PARIS (AFP) – Albert Uderzo, who drew the Asterix And Obelix comics that delighted legions of children and adults over the past six decades, has died at age 92, his family said on Tuesday (March 24).
"Albert Uderzo died in his sleep at his home in Neuilly, after a heart attack that was not linked to the coronavirus. He had been extremely tired for the past several weeks," his son-in-law, Mr Bernard de Choisy, said.
Uderzo created Asterix in 1959 with the writer Rene Goscinny, who brought them to life in the French-Belgian comics magazine Pilote.
The adventures of the indomitable Gaul, with his winged helmet and formidable blond moustache, and his massive sidekick Obelix as they gleefully thwarted Roman legionnaires became a huge hit, with translations into dozens of languages.
The series has extended into 38 books, most recently Asterix And The Chieftains Daughter from last year, though Uderzo had stopped illustrating by then, while Goscinny died in 1977.
Nearly 1.6 million copies of The Chieftains Daughter were sold last year in France alone, putting it at the top of best-seller lists.
Both men are considered founding fathers of modern comics and graphic novels, with more than 370 million of their books sold worldwide and several stories turned into animated cartoons and feature films.
The pun-filled series is brimming with fist-fights, drunken arguments, heroic rescues and romantic interludes, and the stories often include not-so-subtle references to politicians or popular figures of the day.
They have been translated into 111 languages and dialects, including Latin and Ancient Greek.
Uderzo was born April 25, 1927, in Fismes, a village in northeast France near Reims, to Italian immigrants – his father was a luthier.
At birth he had six fingers on each hand – an anomaly corrected by surgery – and was colour blind, yet he discovered drawing after joining a Parisian publishing house after World War II, while also providing comic drawings for newspapers.
“Making a living through comics was extremely hard in those days, I drew an astronomical amount of pages just to get through the month,” he would recall.
He met Goscinny in 1951, beginning a friendship that would lead to their dreaming up Asterix and his village in Amorican Brittany, fuelled by cigarettes and pastis liquor, in a social housing apartment outside Paris eight years later.
Uderzo claimed he was inspired by tales from his older brother Bruno, who would head to western France to escape labour conscription bRead More – Source