September 22, 2020

“Doing‘ Astérix ’without getting frustrated is very difficult” | Culture

Astérix's new album is here, Vercingétorix's daughter (Salvat, editions in Spanish, Catalan, Basque, Galician and Asturian), with their usual Gauls (all the cast of the village), their magic potion, their usual Romans of the surrounding camps (less warlike this time and close to the defensive formation of the turtle, although it does not free them from slaps), their unfortunate pirates (also here with fewer Latinisms, just one, sign, woe to the times) and even their inevitable cameo (Charles Aznavour). But also new additions, the adolescent and difficult (two synonyms) Adrenaline, daughter of the famous historical French caudillo of the title, the equally adolescent children of the fishmonger Ordenalfabétix, Blínix, and the blacksmith Esautomátix, Félfix, the bad one in turn the renegade explorer Adictoasérix ( ¡) That he chases the protagonist girl so that César la romanice, the gifted and hyperactive son of Strictuosensus, a commander of Roman trireme; a young dreamer and pacifist British captain who responds to the meaningful name of Letitbix, and the two former Ververétorix arvernos who have taken care of raising their daughter and who are obviously unmarried partners …

This noon when presenting the album, its creators, screenwriter Jean-Yves Ferri and cartoonist Didier Conrad, responsible for giving continuity to the characters of René Gosciny and Albert Uderzo since 2011 by the Hachette publishing house and by Uderzo himself (with this there are already four titles that have been made of the series), they explained the keys to the work and the difficult balance to combine fidelity and innovation. There is a circumstance that both were born in 1959, just like Astérix, and they have turned 60 like him.

They have agreed that this fourth album has meant less pressure and stage fright. "Many less than the first," Ferri said. "The tension has been easing, we have been relaxing and now everything has been easier." "Now we know what is more important, we can devote all the energy to the album, the rhythm is alive but not so frenetic, more relaxed." The two have teenage daughters and have claimed that it has helped them light Adrenaline. Ferri added that they tried to make their language not very stereotyped and that they imagined that Gauls teenagers "would have their own slang." "The challenge was to bring something new in the female character that should be universal but inspired by real experience," Conrad reflected. As for what is his new favorite character, Ferri has said that the two teenagers of the village, who were the necessary interlocutors of the protagonist and who physically resemble their ancestors of the anvil and the seafood, always the greña, but they are mentally opposed to them. The two boys are already part of the great family of Gauls and we will meet them again in the future, they have revealed. Adrenaline, however, although as parents they love the creature, is a character "too strong" and "it would not make sense to reappear without being the center of the story." Nor will the character be a door to a possible spin-off of the series, at least for now.

From the fact that current issues such as nonviolence (except with the Romans), environmentalism and even animalism are hinted at in the album — teenagers snap at him, and the word is worth it, to Obélix: “At the rate that wild boar hunt soon they will be extinguished! ”, to which the obese Gallic puts on a poker face—, they have pointed out that indeed in the two warriors who adopt the girl there is an allusion to the new family models, in this case homoparental. "We have done it consciously, but without going over," Ferri said. “I imagined them more refined, but Conrad decided on a rougher profile of warriors so as not to fall into clichés. There is that homosexual allusion but without insisting too much on it. ” "And no, we are not a couple," Conrad joked.

As for the relationship between choose a female character and the Me Too movement, they have assured that it was not about compensating for the historical lack of great strong women in the series but of doing something new, although Conrad acknowledged that in the 37 albums the only great female character has been Cleopatra. In reference to all those issues that are on the table in society, Ferri has stressed that there are slight, slight allusions, but that "the vocation of Asterix is ​​not to be a militant, it is a comic of humor." "There are many issues to explore in the saga, the most difficult thing is to preserve the identity of the series and at the same time innovate," said Conrad. "In any case, we will not make an album to attract new audiences artificially," Ferri said.

Of the relationship with Uderzo, 93, they say that he is his "godfather" and that "at first his presence was clearer, but the idea was to trust us and pass the witness, and that's how it is being done." For the historical artist "it's always a pleasure and a happiness reunite with Astérix. ”They have explained that although Obélix assures in a vignette that he prefers adventures abroad and that these have been alternating in the last four albums with those that take place in the village, there is no self-imposed obligation of that it should be so and that they have no preference (anyone tells Obélix). “Each album is different and has a different story.” What it seems is that at the moment they will not travel to Catalonia and there will be no Asterix and he you process. "In any case we will wait for the situation to be clarified and we will see if there is any issue, we are always asked in Portugal and Poland," Ferri said.

Scriptwriter and cartoonist have agreed thatand “doing Astérix without frustrating you is very difficult, the key is how to contribute in the continuity, to follow what preexists giving something unexpected; it is a work that in general does not feed our ego as a work of its own would, although at the same time it is a huge exercise of creation ”. Conrad has reflected that the journey with Astérix is ​​long and with a mark of excellence that is very difficult to match. "It will take years to feel fully satisfied, there are always high expectations and in front you have an ideal Asterix."

Conrad explained that he tries to take the graphics little by little to his land and that like Uderzo was evolving he can also do it. But there are difficulties. “Touch your nose when someone tells you:‘ That piece of grass Uderzo would never have done so ”. The organization of the vignette and color also theoretically allow acting. “Uderzo is colorblind and some of his strident colors of the early period and almost psychedelics respond to that. Over time the colors have been normalized, although they are always very vivid and fit into that energetic story. It is possible that in the future we will return to the original spirit of color and also make Astérix again more humorous. ”

On the historical theme of Vercingétorix, which is known – by Julio César, precisely, in The Gallic War— the name his father, Celtillus and even his uncle, Gobanitio, but none of his possible offspring, Ferri has said that historians are divided on the particular: he could have had children or not. He pointed out that there is an episode during the siege of Alesia in which Vercingétorix eliminates women and children to save food for combatants, which does not seem very fatherly. On the figure of the Gallic leader he has indicated that he is a somewhat ambiguous national hero, since he is a loser, a defeated. "Napoleon III tried to recover it as a sign of unity of France but now historians resit it in a panorama of implacable and irresistible Romanization of the territory." Vercingétorix, despite the good vibes of the series, was taken captive to Rome and, after years of captivity, executed, probably by strangulation, during a Triumph of Caesar.

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