Asterix creator rebuffs his daughter's sellout claims
French illustrator Albert Uderzo, creator of Gallic hero Asterix, hit out at his daughter after she accused him of selling out by ceding control of his iconic comic series to a big publisher.
"To be accused by my own daughter, in the pages of the newspaper of reference, of being an old man, manipulated and deluded in his insatiable greed by the gnomes of finance, is already quite undignified," said Uderzo, 81.
"What has been given away is nothing more than shares in a publishing company, Editions Albert-Rene, that I set up in 1979," he said in a statement obtained by AFP.
"The accusation made against me is not only inspired by the appetite for power, it also aims to insult Asterix readers by confusing my abilities as an author with that of a publishing house shareholder," he said.
Sylvie Uderzo had attacked her father's decision in the January 15 edition of the French daily Le Monde.
"Today, I'm rebelling. Why? Because Asterix is my paper brother," she wrote. "I find myself entering into battle against, perhaps, Asterix's worst enemies - the men of industry and finance."
Sylvie Uderzo said that her father had always wanted to keep the rights to Asterix within his small company, and had intended - like Tintin's creator Herge - that no more adventures be written after his death.
The daughter accused her elderly father's entourage of advisers of pushing him into a "180 degree turn" and making him "deny the values with which he brought me up: independence, brotherhood, friendship and resistance."
Uderzo senior has overseen the Asterix books on his own since 1977, when the moustachioed hero's co-creator Rene Goscinny died. Goscinny's daughter Anne has given her consent to the Hachette deal.
Uderzo and Goscinny met in Brussels in the 1950s, releasing their first full album - Asterix the Gaul - in 1961.
Today his adventures, in which he and his constant companion Obelix defend their Gallic village against Caesar's Roman legions, have been translated into 107 languages, with more than 300 million books sold.
The Asterix stories have also been turned into several successful films and an Asterix theme park was opened in 1989 north of Paris.
Uderzo is currently working on a new Asterix story, slated for release in October to mark the 50th anniversary of the character's first appearance in the children's weekly Pilote, in 1959.