Comic book hero Asterix, the indomitable Gaul who with his friend Obelix, has been keeping the Romans at bay, turns 50 this week and the creators have something for millions of their readers throughout the world - a special issue containing many of their exploits including in India.
Created by Rene Goscinny and illustrated by Albert Uderzo, Asterix le Gaulois, as he is known in France, first appeared in the 'Pilote' magazine on October 29, 1959. After Goscinny's death, Uderzo has been writing as well as illustrating the stories of Asterix and Obelix, whose favourite pastime is wild boar hunting.
Asterix series is one of the most popular Franco-Belgian comics in the world and has been translated into 107 languages. The stories, which are exploits of a village of ancient Gauls as they resist Roman occupation, have been adapted for 11 films, three of them being non-cartoon. The Gauls are aided by a magic potion prepared by their druid Getafix which gives them superhuman strength.
In the 28th volume of the comics named 'Asterix and the Magic Carpet', the two Gauls with their dog and village bard Cacofonix visit India and save princess Orinjade, daughter of Rajah Wotzit, from being sacrificed on the altar.
To celebrate the occasion, Uderzo created drawings to illustrate a hitherto unpublished text written by Goscinny and came out with a 56-page comic book "Asterix and Obelix's Birthday - The Golden Book" on October 22.
According to the publishers, Uderzo's exceptional gift is a homage to his Gaul heroes and to the millions of their readers throughout the world. The new book contains brand-new, never-before-published cartoons and includes parodies of famous masterpieces that seem to indicate that the indomitable Gauls have influenced the greatest masters of the art world.
The series of short stories details the adventures of the many characters from the Asterix universe as they secretly prepare a special, unforgettable birthday party.
Meanwhile, not suspecting a thing, Asterix and Obelix have gone into the forest to hunt for wild boar. Each guest brings gifts for Asterix and Obelix. Those who live too far away sends birthday wishes which are delivered by the postman Postaldistrix.