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Astérix and Obélix Celebrate 50 Years

Imagine that you’re a writer or an illustrator. In this case, pretend that your creations lie in the art of bande dessinée (BD) or comic strips. You have sold many books over the years with translations spanning many countries. Your stories, delivered with a unique sense of humour are based on your country’s long history and have educated and inspired generations young and old.

Now imagine that emblematic scenes of your work, including your characters’ famed catch phrases are blown up and strategically chosen and placed around eight Parisian monuments, such as the Eiffel Tower, Opéra Garnier and la Bourse. Add a museum exhibition commemorating the 50th anniversary of your work and ask yourself how it feels.

Being in Paris on October 29 filled me with a sense of pride as if the work had been my own.

Laden with heavy luggage, I emerged from station RER St-Michel trying to get my bearings on boulevard st-germain when I noticed a conglomerate of people staring in awe. On the railings of the garden of the Musée de Cluny, they gathered around posters announcing the 50th anniversary of Astérix and Obélix. France’s indomitable gaulois were 50 years old on the day I had arrived in Paris.

People admired the twelve commemorative panels which featured parodies of modern art alongside the notable characters. Parents explained to children the influence of Astérix and Obelisk over the years.

Even Google France’s homepage embraced the celebrations with a special logo to celebrate the event.

The following day, I joined the queue of visitors who braved the cold and wet weather and lined up to visit Musée de Cluny. Held in the restored frigidarium, the exhibition commemorates the works of writer René Goscinny and illustrator Albert Uderzo and detailed how the idea was born between the two men and how the characters came to fruition.

Astérix and Obélix first appeared in Pilote magazine, in October 1959, and amongst Goscinny’s original typewriter, faded typewritten scripts and the early sketches by Uderzo, I admired the creative process behind the comic book which showcased the original concept all the way to production.

The city of Paris joined in the celebrations. Under the label of Les gaulois envahissent Lutèce!/The Gauls invade Lutetia, eight major locations played homage to the duo by erecting menhirs, catch phrases and scenes from the popular comic. I visited all eight locations on various days and under different weather conditions. Par toutatis! I just had to capture the images and feel the sense of pride that Uderzo must have felt when he saw commemorations of his work all over the city of lights.

As a tribute to the occasion, Uderzo created an album of Astérix short stories focusing on the birthday theme and filled with unpublished drawings. L’Anniversaire d’Astérix et Obélix – Le Livre d’or made it safely home in my suitcase. “Ils sont fous ces romains!” still brings the same grin to my face as the first time I had read the comic.

Joyeux 50ème Anniversaire Astérix et Obélix. May you continue to thrive and inspire generations around the world and live to celebrate your centennaire!

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Photo Gallery of the Paris Monuments Showcasing Astérix et Obélix’s 50th Anniversary

(click on photographs for larger view)

I – Eiffel Tower / Champ de Mars / Place Jacques Rueff

II – Place de la Concorde

III – Place de l’Opéra

IV – Palais Brongniart, Place de la Bourse

 

V – Parvis de l’Hôtel de Ville

VI – Préfecture de Police Rue de Lutèce

VII – Place du Palais Royal


VIII – Eglise St-Germain de Pres, Rue Bonaparte

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About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.

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