New adventure for Asterix and Obelix

Status: 10/21/2021 11:54 a.m.

The new volume by Asterix and Obelix is ​​about an adventurous search. And about Romans who need tuition in matters of climate. And being a hero will also become a woman’s business.

In their previous volumes, the team around copywriter Jean-Yves Ferri and illustrator Didier Conrad showed that they care about current, socio-political issues. In the most recently published volume “The Daughter of Vercingetorix” (2019) one could definitely see similarities to the climate activist Greta Thunberg.

Two years ago it was still a single female character who determined the plot. In the current Asterix album, it’s women as a whole.

Coronavirus only gets a supporting role

In view of the corona pandemic in the past year and a half, it would have made sense to take up this topic in Volume 39 of the series. In “Asterix and the Griffin” Corona only plays a minor role. Author Ferri admits:

When we were working on the album, the pandemic was of course a big issue. But I didn’t want to go into that too much because I thought it would be taken up by many others for sure. There are some references to the virus, especially in the dialogues. But these are really just small allusions, because that is not the actual topic.

Instead, the Ferri / Conrad team, which has continued the series invented by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo, who died in 1977 and who died in 2020, since 2013, has embraced climate change and the image of women in our society.

Lack of environmental awareness the Roman way

On their way to the fictional Sarmatian empire, which was relocated to the region between Russia, Mongolia and Kazakhstan, the heroes of the adventure roam a landscape full of snow and icy cold.

The Gauls want to rush to the aid of a friend, the Sarmatian Terrine. In his dream he saw a terrible danger: an army that wants to kidnap its sanctuary, the griffin. A mythical creature that the Sarmatians revere – as a deterrent against unwelcome intruders. They live in harmony with nature, unlike the Romans, who cut down a small forest when building a camp.

“It’s actually about environmental protection in the broadest sense,” says Ferri. “It’s about the relationship that the Romans on the one hand and the Sarmatians on the other have with nature – and their different approaches to it.”

When it comes to climate protection, the Roman is a little behind.

Image: dpa

Climate change between the lines of the characters

When the Romans come across a “wall of ice” on their journey to the east, this marks the “end of the world”, as Centurion Brudercus exclaims. The Roman, who believes in the earth as a flat disk, means that at best locally. Because the reader automatically makes references to climate change, the end of the world could also be meant in terms of time.

“That doesn’t come close to the even more playful humor of the great Asterix father René Goscinny,” says comic expert Volker Hamann. “But it’s nice to see how the new team has developed over the past few years.”

The man – at the stove

The second big topic in the current album is emancipation. The Sarmatians live a different family image than the Romans or Gauls. While the women roam around like warlike Amazons, the men are in the village – stay at the stove, as Terrine thinks. They take turns in raising children. A role model that the Romans would not expect from the so-called barbarians there.

“It was just funny to take up a topic of our time,” says Ferri. “The rise of the woman, if you will. It was about throwing the Gauls off their feet. The presence of the warriors confuses them all a bit, especially Asterix, who otherwise can always rely on him thanks to the magic potion standing there as a hero. “

This time the magic potion freezes in the freezing cold and loses its effect. Casanova – a woman – turns Obelix’s head, and Idefix meets a pack of wolves. And then there is the eponymous griffin, which the Romans hope to find in the far east and which gives the occasion for the whole adventure.

A packed Asterix adventure, in which a lot is different than usual. The obligatory feast at the end and the gagged bard Troubadix are of course not missing in this album either.

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