Alex Good, from Alex on Film, has decided that it was high time to get in on the action when it came to the Asterix series. Here are his answers to a couple of my questions and he’s thrown in a couple of originals to keep things fresh.
1: Why aren’t Asterix and Obelix married men?
They seem old enough. They’re like Stan and Ollie or Bud and Lou or Charters and Caldicott. They’re a comic duo. They’re not gay because they’re always doing double-takes at or getting mushy over beautiful women. I think they fall into the category of men that women may like as friends (or view as useful) but don’t see as relationship material, for whatever reason. And that’s fine because Obelix has Dogmatix so he’ll never be lonely.
2) The Romans just can’t catch a break can they? They try to hide from Obelix and end up trampling on the flowers he wants for Panacea.
Nor the pirates.
3) Bureaucracy portrayed here, is it any different today? And if we could just biff and bam the parasites who give us the runaround now, would it change anything? Hint, yes!
No, probably not. There’s only a small village of indomitable Gauls and they never threaten the administration of the Empire. Basically they’ve been quarantined. In order to effect any kind of political change they’d have to mass produce that magic potion, but if the potion was widely available then it wouldn’t be special anymore and the same political (or bureaucratic, or administrative) system would re-assert itself, meaning all the same paper-pushers, or stone-carvers, or papyrus calligraphers. There’s no getting rid of these people, I’m afraid.
4) What did you think of Asterix’s insistence on going through the Legion training as quick possible?
Well, he was in a rush and he didn’t really need training. The Gauls don’t fight in terms of close-order drill. They also needed a lift to get to Africa so it made sense to go on a troop ship. Plus it was fun seeing them in Roman fashion.
5) Is Tragicomix a pansy? Why didn’t he biff and bam his way out of the Legion like a good Gaul?
He was from another village! A village of beautiful people, and you know what they say about not hating people because they’re beautiful. But going back to look at it from a formal point of view, he’s the generic himbo to go with his bimbo girlfriend Panacea. I found the light blonde hair and black eyebrows the most disconcerting thing about him. And he doesn’t have to fight because bad things never happen to beautiful people.
6) Julius Caesar is always doing favors for Asterix and Obelix. Should they get a loyalty rewards membership? Save Julius 3 times and get a free attack on a Roman Patrol kind of thing?
Caesar’s vanity wouldn’t allow him to acknowledge any assistance. In fact, it would probably just make him angrier at the two of them for helping him out.
7) Finally, just where DOES Tragicomic pin that clasp for his cape?
Isn’t it just fastening the two ends of the cape together? Probably a quick release too for bedroom sports.
(1) Am I the only one who always knew the village druid as Getafix?
In the version I read this time he’s Panoramix. I thought this a bowdlerization because kids couldn’t handle a drug reference, but I guess in the original he’s Panoramix so that’s fair.
(2) How concerned or interested are you in the history here?
The little intro to all of these books says “It’s the year 50 B.C.” I don’t think this book can be set in 50 B.C. though because the civil war is going on. The action being described is, I think, the battle of Thapsus in 46 B.C. In the brief discussion we overhear in Caesar’s tent the names of Caesar’s enemies — Scipio, Juba, and Afranius — all check out. I was impressed at the amount of general knowledge this would seem to take for granted in readers of are what are children’s books. Just like the wreck of the pirate ship being modeled on Géricault’s painting The Raft of the Medusa. There’s a note for that, but still it’s kind of impressive. I don’t know how many comic books would go that highbrow today.
Please feel free to visit Sharon’s review of Asterix the Legionary and be on the lookout later this week for entries from Fraggle and Bookstooge