Albert Uderzo, long time illustrator of Asterix et Obelix

French artist Albert Uderzo, co-creator of the popular Asterix the Gaul cartoon, has died at the age of 92.   “Albert Uderzo died in his sleep at his home in Neuilly, after a heart attack that was not linked to the coronavirus,” his son-in-law Bernard de Choisy told the AFP ( Agence France-Presse ).

In 1959 Uderzo and writer René Goscinny co-created Asterix, a plucky little Gaul who fought Julius Caesar and his Roman legions, with the help of his hulking friend Obelix.  After Goscinny died in 1977, Uderzo took over writing duties as well as illustrating.  Over the last half-century, Asterix the Gaul has found fans world-wide, in books, cartoons and live-action movies.

Albert Uderzo retired from drawing Asterix in 2011, and turned over artistic duties to a younger artist. Uderzo and Rene Goscinny had been asked by a children’s magazine to come up with a new character that reflected French culture.

left to right, Gérard Depardieu  as Obelix, Monica Bellucci as Cleopatra, and Christian Clavier as Asterix in Asterix and Obelix Meets Cleopatra {image via Centre National du Cinéma et de l’Image Animée }

Over 370 million Asterix books have been sold worldwide, and the series has been translated into more than one hundred languages.

Dogmatix missing the Master – photograph by Karina Montgomery Walsh

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