Sad news today, as it has been reported that Albert Uderzo, the co-creator of the Asterix comics series, has died at the age of 92. The artist's family has announced that the artist died at his home from a sudden heart attack. The French artist's son-in-law Bernard de Choisy spoke with the French news agency AFP about the circumstances of Uderzo's death.
"He died in his sleep at his home in Neuilly from a heart attack unrelated to the coronavirus. He had been very tired for several weeks."
The French comic book artist created the beloved Asterix comics in 1959 with the writer René Goscinny. The stout Gaulish warrior is an icon in French popular culture, with Asterix remaining one of the most recognized comic book characters in the world. Since his conception, Asterix comics have sold more than 370 million comic book volumes worldwide, along with a total of 11 films as well as an Asterix theme park.
The character of Asterix is a small-statured, large mustachioed warrior who hails from the Roman-occupied land of ancient Gaul in the year 50 BC. Together with his much larger best friend Obelix and dog Dogmatix, the intrepid trio enjoys adventures that almost always involve outwitting Roman legionnaires. Despite his diminutive size, Asterix discovers a magic potion as a child which imbues him with superhuman strength, speed, and agility - which all come in very handy when harassing Roman guards and the like.
Asterix first debuted in the French magazine Pilote back in 1959. Two years later, the creative duo of Uderzo and Goscinny launched the first standalone adventure of Asterix, Asterix the Gaul. They continued to collaborate on the series, seeing it translated into more than 100 languages until Goscinny's death in 1977. Uderzo then became the sole writer and artist of Asterix until he retired in 2009 and sold the rights to the series to publisher Hachette. The series consisted of Asterix and his pals traveling to all kinds of places and getting up to all sorts of escapades, including introducing tea to the ancient Britons in Asterix in Britain, and knocking off the Sphinx's nose in Asterix and Cleopatra.
Since the announcement, several prominent literary and comic book figures have come forward to pay their respects. Mark Millar, the creator of comics including Kingsman and Kick-Ass, declared that Uderzo was "the Master" as well as being his "gateway drug to beautiful European comics".
Brazillian artist Rafael Albuquerque, co-creator of American Vampire, also took to social media to heap praise on Uderzo and the influence he has had on his life and work.
"Sad to hear about the passing of master Albert Uderzo. Believe it or not, one of my biggest influences in comics. Asterix was the first comic i've read, from my aunt's bookshelf. With him I learnt about expression more than anyone. Merci maître!"
The Asterix series celebrated 60 years of adventures last year. There are currently plans to reprint the small-statured warrior's adventures into new collections and to release new non-fiction works examining the series' history and cultural significance. Rest in peace. Our hearts go out to Albert Uderzo's family. This comes to us from ComicBook.com.