TOMORROW sees the first major event to celebrate the 50th birthday of comic book hero Asterix – a performance of classic French songs by singers dressed as characters from the books.
The Le Tour de Gaule Musical d’Astérix, at 21.00 at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Paris, marks the first appearance of Asterix, in the comic book Pilote, 50 years ago next Thursday.
Opera and musical theatre performers will dress up as the Asterix characters to perform a range of popular French classics – a fun introduction to French music, aimed at families.
It is just one of a range of events in honour of the occasion, which also sees the issue of commemorative merchandise like models of the characters and a computer game.
Artist Albert Uderzo and writer René Goscinny came up with the character one day in Uderzo’s Paris flat as they racked their brains for a story idea for the new magazine. They looked for inspiration from French history and realised no one had drawn cartoons about the Gauls. Today the character’s adventures have sold 325 million.
Next Wednesday an Asterix exhibition opens at Paris’s Musée de Cluny, and the capital will also celebrate on Thursday 29 at locations including the Ile de la Cité, the Champ de Mars and Place de la Concorde. The event will be called Les Gaulois envahissent Lutèce (The Gauls invade Lutetia - the Roman name for Paris).
In Brittany, which battles Normandy over which region was home to Asterix’s village, the anniversary will also be marked with special events at the Quai des Bulles comic book festival at Saint-Malo, from Friday to Sunday.
For further details of some of the commemorative events see: Asterix turns 50
Photo: Editions Albert René