French comic-book artist Albert Uderzo, the creator of hugely popular character Asterix (with writer Rene Goscinny) has passed away at the age of 92. According to his family, “Uderzo died in his sleep at his home in Neuilly from a heart attack unrelated to the coronavirus. He had been very tired for several weeks.”
Asterix is considered one of the most beloved characters in French popular culture and around the world. It has sold over 370 comic-book albums and been featured in 11 features and even a theme park near Paris. The stories centre on a clever Gaulois warrior who fights the Roman legionnaires along with his best friend Obelix and a dog named Dogmatix around 50 B.C. Obelix fell into a cauldron of magic potion as a child, which made him invincible. Asterix and his pals travel the world, from Britain and Spain to Switzerland and Spain, relying on their wits and occasional magic to defeat the crafty Romans.
Uderzo, the son of Italian immigrants, met Goscinny in 1951, and the pair began creating characters together. In 1959, they created a magazine called Pilote, which would feature a French hero. They set their story in ancient Gaul, with the first issue published in October featuring The Adventures of Asterix the Gaul. More than 300,000 copies were sold.
Throughout the years, Asterix has been featured in ten animated and live-action features: Asterix the Gaul (1967), Asterix and Cleopatra (1968), The Twelve Tasks of Asterix (1976), Asterix vs. Caesar (1985), Asterix in Britain (1985), Asterix and the Big Fight (1989), Asterix Conquers America (1994), Asterix and the Vikings (2006), Asterix: The Mansions of the Gods (2014) and Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion (2018).