Fans wait to getafix of Asterix

Fans of a certain diminutive Gallic warrior and his corpulent sidekick are counting down to Thursday morning, when a glimpse of the latest Asterix and Obelix album will be permitted amid a public relations blitz in the Belgian capital Brussels.

Albert Uderzo, the 78 year-old illustrator who launched the comic-strip character in 1959 with author Rene Goscinny, is scheduled to appear at a press conference to reveal the title of the new book—the 33rd in the series and the first in four years.

However interest in further detail is likely to remain unsatisfied until the album goes on sale in 27 countries and several languages on October 14.

Brussels—a city renowned as Europe’s comic-book capital—has laid on several days of festivities to celebrate the moustachioed hero, with its famous Grand Place transformed into a Gallic village and the statue known as the Manneken Pis decked out in Obelix’s blue-and-white striped pantaloons.

A series of stamps is to be unveiled, and two passenger airliners will be officially dubbed Asterix and Obelix.

Uderzo and Goscinny, who died in 1977, met in Brussels in the 1950s and introduced Asterix in a comic-paper called Pilote. Their first album—Asterix the Gaul—came out in 1961.

Today his Roman-bashing antics have been translated into 107 languages, with more than 300 million books sold. The last book—Asterix and Latraviata—sold ten million copies around the world.

The Asterix stories have also been turned into two successful films starring Gerard Depardieu and Christian Clavier, and an Asterix theme park was opened in 1989 north of Paris.
- Sapa-AFP

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