Asterix or The Adventures of Asterix (French: AstÃ©rix or AstÃ©rix le Gaulois, IPA:Â [asteÊiks lÉ™ É¡olwa]) is a series of French comics. The series first appeared in the Franco-Belgian comics magazine Pilote on 29 October 1959. It was written by RenÃ© Goscinny and illustrated by Albert Uderzo until the death of Goscinny in 1977. Uderzo then took over the writing until 2009, when he sold the rights to publishing company Hachette. As of 2015, 36 volumes have been released.
The series follows the exploits of a village of indomitable Gauls as they resist Roman occupation. They do so by means of a magic potion brewed by their druid, named Getafix in the English translations, which temporarily gives the recipient superhuman strength. The protagonist, the titular character Asterix, along with his friend Obelix have various adventures. The "ix" ending of both names (as well as all the other pseudo-Gaulish "ix" names in the series) alludes to the "rix" suffix (meaning "king") present in the names of many real Gaulish chieftains such as Vercingetorix, Orgetorix, and Dumnorix. (See below for further explanations of the character names.) Many of the stories have them travel to foreign countries, though others are set in and around their village. For much of the history of the series (Volumes 4 through 29), settings in Gaul and abroad alternated, with even-numbered volumes set abroad and odd-numbered volumes set in Gaul, mostly in the village.
The Asterix series is one of the most popular Franco-Belgian comics in the world, with the series being translated into over 100 languages, and it is popular in most European countries.
The success of the series has led to the adaptation of several books into 13 films: nine animated, and four live action. There have also been a number of games based on the characters, and a theme park near Paris, Parc AstÃ©rix. To date, 325Â million copies of 34 Asterix books have been sold worldwide, making co-creators RenÃ© Goscinny and Albert Uderzo France's bestselling authors abroad.
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