Astérix returns in 2021 with a new Adventure

The French love their bandes dessinées (comic books), so it was no surprise that the long-anticipated release of the latest volume of the Astérix adventures was met with great enthusiasm.  In the world of publishing in France, there are years with and years without Astérix – but 2021 marks a prosperous one with this week’s unveiling of the new album which is the thirty-ninth volume in the series and the fifth of the team of Didier Conrad as illustrator and Jean-Yves Ferri as writer. Headlines abounded covering the momentous event as the new album entitled  Astérix and the Griffin hit bookshelves worldwide.  The book was published on 21 October 2021 in more than 20 languages with an initial print run of over 5 million copies.

Astérix is a French bande dessinée (BD) series about Gaulish warriors, who have adventures and fight the Roman Republic during the era of Julius Caesar in an a historical telling of the time after the Gallic Wars. The popular BD series was created in 1959 by writer René Goscinny and illustrated by Albert Uderzo until Goscinny's death in 1977. Uderzo then took over as writer and illustrator until 2009 before turning over the helm to the current creative team. The latest volume is the first Astérix book to be released since the March 24, 2020 death of the series' co-creator Albert Uderzo. The team of Didier Conrad and Jean-Yves Ferri are keeping the much-loved Astérix characters and adventures alive for loyal readers despite the loss of its initial creators.

Astérix has achieved overwhelming success with its more than 385 million albums sold worldwide and has been translated into 111 languages and dialects. It has also had 15 film adaptations, from the animated film Astérix the Gaul in1967 by Ray Goossens to the upcoming feature film  Astérix and Obelix: The Middle Empire by popular French filmmaker Guillaume Canet, set for release in 2022.  

France considers bande dessinée (BD) a serious and respected art form for readers of all ages. There is even an annual BD festival in Angoulême that attracts hundreds of thousands of avid readers and fans. Reading French comics offers insight into the French culture, and is a great way to learn colloquial French phrases. This blog includes a great list of popular French bandes dessinées to explore for your reading pleasure.  You can find many of these BDs on your AFSF Culturethèque e-library.  Bonne lecture des bandes dessinées!

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