Books & Literature

Book Review: Asterix and the Griffin, by Jean-Yves Ferri, illustrated by Didier Conrad

COMIC BOOK: The latest action-packed adventure from the indomitable Gauls.

A worthy addition to the world of Asterix and his friends that will send fans rushing to the bookshop.

For those Asterix fans who have mourned the passing of the comic’s creators R. Goscinny (d: 1977) and then A. Uderzo (d: 2020) you will be very excited to read the next instalment of this very popular French series of books. Uderzo sold the rights to Hachette in 2009 and it was then that Jean-Yves Ferri (script) and Didier Conrad (artwork) took over. Thirty-nine volumes have so far been released.

Each book sets the scene with:

The year is 50 BC. Gaul is entirely occupied by the Romans. Well, not entirely … one small village of indomitable Gauls still hold out against the invaders. And life is not easy for the Roman legionaries who garrison the fortified camps of Tortorum, Aquarium, Laudanum and Compendium …

The Gauls have been able to hold off the Romans because of a magic potion brewed by the village druid (Getafix) which gives the inhabitants super-human strength.

This time the Gauls (Asterix, Obelix, Getafix and Dogmatix) have travelled to “Barbaricum,” a land east of present-day Europe. Unfortunately for the Romans, they are also heading east to find the fabled Griffin.

Asterix books are full of double entendres using the different languages as a tool. This is the hook that draws the fans in, and Asterix and the Griffin is no exception. Even though we read each language in English, there is always some small tweak to set them apart. In this case, all the letter E’s are written back to front. It is always a surprise how the text can still be very funny despite it being translated from French into many different languages.

There are Roman names like Cartographus (the geographer) and the very clever Acros Thesevenses. Roman names always end in an “s’ and Gaulish names in “-ix”. And in this book, those from the frozen wastelands end in “ova”.

Asterix and the Griffin is a worthy addition to the 38 already published books in the Asterix series. The artwork by Conrad mimics the work of Uderzon perfectly, and Ferri’s script is still hilarious. There are many very funny moments along the way in the illustrations including the poor horse ridden by Obelix, the ice carvings and the ceremony to Diana. The children are particularly cute in their furs. The script also gives us laugh-out-loud moments such as when the Romans are saying goodbye in different languages—toodlepippus, solongus etc.

Fans will not be disappointed and those new to the world of Asterix may just find themselves purchasing all 39 volumes!

Reviewed by Sue Mauger

Distributed by: Hachette Australia
Released: November 2021
RRP: $29.99

This review is the opinion of the reviewer and not Glam Adelaide.

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