Monday, 27 September 2010
Asterix The Gaul
I don't often read graphic novels but the few I have read I have enjoyed. Some people do not consider graphic novels to be serious reading material and I can see their point but at the same time I think it is fun to read them from time to time and they sometimes have a surprising amount to offer.
The Asterix comic books are a good example of this. First published in France in 1959, there have been 34 books to date, the most recent written in 2009. There have also been 11 films (animated and otherwise) and several video games. There is even a theme park in Paris! Asterix books have sold 325 million copies worldwide.
In Asterix The Gaul we are introduced to Asterix; a hunter from Roman occupied Gaul (modern day France) The whole of Gaul is under Roman control with the exception of Asterix's small village. This is due to a magic potion brewed by the village druid (cheekily named, in a stroke of pure genius, 'Getafix') which gives the Gaul warriors superhuman strength for a limited time. Asterix has all sorts of adventures but spends most of his time beating the tar out of Roman soldiers after consuming the magic potion. This isn't to say the books are particularly violent and the fighting is always akin to the sort of Tom and Jerry 'saucepan in the face' slapstick children find hilarious. There is no blood and gore which is refreshing and certainly no cursing. All the characters in Asterix books carry swords but seem to prefer to use their fists (which is probably just as well!)
This isn't just a kids book. There is adult humour too, some of it tongue-in-cheek, sometimes satire, sometimes plays on words but always witty and good natured. A good example is the Roman centurion named 'Crismus Bonus'
All in all I found the book to be great good natured fun and I can easily see how the books could become collectable, they are very nicely put together and the illustrations are wonderful, clearly a lot of time and care went into drawing them. Although I'm no expert I have been confidently assured that the French to English translation is first class and very accurate.
Final verdict 4/5