As if to punctuate that we are in a terrible alternate timeline, artist and co-creator of Asterix, Albert Uderzo, has died of a heart attack at the age of 92.
Asterix— created by René Goscinny and Uderzo — made its debut in the iconic French magazine Pilote in 1959, with its first collected publication, Asterix The Gaul, arriving about two years later.
The series centered around Asterix, a clever and most brave warrior in the only village of a Roman-occupied Gaul that hadn’t surrendered to the invading force. While stubbornness was the primary cause, the key to the success of their holdout was a secret potion created by the village druid, Getafix (or Paranormix for the less cheeky American readers), that makes the villagers super-humanly strong — at least for a little while. With jokes and clever fun, Asterix managed to become one of the most iconic vehicles for political and sociological satire, making it perfect for kids and adults alike for over half a century.
Last year saw Asterix celebrate its 60th anniversary with U.S. publisher Papercutz announcing that it was taking this year to take over the American license for the franchise, which already touts a theme park in France, multiple cinematic adaptations (most notably 1999’s Asterix & Obelix Take on Caesar starring Gérard Depardieu), and comics already translated into more than 100 languages around the world.
Uderzo and Goscinny collaborated on the comic until Goscinny’s death in 1977, at which point Uderzo took over creating Asterix on his own until 2009; he retired from drawing in 2011.
French news agency AFP quotes Uderzo’s son-in-law on Tuesday as saying “He died in his sleep at his home Neuilly from a heart attack unrelated to the coronavirus. He had been tired for several weeks.”
From all four corners of the world, and for anyone who has ever picked up an Asterix comic, Uderzo will be missed and celebrated for his astounding contribution to creating a love of comics in an audience of all ages.