Asterix co-creator and illustrator Albert Uderzo dies at 92
Albert Uderzo, the playful French illustrator behind the comic book hero Asterix the Gaul whose adventures fighting the Roman legions have enthralled readers of all ages around the world, died aged 92.
“Albert Uderzo died in his sleep at his home in Neuilly, after a heart attack that was not linked to the coronavirus. He had been extremely tired for the past several weeks,” his son-in-law Bernard de Choisy said.
Uderzo created Asterix in 1959 with fellow Frenchman and writer Rene Goscinny, bringing them to life in the French-Belgian comics magazine Pilote. Two years later, the first stand-alone effort, Astérix the Gaul, was released.
Since then, the series extended into 38 books, most recently Asterix and the Chieftain’s Daughter from last year, that have sold 380 million copies worldwide and been translated into some 110 languages and dialects, including Latin and Ancient Greek.
Nearly 1.6 million copies of The Chieftain’s Daughter were sold last year in France alone, putting it at the top of best-seller lists.
Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo collaborated on the comic until the death of Goscinny in 1977. Uderzo then took over the writing and stopped illustrating the series in 2011. But their style and dialogue are faithfully imitated by the new writing team.
Since Uderzo's retirement, the work on Astérix has been handled by writer Jean-Yves Ferri and artist Didier Conrad under a deal that allows Lagardère-owned publisher Hachette to continue producing the series. The most recent book, Astérix and the Chieftain's Daughter, was released in October 2019.
Parc Astérix, a French theme park based on the property, has brought in 50 million visitors since opening outside Paris in 1989.
Prorom release three Asterix movies: Astérix and Obélix: God Save Britannia (2012), Asterix and Obelix: Mansion of the Gods (2014) and Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion (2018).