The Return of the Comic Book Alphabet of Cool - A!

Yep, it's been a little over a year since I last did this bit, so now we take another tour through the alphabet, with a different cool comic book item each day, from A to Z!

We begin this go-around with a short little fellow...

Asterix the Gaul is the star of a whopping THIRTY-THREE graphic novels (or albums, as they're called in Europe), spanning over thirty-six years.

Originally written by René Goscinny and drawn by Albert Uderzo, they are now written and drawn by Uderzo following Goscinny's death in 1977. The original idea was that once Uderzo died, the series would end with him, but apparently that has changed, much to some people's chagrin.

The basic concept behind the series is that the Gauls are attempting to keep their land from being conquered by the Romans. Their main weapon in this is a potion that gives the villagers superstrength. Asterix, and his friend, Obelix, get into lots of misadventures.

The story of Asterix is a deceptively simple one, as Goscinny and Uderzo have created in the world of Asterix a nice little model for modern satire, all to the backdrop of often wacky pratfalls, as well.

Uderzo has an extremely rich and detailed cartoonish sense of design and storytelling - he really moves the story along beautifully - each album is a pretty quick, if engrossing, read.

The last Asterix album came out in 2005, and it was an absolute sensation upon its release, selling millions right away.

However, the story was a bit less than beloved, as Uderzo debuted a new, less detailed art style, and, like a lot of more recent volumes, there tends to be a bit more of a science fiction vibe to the stories that probably does not work as well with the standard Asterix style of story.

Uderzo stays current, though, as The Falling Sky pokes fun at a lot of modern topics, particularly America and its War on Terror.

Asterix is really one of the comic book world's great treasures, and I look forward to seeing what Uderzo does next with the character!

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