I recently discovered a large stash of Asterix & Obelix comic books in the public library here. And it seems like Raghav and I have lapsed back into the time when we were 10-13 years old and reading these back home!!
Asterix & Obelix is one of my two all-time favorite comic books (the other being Calvin & Hobbes, which I started reading only around when I was ~20). Tintin is a close second.
The setting of the Asterix & Obelix comics is the year 50 BC, in a coastal village flanked by idyllic forests teeming with wild boars, in Armorica, a province of Gaul (a region that is present-day Brittany in France). This little village is the only one that has held out against Julius Caesar and not become part of the Roman empire.
The origin of their power is the magic potion that Druid Getafix brews for them, which makes them temporarily invincible. Asterix and Obelix are the heroes, and they take us on several adventures all over the world, along with little Dogmatix. Here are the protagonists:
Most kids in India love these comics. I also think the Asterix comics served as an art school for me. As a kid, I used to spend hours over weekends drawing the characters from these comics. I still am spellbound at the attention to detail, and the humor in the illustrations by Albert Uderzo. They are genius!
My mother has saved almost all my drawings since when I was about 5 years old. At least, everything that she could get hold of before I tore it up. She had collected them all in a box, and recently made me bring them back with me to the US.
I sorted through them after we stumbled on this stash of comics, and sure enough, I found the ones I'd drawn from Asterix comics, along with others from Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Beetle Bailey, Betty & Veronica, Tintin, etc. etc.
The paper is yellow and brittle, and all kinds of marks have seeped through from the back of the papers - I used to draw on the back of paper my father used to discard from his work. The papers really are this yellow now - it's been about 25 years since I drew them!
But looking at these, I remember vividly how much fun it was to lie sprawled on the floor, and study the lines of the hands and eyes and expressions captured so well by Uderzo, and learn by copying them. Those were good times. :)
Now as we drove over to the public library after finding these books on the catalog online, we could remember exactly how exciting this process of discovering a stash of books used to be when we were young! Nothing has changed, and it's been almost 25 years!
Our bedside table is littered with Asterix comics right now, and we are reading them like our lives depend on it. I don't think it would be this much fun if we just went out and bought all of them. There's something exciting about discovering books unexpectedly. :)
The only way to finish up this post is to do it with a traditional banquet in the Gaulish village. This is how almost all the comics end, under a sky full of stars, when all is well with the world.
So what are your favorite comic book characters from your childhood? Would love to hear about them, so let me know!