Asterix and Son (1983)

Le Fils d’Astérix

Presenting a pretentious thematic undercurrent…

Highlights the responsibilities attendant on sowing one’s wild oats in the days before family-planning allowed for preventative measures.

Notable Nomenclature…

  • Bucolix: dairy farmer.
  • Crismus Cactus: Prefect of Gaul.
  • Aspisistra: his spy alias.
  • Oderiferous: scruple-free legionary.
  • Aromatix: his spy alias.
  • Fotegenix: village guard.

Continuity; lack-thereof and other gaffes…

  • Being left holding the baby brings on one of A&O’s nose-to-nose rows (p7).
  • Uderzo begins unfortunate joke-ruining practice of providing translations for Latin words and phrases (pp 8, 20, 21, 31, 37 ).
  • Why does Aquarium Centurian volunteer this information to A&O after he has been bashed up? (p11).
  • Anachronistic Stonehenge joke repeated from Asterix in Spain.
  • Brutus is given a fairly large role well beyond the usual ‘anticipatory stabbing Caesar’ joke (which crops up on p. 43). This version is certainly not Shakespeare’s ‘honourable man’ (begins p. 13).
  • Gaul-disguised-Roman-spy-in-village plot-development re-used from Asterix the Gaul (begins p 21). And again in drag (begins p 26).
  • By now customary self-reference to adventure and impending banquet (p31).
  • Why haven’t the Romans tried this strategem before? Seems an effective potion-overcoming mode of attack (p37).
  • Everyone’s favourite African Queen returns from Asterix and Cleopatra along with attendant ‘What a nose’ jokes (begins p 43).
  • This story sees the destruction of the Gaulish village and the consequent construction of ‘Village Mark 2’.

Cleverness and contemporaneity…

  • Story-framing device: Asterix intends to give ‘Birds and Bees’ talk to Obelix (p1). He will have a job of it (p44).
  • Obelix uses back of copper pot as shaving mirror (p2).
  • Whilst whole village council suspects Asterix of past lewd child-making activities, it is left to Impedimenta to put voice to suspicion (p4).
  • Obelix quotes (then contemporary) 80s milk advert ‘Gotta Lotta Bottle’ (p5).
  • Compendium Centurion has – counter to appearance – been something of a Lothario (p 10).
  • The rattle-substitute legionary Odoriferous thinks in colloqialisms (p12).
  • Baby has copied Obelix’s unique method of opening doors (p13).
  • Obelix’s menhirs carry a sell-by date (p14).
  • Bucolix talks in broad West-Country dialect (p15).
  • Obelix invents the daily milk-round (p15).
  • First sight of Obelix’s house in Asterix (p 18).
  • Worn-out Asterix rests up against comic-frame (p19).
  • Roman guard tries it on with an ugly fat man in unconvincing drag (p26).
  • Gossiping village wives take an ugly fat man in unconvincing drag for beneficiary of Asterix’s alleged romantic liaison (p27).
  • Impedimenta puts melee-fish to good and early use (p29).
  • ‘Aspidistra’ creates WW1 and WW2 popular song medley (pp29-34).
  • Impedimenta displays old-fashioned-values regarding ‘Living in Sin’ (p31).
  • ‘Aspidistra’ for some reason lacks the capacity of a wet nurse (p34).
  • Since the final banquet takes place on Cleopatras galley, Cacofonix has to make do with a mast in lieu of a tree (p44).
  • Titular ‘son’ revealed as Ptomely XVI, future ruler of Egypt (p44).

Obelix has a tender side…

  • More self-reference as the fat fool senses the readership witnessing his baby-tending embarrassment (p3).
  • Restrained – by his standards – questioning of Asterix’s labelling him as ‘fat’ (p9).
  • Personally affronted when doors aren’t built to fat-man-carrying-menhir dimensions (pp14-15).
  • Asterix gets through to Obelix where it hurts (p 18).
  • Turns beetroot when complemented by an ugly fat man in drag (p28).

Classic Pegleg…

Translation-redundant Sic! Ad nauseam.

The African lookout’s Retort…

I’m feeling a bit seasic (sic) myself!

Good or what?

Good.

Best solo Uderzo ‘village under crisis’ story anticipates 1983 film ‘Three Men and a Cradle’ (not-bad French progenitor of Selleck/Guttenberg/Danson ‘Don’t babies urinate a lot?’ puerile Hollywood hokum). Relatively free of overstretched continuity jokes – there is the return of Cleopatra; but it’s brief and tied in to the narrative – and well paced story without Uderzo’s usual ‘deus-ex-machina’ plot resolution. Subject matter gives the whole enterprise a mild sexual frisson unique in Asterix – helped on by the title’s suggestion (particularly in the French version) that Asterix is the baby’s father.