Obelix and Co. (1976)
Obelix et compagnie
Presenting a pretentious thematic undercurrent…
Sustained satire on capitalism. The most overtly satirical of all Asterix books.
- Scrofulus: Roman Centurion.
- Ignoramus: Roman Centurion.
- Caius Preposterous: Roman finacial whizzkid.
- Analgesix, Monosyllabix, Polysyllabix, Pacifix, Atlantix, Baltix, Adriatix: hitherto unknown villagers.
- Woolix: pedlar.
- Meretricious: Roman menhir maker.
Continuity; lack-thereof and other gaffes…
- Obelix takes on employees – both menhir manufacturers and caterers – for the first time (p16 on).
- Obelix renews his relationship with Mrs. Geriatrix (see Asterix and the Soothsayer). (pp23-24.)
- In this menhir-rich environment there is no need for fish as melee weapons (p42).
Cleverness and contemporaneity…
- Preposterous is a caricature of France’s then Prime-Minister later President Jacques Chirac. (Kessler)
- Asterix, Getafix and the rest do not have to do anything to foil Preposterous beyond going along with his schemes. In the book’s view capitalism is self-defeating. (Kessler)
- Self caricatures of the authors as litter-bearers to a sloshed Centurian (p2).
- Caesar’s advisor’s solutions to the Gaulish problem involve commissions, sub-commitees and working-lunches (p8).
- The upwardly mobile Obelix has no time for Dogmatix (p12 on).
- As Obelix becomes more prosperous he becomes accordingly less threatening to the Roman lookout (pp11, 13 and 15).
- Obelix consumes his substantial working lunch over the course of two frames (p20).
- Impedimenta insists on being dropped off at the shops (p21).
- Obelix acquires a delivery van (p23).
- Obelix parades his Mister Big Getup (p25).
- Laurel and Hardy have fallen for the army recruitment drive:
“Join up them say. It heap big man’s life them say.”
- Asterix and Getafix hatch a plan to introduce a competitive market (p26).
- Preposterous makes a menhir sales strategy presentation to Julius Caesar (p 32).
- Menhirs are marketed in Rome as a luxury commodity (p33).
- Preposterous presents his sideline of menhir togas, sundials and do-it-yourself-menhir-kits (p34).
- Preposterous laments the menhir’s built-in lack of obscelescence (p34).
- A competing Roman menhir hits the market: it is a usual menhir placed on a plinth (p34).
- Meretricious blocks the Appian Way to protest that a monopoly of Gaulish menhirs will endanger the jobs of Roman slaves (p35).
- Preposterous floats the Gaulish menhir (p36).
- An Egyptian obelisk-shaped menhir hits the market (p36).
- The bottom falls out of the menhir market (p 37).
- A superflous menhir is put to bardic use at the feast (p44).
That dumbed-down sales jargon in full…
- If you can’t incease the efficiency of your productivity infrastructure the market will fall. = “If you not able make big heap menhirs, me not able pay big heap Sesertii. You savvy?” (p15).
- Production has increased, but you still have a delivery problem. You need to step up the efficiency of your production channels. = “You not bring plenty menhirs all one time. You bring more menhirs quick quick!” (p20).
- Thus I make no rash promises when I say that we should succeed in obtaining positive results , saleswise, at no very distant date. = “Me think you able sell heap big heap menhirs plenty quick.” (p32).
- I hear there’s a grave finacial crisis in Rome though I don’t know what caused it. Anyway, they’ve devalued the Sestertius.=”Heap big menhir makers stony broke.” (p44).
Those Menhir sales pitches in full…
- Geriatrix: “Specially Matured Menhirs.”
- Unhygienix: “Fresh Menhirs.”
- Fulliautomatix: “Today’s Menhirs.”
Obelix has a tender side…
- Gets neurotic when people keep secrets about his birthday (p4).
- Deeply touched by the thoughtfullness of his birthday present (p6).
Uti Non Abuti = Use, don’t abuse.
He’s on page 2: the inebriate unwashed legionary being stretchered off by Goscinny and Uderzo self-caricatures.
Good or what?
An extraordinarily concentrated attack on monetarism, more than compensates for this story’s relative lack of actual laugh-out-loud humour.