Ian Samson caused a bitter civil war in Britain this week through his article at the New Statesman titled “A lot of Gaul: why Asterix is better than Tintin”. Within minutes this article had spread to Twitter, where it broke apart the once-thriving comics scene in our nation and set writer against artist, editor against letterer. After only an hour, British comics had changed.
Well not really. BUT it was entertaining to see people have a good old conversation about comics that for once hadn’t resulted from somebody doing something horrific! Hurrah. It was very good fun indeed. Leading the side for Team Asterix seemed to be Kieron Gillen, writer of Young Avengers and Three, who first spotted the article and shared it via his Tumblr, stating
the thing about Tintin which no-one mentions is how boring it is
Which led people to draw battle lines. He was joined by a number of other writers in his pro-Asterix sentiment – including Antony Johnston, Andy Diggle and more. Andrew Wheeler, too. It seemed to be that if your name started with A, you had some kind of solidarity with Asterix.
Soon the hashtags arrived.
Shout out to #TeamAsterix. We have nothing to fear except the sky falling on our heads and comics journal retrospectives.
— Kieron Gillen (@kierongillen) January 7, 2014
Quite a lot of writers-about-comics seemed to fancy Tintin over the Gaul, however – including Zainab Akhtar (hey!), Alex Hern, Mike Molcher and others.
Sally Jane Thompson, Ben Towle and Henry Flint opted for Tintin, while Adam Cadwell backed Asterix. Kate Brown decided not to pick a side, although did note Tintin’s superior fashion sense:
Whilst I am not really siding, I do prefer Tintin’s socks/trousers deal. #TeamTrousers
— Kate Brown (@autojoy) January 7, 2014
Personally I haven’t read either of the characters, because my childhood was The Beano – so I elected to support Roger The Dodger above all else. This was… not a very successful campaign, all in all. I’m still right, though – Roger is vastly superior to both those losers.
Tintin’s all ‘let’s find a mystery’ and Asterix is like ‘let’s fight romans’ and Roger is like ‘let’s get a free bag of chips!’ #TeamRoger
— Steve Morris (@stevewmorris) January 7, 2014
And he’s currently written and drawn by Jamie Smart — so good luck to anybody siding against me on THAT.
Ultimately, however? It was down to Simon Gurr to provide the voice of reason:
Why say Astérix is better than Tintin? That’s like comparing apples with oranges, or Sherlock series 3 with Sherlock series 1-2.
— Gurroo (@simongurr) January 7, 2014
And Mike Molcher summed up events afterwards, as various creators nursed their wounds and limped back to their coffee machines:
If the Tintin/Asterix War has taught us anything it’s that comics professionals will do anything to avoid work on a Tuesday morning.
— molcher (@molcher) January 7, 2014
But I put it to you now, if this is your first chance to stand up and be counted: Tintin, or Asterix? Or can you even imagine to live in a World where you like both? Yes, this is long after the fact but yes, this is my first chance to get onto The Beat and offer you both (or all three, if you’re on #TeamRoger) sides of the argument.
Also it’s very good fun to debate about comics. Let’s do more of that!