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.

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:

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.


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:

And Mike Molcher summed up events afterwards, as various creators nursed their wounds and limped back to their coffee machines:

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!


  1. I certainly prefer Tintin, it was a better looking comic.
    I am willing to admit that Asterix wasn’t easily available in the states when I was a child, so I’m sure that affects my answer.

  2. I’m pretty equitable in my preferences, personally, although Asterix makes me laugh more. But what got ME in that article is that the new Asterix writer, in thinking up funny Mac names for his Scots tribesmen, decided to name the “evil chief” MacCabbaeus.

    I’m told that, in French, “macchabée” is a slang term for a corpse or a stiff, and that any resemblance to the Maccabees is entirely coincidental, but this member of the Tribe still found that choice for the main bad guy to be unsettling.

  3. Gotta be Tintin, I can still re-read those now, but got bored of Asterix the third or fourth rereading. But yeah, two very different things. It’s like comparing Kyle Baker’s Plastic Man to Hellboy.

  4. I’m team Tintin! Love me some Asterix, but I’ve spent hours studying Herge’s story telling technique, his pacing and flat approach to coloring. He really was a master. Asterix makes me laugh, but it’s mostly throw away comedy. The Tintin plots are still vivid in my mind.

  5. I’m with team Tintin. Asterix is fun and all, but Tintin stayed with me over the years.

    Also, (to Scott Dunbier) Heidi didn’t write this, the ever-affable Steve Morris did — and I thought it was a very good bit of fun writing.

    Also, special props to Simon Gurr. I had to *favorite* his Tweet. That comparison of Sherlock made me laugh heartily.

  6. Blueberry is among my favorite comics of all time, but it doesn’t belong in this conversation.

  7. As an aspiring young cartoonist, I always found Tintin interminably boring, where Asterix was super fun to look at and an enjoyable read. As an adult, my mind has not changed. Team Asterix!!

  8. It’s sort of like comparing Pogo to Peanuts, isn’t it? Both are terrific but in different ways. It was a silly article meant only to drum up debate, but I’m glad it got folks talking about two great comics again. Personally, I grew up reading Asterix, which is no surprise to anyone who has seen my own work (and I’ve got an “A” in my name too).

  9. I dunno, like Jamie Smart’s work as I do, is his style not too aggressive for a cerebral Cyril like Roger?

    Wangle yer way out of that, Winker!

    Oh, and Tintin. Unless it’s a Tuesday.

  10. Both are great and have different qualities.

    I would strongly disagree that Asterix is throw-away comedy– there is a lot of satire in it, and smart references to modern culture and the different countries in Europe. That might be more interesting to European readers.

    Tintin is not boring, but it is paced more like an old movie– slower, less wacky. But it’s still made masterfully and if you immerse yourself into that world, a great adventure comic.

  11. Lucky Luke. }]

    Let’s see… Editions:
    Asterix: 114 different languages and dialects (28 in Germany alone!). That includes American English editions (yes, they differ).
    Tintin: 75 (not definitive)

    The Tintin owners aren’t that nice to fans.
    (Although Asterix is suing tech companies ending in “-ix”)
    Tintin was brought to trial for being racist.
    (Nobody reads Oum-Pah-Pah.)

    Goscinny is the better (and more prolific) writer. (Yes, Herge wrote and drew. But not that much.)

    Asterix has better cursing, although Haddock is a poet of purple prose.
    Asterix has better lettering. (Asterix the Legionary, for example.)
    Asterix has sexier women, and hunkier men.

    Asterix is more educational.

    Now… who is better:
    Idéfix or Milou ?

  12. Team Tintin all the way. Never liked Astrix, always felt like an over talky version of Hagar the Horrible.

  13. Count me in as another person whose name begins with “A” who prefers “Asterix.” I’ve tried to read Tintin. Honest, I have. Multiple times. Just can’t get into it. I much prefer the Asterix school of art and all the puns and silliness.

    Am very excited, also, that my Amazon order for the latest “Asterix” book is coming in next week!

    I also prefer “Largo Winch” to “Tintin.” =)

  14. I loved them both when I was a kid, and I love them both now. I can’t see any possible reason I should choose one over the other. Ask me again in 200 years.

  15. I quite enjoy the Tintin stories but in my antic, aggression-loving heart it’s Asterix all the way.

  16. In order of greatness:
    TinTin before the war.
    After the war: Spirou and Lucky Luke.
    60ties: Asterix
    70ties: Anything Mœbius
    80ties: Corto Maltese or Adèle Blanc-Sec
    90ties: Titeuf.

  17. I love both Tintin and Asterix equally. I read them both obsessively and repeatedly throughout my childhood in the 1970’s and 80’s, and I still get great pleasure whenever I dip into them today. They both are full of humor and adventure, satire and wisdom, human interest and beautiful art. Choosing one over the other would be like choosing which of my grandmothers I loved more.

  18. I have never been able to swallow the constant deus ex machines in Tintin. Tintin is tied to railway tracks? A woman sees a puma chasing a deer and pulls the chain! Tintin is held at gunpoint and about to be shot by two crooks? The house is struck by ball lightning! Tintin is about to be burnt as a sacrifice to the sun god? A convenient total solar eclipse happens! Though Tintin ended up having good art (after redrawing) it never made the actual story better. And let’s not even talk about the racism permeating the early volumes.

    Asterix is or rather was a joy, something to be reread over and over, until Uderzo ran out of inspiration in the 1990s. I still reread the old ones regularly. The new team isn’t much good and nor is the new translation.

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