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Asterix the Gaul (1961)

by René Goscinny, Albert Uderzo (Illustrator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Asterix (1)

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2,133345,675 (3.93)103
When Roman Centurion Crismus Bonus finds out about Getafix's magic potion, he kidnaps the druid to force him to reveal the recipe. So Asterix joins his friend in captivity and together the two plan to whip up a surprise with truly hair-raising effects.
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» See also 103 mentions

English (25)  French (4)  Danish (2)  Dutch (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (34)
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This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Asterix the Gaul
Series: Asterix #1
Authors: Goscinny & Uderzo
Translators: Bell & Hockridge
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 53
Words: 3K

Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org

All of the Gaul area is under Roman control, except for one small village in Armorica (present-day Brittany), whose inhabitants are made invincible by a magic potion created periodically by the Druid Getafix. To discover the secret of the Gauls' strength, Centurion Crismus Bonus, commander of a Roman garrison at the fortified camp of Compendium, sends a spy disguised as a Gaul to the village. The Roman's identity is revealed when he loses his false moustache, shortly after he discovers the existence of the magic potion; whereupon he reports his discovery to the Centurion.

Crismus Bonus, hoping to overthrow Julius Caesar, orders Getafix captured and interrogated for the recipe; but to no avail. Protagonist Asterix learns of Getafix's capture from a cart-seller; infiltrates the Roman camp in the latter's cart; and hears Crismus Bonus revealing his intended rebellion to Marcus Ginandtonicus, his second-in-command. Following Asterix's suggestion, Getafix pretends to agree to the Centurion's demand of the potion when Asterix pretends to give in to torture, and demands an unseasonal ingredient: strawberries. While Crismus Bonus' soldiers try to find strawberries, Asterix and Getafix relax in relative luxury; and when the strawberries arrive, consume them all, and console Crismus Bonus that the potion may be made without them.

After all the ingredients are found, a potion is prepared that causes the hair and beard of the drinker to grow at an accelerated pace. The Romans are tricked into drinking this potion and before long, all of them have long hair and beards. When Crismus Bonus pleads Getafix to make an antidote, the druid makes a cauldron of vegetable soup (knowing that the hair-growth potion shall soon cease to take effect), and also prepares a small quantity of the real magic potion for Asterix. As Getafix and Asterix escape, they are stopped by a huge army of Roman reinforcements commanded by Julius Caesar. Upon meeting Asterix and Getafix, Caesar hears of Crismus Bonus' intentions against himself; deports Crismus Bonus and his garrison to Outer Mongolia; and frees Asterix and Getafix for giving him the information, while reminding them that they are still enemies. The two Gauls then return to their village, where their neighbors celebrate their recovery.

My Thoughts:

I read many of the Asterix & Obelix stories growing up because my father collected these and we would buy them for him as birthday and Christmas presents. Since we were allowed to read them, very carefully, it was almost like we were getting ourselves a present too. Score! It was a hap-hazard reading journey though and I never bothered to read them all. Since I was looking for other comics to read besides Spawn and I really wasn't interested in most of the Marvel or DC lineups (not even the old stuff), I recalled this series and jumped on it. Most of the books are only 50'ish pages long and each story is a self contained one, so it works out really well.

There are 38 of these stories. This story was published originally in 1961 in French and the translation I am reading was done in 2004. I might have to check with my pops to see who did the translations of his editions and see what the differences are. That type of thing is interesting to me so it's worth exploring.

This type of comic is written for both adults and children. The kids will love the bright colors, the funny violence of tiny Asterix beating up four Roman soldiers at once, the contrast between Asterix and his giant friend Obelix. The adults will enjoy the very funny word plays and jokes in latin and the names of places and characters.

The beginning of the book introduces us to each character, the situation (that all of Gaul except this one village has been conquerered by Rome) and what the plot is for this particular book. We're talking a One Stop Shopping kind of deal. Rather refreshing to be honest.

★★★★☆ ( )
1 vote BookstoogeLT | Sep 9, 2021 |
Of course I've read all of these as a kids, in Dutch. I even read a couple in Latin whilst in high school (yes, the adventures of Asterix are available in Latin, just like several other comic books. You can even read Harry Potter in Latin...)

I must say, I had a bit of difficulty adjusting to the English names. After 25 years of Abraracourcix, Assurancetourix and Panoramix, it's a bit strange seeing them being named Vitalstatistix, Cacofonix and Getafix... (I know it's because the word plays don't work the same in English, but still. It's weird.)

Storywise, this is just really entertaining. A great introduction for a great set of characters. ( )
  HeyMimi | Dec 28, 2020 |
It's a simple story with lots of puns and Latin words. The excellent artwork enhances the humor, which should be enjoyable for kids and adults alike. ( )
  peterbmacd | May 17, 2020 |
I first read this in french when I was in High School. I collected about a dozen of these, in french, and used to read them to my kids and husband, then they became available in English, and we collected them all. The characters are marvelous, both in writing and in cartoon portraits, the backgrounds are amazing. ( )
  Tchipakkan | Dec 26, 2019 |
Excellent combination of adventure and humor, some of which will fly over the heads of children, but would be very interesting to teens and adults.. Could also be used with MYP in conjunction with a unit on classical Rome/POV. ( )
  TAPearson | Oct 30, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
Cafodd ein meibion eu magu ar Asterix. Roedd enwau Obelix ac Odlgymix, Crycymalix ac Einharweinix mor gyfarwydd iddyn nhw â Siôn Blewyn Coch a Barti Ddu, Mr Picton a Dai Tecsas. Roedd hiwmor y straeon stribed Ffrengig yma’n ogleisiol o ddoniol, yn fyrlymus o wreiddiol. Dim ond i rywun gladdu’i ben rhwng dau glawr, fyddai hi fawr o dro cyn i chwerthiniad direidus ddianc o blith y dalennau. Does ryfedd fod ein cyfrolau wedi treulio – rhoesant flynyddoedd o fwynhad i ni fel teulu.

Digri, lliwgar, a Chymreig. Gyda’n cefndir cyffredin Celtaidd, yn cael ein goresgyn gan ‘y Rhufeiniaid gwallgo ’ma!’, roedd rhywbeth naturiol mewn trosi helyntion ein lled-gefndryd Galaidd, gyda’u derwydd a’u bardd yn gymeriadau stoc, i’n hiaith a’n diwylliant ni. Daeth saith cyfrol hardd o Wasg y Dref Wen i ddwylo’r plant, ac yna – ‘myn Twtatis!’– sychodd y ffrwd. Yn ofer y chwiliais am Asterix a Cleopatra, yr unig un nad oedd gennym, yn y siopau llyfrau.

Yna, eleni, daeth y newyddion fod Asterix yn ailymddangos. Gwych, meddwn. [...]
added by Cynfelyn | editBarn, Ann Gruffydd Rhys (Oct 1, 2012)
 

» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Goscinny, Renéprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Uderzo, AlbertIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Bell, AntheaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ferreira, AmadeuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hockridge, DerekTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, AlunTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kilian, JarosławTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marchesi, MarcelloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marchesi, MarcelloIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morgan, PeadarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Penndorf, GudrunTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
RubricastellanusTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sztuczyńska, JolantaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Walli, OutiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Y flwyddyn yw 50 cyn Crist. Mae Gâl i gyd yn nwylo'r Rhufeiniaid ... I gyd? Nage! Erys o hyd un pentref Galiaid anorchfygol sy'n llwyddo i ddal eu tir yn erbyn yr imperialwyr. Ac nid yw bywyd yn hawdd i'r llengfilwyr Rhufeinig sy'n gorfod gwarchod gwersylloedd milwrol Bagiatrum, Ariola, Cloclarum a Bolatenae ...
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Im Jahre 50 v. Chr. waren die Gallier nach langem Kampf von den Römern besiegt worden...
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When Roman Centurion Crismus Bonus finds out about Getafix's magic potion, he kidnaps the druid to force him to reveal the recipe. So Asterix joins his friend in captivity and together the two plan to whip up a surprise with truly hair-raising effects.

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