The Adventures Of Asterix

Surrendering To Julius Caesar

"Ouch!" yells Julius Caesar in sheer pain as the rebel Chief Vercingetroix throws down his arms at Caesar's feet, confirming his surrender.

JC yells in pain, not being able to bear the impact of Vercingetroix's personal collection of designer bows and arrows, swords, spears, and even a shield.

This is another triumph in Caesar's many campaigns. But, a very painful one indeed. Had only Vercingetroix chosen to simply lay down his arms like those before and after him, who had surrendered to the enemy, then Caesar would have been spared the inconvenience of having to hop back to his tent grimacing in pain.

No! This not a history flash back, but, as you would have rightly guessed, we are in the wonderful world of cartoons! History, is conveniently "re-sized" to accommodate humor, describing both major and insignificant events of a bygone era.

You are transported to ancient Rome and treated to a high dose of humor which will unwind as the stories of these warriors unfold. No, you cannot escape from the erudite wit of Uderzo and Goscinny!


Asterix The Gaul

"Asterix the Gaul" is the result of the sheer brilliance of two Frenchmen, Albert Uderzo and Rene Goscinny.

A group of cartoon characters born out of the imagination of Uderzo and Goscinny with Europe as the location.

The year is 50 BC, and the name of the location is Gaul. How come? Well all Europe came under the all-conquering Julius Caesar.

Vercingetroix was the last of the rebels who held out against the might of Julius Caesar.

His surrender meant that all Gaul was now under Roman Rule.

The Village Of Lunatics

All? ... Well not quite! There is a relatively small group of madmen occupying a village, a small village, and they hold out against the might of the Roman army.

They do it all by themselves. Their secret lies in a magic portion which gives them superhuman strength.

The secret formula, handed over by word of mouth over the centuries now transits in the mind of an old druid, the most important man in this village.


Asterix And Friends

Apart from knowledge of this secret formula, Getafix, the old druid of this the village is shrewd, has a merciless sense of humor, is fair dealing, and brave.

These very traits are also found in the hero of this story, Asterix the Gaul.

Asterix has a friend called Obelix. These two have been friends since childhood and they never part. Obelix, the overgrown warrior has a voracious appetite.

This requires frequent hunting. The two hunt for wild boars which are available in abundance in the surrounding forests.

These boars do not belong to anybody, and are public property. Even if they belonged to the Roman State, who cares?

Hunters will continue to hunt! The hungry shall continue to be fed.

Obelix does not need any magic potion to gain super human strength. He is said to have fallen into a cauldron containing the potion when he was a baby.

This results in Obelix having permanent super human strength.

However, on certain occasions, the Druid sees it fit to give him a few drops when the situation demands that his existing strength be enhanced.

One such instance is, when they are trapped inside a pyramid in Egypt, and have no choice but to smash their way out.

The village has no official name. The Romans refer to it as "that village full of mad men." They are independent and do not come under Roman rule.

Julius Caesar has just one more conquest to make, that of this village full of crazy dudes.

This is the only victory that has been evading Julius Caesar.

Many volumes in the series have been written by Uderzo and Goscinny devoted to attempts made by JC to capture this village.

All of them ending in disaster for the mighty Roman army and total humiliation for the Roman soldiers!


The Villagers

This village has a chief, an old warrior, respected by all, and known to all, all over Gaul by the name of Vitalstatistix.

Foresight being a required quality in all leaders, chief Vitalstatistix's demonstration of his foresight to his fellow citizens need not be stressed.

He travels about standing on his shield which is carried by two of his most trustworthy men. This raises him to a higher level and gives him greater coverage where vision is concerned!

Fulliautomatix, the blacksmith of the village always carries his hammer around. That's his favorite weapon too. The hammer does more than straighten up a warped sword. He quarrels mostly with Unhygienix the village fishmonger.



The Hammer

The hammer always comes in handy. It truly supports him in every argument he enters.

One of the many uses of his hammer is to still the voice of the fabulous bard of the village.

A gentle knock on the head pushes the bard into the ground deep enough to reach his mouth and cover it fully, lest any sound escapes from it.

The fishmonger of this village is always calling out to the villagers, drawing their attention to his "fresh fish."

When a crowd gathers, he often gets into a discussion group that talks about the period of time that has elapsed from the time his fish were swimming in the sea and the present moment.

Opinions are never the same. To equalize, each member of the discussion group grabs a fish to bash one another. The bashing goes on and on until their weapons are exhausted.

When "fresh" stocks arrive from Lutetia, a new discussion commences.

A very prominent denizen of this village is Cacofonix the Bard. He is the musical genius of the village. He plays the harp, and composes music.

He also sings. Many say he doesn't!

The ladies of the village also need a very special mention! For ... without them it would be a boring village indeed.

Here are two of the most prominent ladies ... the first of them is the first lady of the village, Impedimenta. She is the wife of the village chief.

Next comes Bacteria the wife of the village fishmonger. These two alone pack a pretty good punch!

The adventures of Asterix and Obelix take them to all parts of the world, exposing them to all the cultures, habits, wisdom, and stupidity of the natives.


Asterix the Gaul

Assuming You Are Already Familiar With Asterix And Friends, Would You Let Us Know Your Thoughts?

  • I have read the English version, and I think the authors are brilliant
  • The French version is far superior, since all the humor is
  • The humor in the English version is actually the translators talent in focus
See results without voting

The Brilliance Of The Authors

These Asterix and Obelix comics are targeted at a wide range of readers and in many instances deciphering the humor requires some extra knowledge and intelligence on the part of the reader.

In the dozens of books which make up the adventure series, surely you will come across many a character very much similar to someone you actually know in real life.

You will find the complete traits of someone who is well acquainted with you. At first the character will seem totally familiar. So familiar that you will tend not to pay any special attention.

Then you begin to realize that you are introduced to him for the very first time. Then you match the traits with a real time acquaintance. You then go on to exclaim "hey this one is very much like so-and-so!" ... You see, It's real fun!

The authors Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo, with matchless skills, have successfully portrayed the different types of humans on this planet.

This clearly shows their sharp and superior power of observation. The manner in which they have done so is so subtle, elegant and sometimes really straightforward, but always truly loud!

... concluded

Source

Comments 26 comments

Benson Yeung profile image

Benson Yeung 7 years ago from Hong Kong

great hub.

thumbs up.


quicksand profile image

quicksand 7 years ago Author

Thanks Benson!


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

Thanks for this one - I've been an Asterix fan for years. My favourite is Asterix in Britain, where the Romans can't finish conquering the Britons because they stop fighting every few hours to drink 'hot water'.


quicksand profile image

quicksand 7 years ago Author

Well, they have their hot water with "a spot of milk" right? :)


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

But of course, added first!


quicksand profile image

quicksand 7 years ago Author

Most amusing is how the authors create names - there is a character by the name of "Ptenisnet!" Do you remember how they "spelt" that name using hierglyphics? LOL!!!


cgull8m profile image

cgull8m 7 years ago from North Carolina

It was my favorite comics growing up, I wish they will take a good Hollywood movie about it like they are doing Tintin now.


quicksand profile image

quicksand 7 years ago Author

cgull8m, thanks for your remark. However I think comic books of any character are far superior to any movie of the character. I am unable to explain why.


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

Some of my favourite comic books too!

I think their popularity owes a lot to Anthea Bell and Derek Hockridge. The French versions are brilliant _ the English ones are AS GOOD - which is something that can't usually be said of most translations. I agree - a movie doesn't usually compare - could it be because it can never quite match the flight of our imagination?


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

Shalini - you are right. The French versions are full of French jokes, but the English versions have new jokes, not translations of the French, an dthey are just as good.

E.g. - Asterix, Obelix & Getafix are about to be ferried by a Briton across the Channel to Gaul (to pick up some magic potion ingredients, I think). The conversation goes -

It's a little jollyboat

It's a jolly little boat

It is smaller than the garden of my uncle, but bigger than the pen of my aunt.

A whole generation of British schoolkids would completely understand that.


quicksand profile image

quicksand 7 years ago Author

Yes of course Shalini K, I forgot to pay tribute to the translators. I have had a look at some of the French versions too, and I believe it requires sheer talent to "translate" a humorous incident. Thanks for your remarks.

Paraglider: Thanks for your comments too. :)


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

I love obelix and always wondered what practical purpose the menhirs served. Great hub. I wish to see some movies made on asterix it would be great.


quicksand profile image

quicksand 7 years ago Author

Countrywomen, I also wonder what menhirs are used for. Who cares? As long as they are in demand, supply them! Obelix churns out many of them each day.

As for movies, they don't do justice to the ideas that the authors want to convey. So head for the nearest bookstore and buy yourself the entire series, and have fun!


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

I do have a couple of them and also borrow them from the local library. Ok then I better go to bed otherwise as the chief vitalstatistix says "that the sky may fall on his(my) head tomorrow" LOL


quicksand profile image

quicksand 7 years ago Author

Borrow a shield from the local library and hold it above your head. Then the sky will fall on the shield and not on your head. LMHO!


cgull8m profile image

cgull8m 7 years ago from North Carolina

LOL at countrywomen, that is my favorite quote, whenever I worry a lot :)


quicksand profile image

quicksand 7 years ago Author

LOL here too! Thanks for your comment cgull8m.:)


Chef Jeff profile image

Chef Jeff 7 years ago from Universe, Milky Way, Outer Arm, Sol, Earth, Western Hemisphere, North America, Illinois, Chicago.

I am a long time Asterix fan - I used to read the books when I lived in Spain, and was pleased to find they have been translated into other languages! Now I read them also in French and German, and at times in English.

Great hub!

Cheers!

Chef Jeff


quicksand profile image

quicksand 7 years ago Author

Hi Chef Jeff! Thanks for your visit and your comments. I guess when you read it in French you get better access to the overtones in the brilliant humor woven into these tales. How fortunate you are! :)


guidebaba profile image

guidebaba 7 years ago from India

Excellent Hub Quicksand.


quicksand profile image

quicksand 7 years ago Author

Thanks, Guidebaba.


Lgali profile image

Lgali 7 years ago

Excellent Hub


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 7 years ago from Melbourne Australia

Ah the dreaded Gauls. As you stated this is an educational and hilarious comic. I can't single out one as better than the other. Every word and picture in the whole series is superb!


quicksand profile image

quicksand 7 years ago Author

You are right, Earnest. We do learn a lot from the series. People who get acquainted with Asterix & Co naturally develop an interest in the history of that age associated with the location referred to, in that particular book.

Conversely, those who are already familiar with the history of the Roman empire simply find these illustrated tales delightful. My hats off to Goscinny and Uderzo, and not forgetting the translators too.

Thanks a lot for your opinion.

Cheers!


Zacky 5 years ago

well i'm only 12 and the comics are well done


quicksand profile image

quicksand 5 years ago Author

Thank you for commenting, Zacky.

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