Asterix and Obelix’s Birthday – The Golden Book

L  ‘anniversaire d’Astérix et Obélix – Le Livre d’or

Presenting a pretentious thematic undercurrent…

None: this is a 50th Birthday anniversary feel-good book, nothing more.

Notable Nomenclature…

  • Choleramorbus: Caesar’s pharmacist.
  • Nautilus: Vice Admiral.
  • Spartakis: Leading Slave-Revolter.
  • Gluttonus: Roman Chef.
  • Absolutelyfabulos: High Priest of Atlanta.

Continuity; lack-thereof and other gaffes…

  • Essentially, every character from previous stories is a guest at A&O’s surprise party (p5).
  • Except Panacea who sends Obelix a “Birthday Slab” (p8).
  • Also except Edifis who still cannot build pyramids and whose colleague has built the Leaning Tower of Pisa (p11)
  • Excepting also The Pirates, although the African lookout is both at the party and standing aboard the sinking ship Titanix (p11).
  • Obelix can’t read (p9).
  • Return of the druid Psychoanalytix from Asterix and the Big Fight. He has devised a prototype MRI Scan (p16).
  • Circumbendibus’s travel guide (written by Goscinny for Pilote Magazine in 1966) references multiple past adventures (begins p14)
  • Apart from the opening fifty-years-on fantasy sequence, A&O are established as confirmed bachelors (p27 on).
  • Cleopatra and Caesar reference Asterix and Son (p46).

Cleverness and contemporaneity…

  • Uderzo himself enters the story and is subsequently bashed by Octogenarian Obelix (p8)
  • Mrs Geriatrix anticipates two centuries of fashion change during her Parisian show, from ancient Goth to Banksy (pp5-6).
  • Obelix foreshadows Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, with a leaf obscuring the relevant area.
  • Cocofonix has released ancient versions of Abby Road, One Step Beyond and Thriller (p22).
  • Panacea paints herself into the Mona Lisa (p30).
  • Squareonthehypotenus designs a the theme park predating the actual Parc Astérix by two centuries (p27)
  • Dogmatix’s French name Idefix is used, unavoidably, in a crossword reference (p27).
  • Botanix (or is it Valueaddedtax?) creates a range of – shall we say – legal highs? (p30)
  • Larensolivius is now a movie director and a dictatorial one at that. He has created a movie about A&O in which they are portrayed by Goscinny and Uderzo. The audience goes wild (p31 on).
  • The most sustained sequence of toilet humour in all Asterix, including Cleopatra essentially saying “Julius, have you farted?” (pp49-50).
  • There’s a weird mood-breaking footnote about Mussolini’s torture methods  (p49).

Obelix has a tender side…

  • Receives a postal slab from Panacea and accordingly turns red. He then drops it down the front of his trousers (p8).

Those fifty-years-on changes in full…

  • Fulliautomatix’s son now runs the blacksmith shop – he makes dentures.
  • Vitalstatistix feigns gout in order make crafty pub visits.
  • Geriatrix doesn’t look any older. His wife however is grey and fat.
  • Cacofonix now plays a drum to accompany his “singing” until the intervention of Fulliautomatix’s crutch.
  • Unhygienix’s son now runs the fish shop – and genuinely does sell fresh fish. Unhygienix thinks that ruins the brand image.
  • Asterix has a son, daughter in law and five grandchildren.
  • Obelix has none of these and is showing signs of depression.
  • Geriatrix hold his beard off the ground using a forked stick.

Prolix’s predicted artworks in full…

  • Obelix replaces Rodin’s The Thinker (p38).
  • Bacteria is Liberty in the painting by Delacroix, though her breasts are not on display. Obelix and Asterix are by her side (p39).
  • Goldendelicius and Julius Caesar get the Warhol treatment (p40).
  • The African lookout is in Munch’s The Scream (p41).
  • Justforkix is Courbet’s Desperate Man (p42).
  • Asterix is the subject of a previously undiscovered Arcimboldo (p43).
  • Cleopatra, again breasts-not-on-display, is in Manet’s Olympia (p44).
  • Julius Caesar is Napoleon at the Saint-Bernard Pass by David (p45).

Classic Pegleg…

elis natalis dies sit tibi = Happy Birthday to you.

What has by now become ‘The African lookout’s retort’…

Asterix and Obelix, you are the kings of the ancient world!


Good or what?

Inessential but charming. Just a load of continuity references as is entirely appropriate for a 50th Anniversary book. There’s a semblance of a story toward the end when Caesar tries to poison The Village, but that’s it.