Asterix Comes to America!

Papercutz Brings Asterix to America

What Mickey Mouse is to Americans, Asterix is to the French. The news of Papercutz Publishing bringing out new English translations of every volume of Asterix has been stirring excitement since late last year. The wait is just about over. On May 19, 2020, Papercutz launchs the new Asterix editions with two omnibus volumes of three stories each, starting at the beginning of the series, plus a stand-alone edition of the newest book, #38: THE CHIEFTAIN’S DAUGHTER, which was released internationally in October 2019 and promptly sold 5 million copies worldwide. And, by the way, Asterix is not only in good company with Mickey Mouse. Also making the case for Asterix in America is the massive success of Jeff Smith’s Bone series, another quirky comics series that is an all-ages favorite.

Papercutz Brings Asterix to America

Since Asterix first appeared as a French comic in 1959, the ancient Gaul warrior has been featured in 38 books which have sold close to 380 million copies worldwide. It’s the best-selling comic of all time. The series, written by René Goscinny and illustrated by Albert Uderzo, has been translated into 111 languages and dialects, adapted into ten animated and four (soon-to-be five) live-action films, and even inspired a full theme park outside of Paris. While the international phenomenon has yet to take hold on this side of the Atlantic, the future looks bright for Asterix at Papercutz.

Asterix Comes to America

Fun facts and the whole story about Asterix follows:

1959: First appearance, October 29, in the magazine Pilote
1961: Publication of the first Asterix album, Asterix the Gaul
6,000: Copies for the initial printing of the first album
38: Number of albums published through October 24, 2019
111: Number of languages/dialects translated into (including Latin!)
380 million: Number of albums sold worldwide since 1959
50 million: Number of visitors at Astérix Parc for 30 years
⭐5 million: the record-breaking number of copies sold to date of the
most recent album, THE CHIEFTAIN’S DAUGHTER⭐

“It’s the year 50 BC. All of Gaul is occupied by the Romans…Well, not all of it. A village inhabited by resolute Gauls resists the invaders again and again, and that doesn’t make life easy for the garrisons of Roman soldiers in the fortified camps of Babaorum, Aquarium, Laudanum, and Lilchum…”

The village’s hero: Asterix, a warrior as ingenious as he is small. With the help of his super-strong friend Obelix, the druid Panoramix, and a magic potion which provides superhuman strength, Asterix constantly thwarts the schemes of Julius Caesar and resists Roman invaders, coming to the aid of those victimized by history’s most famous Roman. Set in ancient France, it’s a classic David and Goliath story, the underdog triumphing over the behemoth. Asterix offers a humorous and subversive look at social customs and stereotypes, dismantling cliches and highlighting the heroism and absurdity in us all.

Papercutz is dedicated to publishing great graphic novels for all ages. Popular with reluctant readers and gifted readers alike, Papercutz graphic novels for kids, tweens, and teens include a wide range of genres, including humor, action-adventure, mystery, horror, and favorite characters. We work every day to introduce young readers to the imaginative wonders waiting to be discovered in comics.
– All new translations for the US market, with a focus on making the French puns work for a US audience, and making the Ancient European and Latin references more understandable to US readers.
– Papercutz tapped veteran comics translator Joe Johnson for the project. He worked directly from the original French.
– Papercutz will release four revised omnibus volumes, with three albums each, every year until the entire series is complete.
– The Omnibus Volumes 1 and 2 will be released in full-color hardcover ($22.99) and full-color paperback ($14.99). THE CHIEFTAIN’S DAUGHTER will be released in full-color hardcover ($9.99).
–  A new slightly, smaller format for the North American market: 7.5” x 9.5”.
René Goscinny, writer
René Goscinny was born in Paris in 1926 and spent his childhood in Argentina. As a young man, he worked in New York City with Harvey Kurtzman, Will Elder, Charlie Stern, and John Severin, some of the founders of Mad Magazine. In 1959, he founded the magazine Pilote, which was the original home of the most successful comic series of all time: Asterix. In the 1960s, Pilote pivoted to an older audience and became a launching pad for many new and innovative authors. He died suddenly in 1977 at the age of 51.
Albert Uderzo, illustrator
Albert Uderzo, the son of Italian immigrants, was born in France in 1927. Like many young children, his early inspiration came through a love of Walt Disney and American comics. In 1959, working with his friend René Goscinny, Uderzo became artistic director of Pilote magazine. Their creation, Asterix, was an immediate success. After Goscinny’s death in 1977, Uderzo continued to write and illustrate the books on his own. He retired from drawing in 2011 but still oversees Asterix and the current publications.
Didier Conrad, current illustrator
Didier Conrad worked for the French comics magazine Spirou for a number of years before being handpicked by Albert Uderzo and Anne Goscinny (René’s daughter), to do the art on Asterix. Together with writer Jean-Yves Ferri, the duo’s first volume—Asterix and the Picts, the 35th in the series—came out in 2013.Jean-Yves Ferri, current writer
Jean-Yves Ferri was handpicked by Albert Uderzo and Anne Goscinny to write subsequent volumes of the Asterix franchise with artist Didier Conrad. Their first volume of Asterix, the 35th in the series, came out in 2013.
Joe Johnson, translator
Joe Johnson, a native of north-central Florida, is Professor of French and Spanish at Clayton State University in Atlanta. He is the author of one monograph, the editor of four books, and a long-time translator for Papercutz. Since 1997, he has published more than 200 translations with American, British, and French presses. Clearly, he could use some of Panoramix’s magic potion!

Terry Nantier, publisher of Papercutz, on why he’s thrilled to publish Asterix in the United States: “I grew up reading Asterix, among many other great European comics, and it grew with me. As I got older, I started to appreciate the less-obvious humor: the satire of our ways; the cameo appearances of famous people, beautifully caricatured by Uderzo; the spoof of the ways of different countries Asterix and Obelix would visit. [Rene] Goscinny once described the evolution of Asterix’s appeal in a telling way: at signings, first it was the kids claiming autographs, then it became parents asking for their children, then the adults asking for themselves. Asterix became a beacon showing comics could be so much more than people had believed. Oh, the revolution that followed… After 60 years, the little Gaul Asterix is an ongoing mighty hit in most countries and languages and thus has proven himself to cross borders very successfully. We say watch out America, Asterix’s magic potion is coming for you next!”

Albert Uderzo, Co-creator and Illustrator, on Asterix coming to America: “As a child, I was a passionate reader of comics — Milton Caniff’s Terry and the Pirates, Alex Ramond’s Flash Gordon, and the wonderful Mickey Mouse pages drawn by Floyd Gottfredson. These artists motivated me to create something of my own. It is therefore with great pleasure and pride that I present these new American editions of the Asterix adventures, originally created with my late friend Rene Goscinny. I hope our little Gauls continue to inspire budding cartoonists and writers, and keep making readers laugh!”


Filed under Asterix, Comics, Comics News

6 responses to “Asterix Comes to America!

  1. Asterix is very popular in Canada, especially in Quebec! Hope Americans will enjoy it as much as French people do:)

  2. I ….grew up with Asterix and Obelix :)) I love them!

  3. A very good thing. I remember hiring Astérix books from the library as a boy growing up in the UK. Now I live in France, and yes… he is everywhere here 🙂

    • It’s all relative regarding how popular Asterix may become in the States. Among discerning comics readers, I think it will be very welcome. While Asterix has already been translated into English before, it has not undergone a new English translation with the uniquely American point of view in mind and that is where this latest version comes in. It’s interesting to point out that translations are not enough since you have to also be careful to make various other modifications to fit that particular culture if you want the work to resonate with readers. It also wouldn’t hurt to have a massive marketing campaign. Maybe Mike Bloomberg could spare a few bucks.

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