Cartoon hero


Asterix the Gaul is a character created in 1959 by Goscinny (now deceased) and Uderzo, in the series The Adventures of Asterix. Asterix and his friends are the last Gauls resisting the Roman invasion, in their remote village on the Breton coast. Hunting boars and bullying Roman soldiers are their favorite hobbies: their magic potion makes the Gauls invincible.

Asterix and other characters have names originating in their fertile author’s mind and his love for puns: an asterisk is this typographical symbol * used for footnotes. His companion’s name (Obelix) refers either to the obelisks (the Egyptian monuments) or to the dagger (or obelus), another typographical symbol for footnotes.

Here are the original French names:

– Gauls have a name ending with –ix, just like Vercingetorix : Panoramix (–> panoramic), Idéfix (idée fixe, obsession), Abraracourcix (tomber à bras raccourcis sur qn, to lay on sb.), Ordralphabétix (ordre alphabétique, alphabetical order)…

– Roman names end with –us : Ballondebaudrus (ballon de baudruche, toy balloon), Belinconnus (bel inconnu, handsome stranger), Bonusmalus (bonus-malus), Diplodocus, Eucaliptus, Marchéopus (marché aux puces, flea market), Parterredecrocus (parterre de crocus, crocus bed)…

– British with –ax: Jolitorax (joli thorax, pretty thorax), Antrax (anthrax), Autodidax (autodidacte, self-educated), Ipipourax (hip hip hourra, hooray)…

– Spaniards with Y –on: Soupalognon y Crouton (soupe à l’oignon et croûtons, onion soup with croutons)

– Goths/German with –ic: Cloridric (chlorhydrique), Téléférix (téléphérique, cable car), Passmoilcric (passe-moi le cric, hand me the jack), Figuralégoric (figure allégorique, allegory), …

– Greeks with –os or –as: Calvados (the French department), Fécarabos (Fée Carabosse, Wicked fairy godmother), Mixomatos (myxomatose, myxomatosis), Garmonparnas (Gare Montparnasse), Plexiglas, Scarfas (Scarface)…

– Normans with –af: Autograf (autographe, autograph), Bellegaf (belle gaffe, big blunder), Epitaf (épitaphe, epitaph), Olaf Grossebaf (grosse baffe, big slap), Sténograf (sténographe, stenographer), …

– Vikings with –sen (+special letters): Kerosen (kérosène, jet fuel), Neuillisursen (Neuilly-sur-Seine, a Parisian district), Zoodvinsen (zoo de Vincennes, Vincennes zoo), Obsen (obscène, obscene), …

Asterix gave his name to the first French satellite, launched in 1965.

Apart from the last installments (published by Uderzo alone, since the death of Goscinny in 1977), the series has a special place in the heart of its readers: cultural references, puns and caricatures of foreigners! Englishmen are phlegmatic, Spaniards are proud and tetchy, Germans are brusque and tactless, Belgians speak odd French (to Frenchmen’s ears), Egyptians walk sideways and Africans cannot pronounce the letter R.


Belgium is a nest of cartoon writers and drawers. Tintin, Spirou, the Smurfs, Boule et Bill, Bob et Bobette, Achille Talon, Blake et Mortimer, Buck Danny, Tif et Tondu, Bob Morane, le Chat, Largo Winch, Corentin, XIII are all Belgian creations.

Among them let me introduce Bob and Bobette (Suske en wiske in Dutch, since the author is Flemish). They represent the Belgian and Flemish culture, by means of a time machine which sends them back in ancient times for epic adventures. The folklore and history of Belgium and Europe is often the core of the plot. Examples for Lexiophiles: the “question royale” (the return of the King after WWII caused major controversy which then turned into open conflict) and the Gilles from Binche stand as the background for  installments #145 (De Stalen bloempot) and #297 (Le Gilles généreux) respectively.

As the best sources are in Dutch, please have a look on this page: Suske en Wiske (automatic translation by Google).

NL – List of the albums
FR – A fan website

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