Asterix stars in not-so-subtle lampoon of US
PARIS, Oct 14 (AFP) - 'Asterix and the Falling Sky' -- the 33rd album based on the adventures of the diminutive Gallic warrior -- went on sale around the world Friday, surprising some readers with a none-too-subtle lampoon of the United States.
In a controversial departure, author and illustrator Albert Uderzo introduces creatures from outer space who visit the famous village on the Brittany coast in search of its strength-inducing magic potion.
The creatures are led by a cuddly toy who has at his beck and call an army of dim superman clones in tights and capes. They announce they are from a planet called TADSYLWINE — an anagram of Walt Disney — and that their ‘sage’ goes by the name of HUBS — an anagram of Bush.
In an interview with France-Soir newspaper, Uderzo — who has created the comic books single-handed since the death of author Rene Goscinny in 1977 — admitted he was dabbling for the first time in international politics.
“Let us say that I had fun caricaturing certain things which have come from America. Even I am a bit surprised, because Goscinny and I never got Asterix involved in politics,” he said.
“But here there is a slight political side to it. What the Americans are going through today with (President George W) Bush got me into it,” he said.
In a generally good-natured send-up, the creatures from TADSYLWINE are opposed by a second and more sinister group of extraterrestrials called the NAGMAS — this an anagram of Mangas, the Japanese comic-strips that are increasingly popular in France.
They too are bent on acquiring the magic potion and try to kidnap the wizard Panoramix.
In the end — after brief interludes with Romans and pirates — both sets of invaders are beaten off and peace reigns again over the traditional end-of-volume village feast.
The moral of the story — clearly aimed at voices of pessimism in modern-day France — is that against the alien forces of globalisation, true Gallic values will prevail.
‘Asterix and the Falling Sky’ went on sale in 27 countries in 13 languages. More than eight million copies have be printed, three million of them in the original French.
Subject: French news