classmates. He started drawing very early on, inspired by the illustrated stories which he enjoyed reading.
In 1945, René moved to New York, but to avoid the military service there, he went back to France to serve in the French Army. In 1946, he illustrated the book The Girl with The Eyes of Gold and then he returned to New York. In 1948, he became the art director at Kunen Publishers and wrote four children books. In the early 1950’s he met Joseph Gillain, the author of the series “Lucky Luke”, and they began collaborating on it with Goscinny writing the stories of “Lucky Luke” until his death.
Goscinny was convinced by the chief of the World Press agency, Georges Troisfontaines, to move to Paris and work as the head of the office in Paris. Around this time he met Albert Uderzo, with whom he created the “Asterix” comics.
Uderzo was an Italian whose family migrated to France. He had the opportunity to spend a year in Brittany and work on a farm. He felt in love with the landscape and the people there, and the scenery was an inspiration for him to create “Asterix”. He had a great collaboration with Goscinny, and their work blossomed until René’s death.
While at a routine stress test at his doctor’s office, Goscinny died of cardiac arrest. He was 51, and was buried in the Jewish Cemetery of Nice. Uderzo then took over the writing until 2009, when he sold the rights to publishing company Hachette.