Asterix and the Class Act (2003)

Astérix et la rentrée gauloise

Presenting a pretentious thematic undercurrent…

Not applicable as this is a collection of short stories all but one previously published though not in English. These are presented non-sequencially with introductions. For one time only I am using the actual book page numbers.

Notable Nomenclature…

  • Astronomix: father of Asterix.
  • Obeliscoidix: father of Obelix
  • Semiautomatix: father of Fulliautomatix.
  • Unhealthix: father of Unhygienix.
  • Scarlatina: fat friend of Panacea.
  • Chantcleerix: village cockeral
  • Henna: village hen.
  • Inglorius Pithecanthropus: head of Caesar’s secret service.
  • Partipolitix: Parisian tribal leader.
  • Civilservix: his permanent secretary.

Continuity; lack-thereof and other gaffes…

  • Geriatrix is already ancient when A&O were born (p10).
  • We witness the very first fishfight (p12).
  • A&O are established as being aged 35 when the books take place (p13).
  • “in 50 BC” is a pilot explanatory strip meant to explain the setting to Americans. The whole premise is set out from scratch (begins p14).
  • Dogmatix can talk to the other village animals. He can also talk to Obelix (p20 on).
  • Obelix Panacea infatuation continues (p25).
  • Time for the unsubtle shield gag (p35).
  • A&O’s third visit to Lutetia (p36 on).
  • Obelix continues to play menhir-fetch with Dogmatix (p43).

Cleverness and contemporaneity…

  • Vitalstatistix assumes he is the narrative hero of the stories (p5).
  • Obelix doesn’t know his modern history and is sent back to the classroom (p11).
  • The most inept Roman disguise in all Asterix (p16).
  • The Rome vs. Gaulish rebel theme is replayed by village animals (p19).
  • Unhygienix quotes Harry Enfield’s Scouse catchphrase (p.29).
  • The whole sequence called “Asterix as you have never seen him before” – by Uderzo alone – is fantastic (begins p.30).
  • Bashed-up Roman legionary references “The Full Monty”.
  • A&O foiled by … Snoopy (p31).
  • A&O are basically two versions of Flash Gordon (p32).
  • Asterix tries to explain Descartes to Obelix. Obelix doesn’t get it (p32).
  • A&O go groooovy baby! (p33.)
  • A&O will not dress up as Tintin (p33).
  • Paris’s local bus service is run by “Regional Eurostella Routes” (p36)
  • A wooden Eiffel Tower was already present in pre-Christian Paris (p37).
  • Anthropomorphic representations of Spring and Winter play out the Gauls vs. Romans fight (pp40-41).
  • Whilst bashing Winter Spring invokes Alice Cooper with the fabulous pun “No More Mr Ice Guy!)
  • Latin phrases a-plenty from a soulmate of Pegleg (p43 on).
  • Goscinny and Uderzo self-portrait as Asterix and Obelix (p49)
  • Goscinny and Uderzo pick up modern-day Popeye version of Obelix (p50 on).

Obelix has a tender side…

  • Kissy kissy with Asterix under the mistletoe (p26).
  • Usual response to being kissed by Panacea (p19).

Obelix’s descendants in full (see family tree on page 54)…

  • Obelisque the Hammer (Frankish warrior)
  • Obelisque the Valiant (Crusader)
  • Obelisc’h Lord of the Manor of the Menhir (French fighter in the 100 years war).
  • Obelisc’h Count of Brittany (fighter in the Battle of Marignano).
  • Obelisc’h The Boar (17th Century privateer).
  • Obelisc’h The Fat (18th Century privateer).
  • Obelisc’h (1960s fat Popeye dressalike).

Classic Roman Legionary standing in for Pegleg

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori = It is sweet and proper to die for the fatherland (Horace).

Victrix causa diis placuit, sed victa catoni = The victorious cause pleased the gods, but the vanquished pleased Cato (Cato the Younger).

Nunc est bibendum = Now is the time for drinking (Horace)

Cur, quid quomodo = Why? What? How? (Boethius)

Res non verba = Deeds not words (Anon)

Beati pauperes spiritu = Blessed in spirit are the poor (St. Matthew)

 

Good or what?

Great

This is all worthwhile, including the solo Uderzo parts, some of which were written during Goscinny’s life time. Parts of it – The modern-day Obelix and the “Asterix as you’ve never seen him” are superb. It is, however, for fans only.