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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb, if flawed, new edition of the Asterix series
The appeal of the Asterix books is universal, and timeless. For children there are terrific stories well told, and dazzling illustrations. For adults - the real audience - there are René Goscinny's wonderful jokes and marvellous puns, interspersed with quotations from classical authors, The Bible, Napoleon, Shakespeare and many many more. And Albert Uderzo's...
Published on 3 May 2004

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Decent Introduction
I'm a big fan of the series, 'Cleopatra' and 'in Britain' being perhaps the two best of all. It's interesting to see the visual appearance of the characters change through the first half of the book until they reach their final - and best - look.
I'm just writing this to point out that most reviews here seem overpraising. Though...
Published on 4 Nov 2005


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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb, if flawed, new edition of the Asterix series, 3 May 2004
By A Customer
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The appeal of the Asterix books is universal, and timeless. For children there are terrific stories well told, and dazzling illustrations. For adults - the real audience - there are René Goscinny's wonderful jokes and marvellous puns, interspersed with quotations from classical authors, The Bible, Napoleon, Shakespeare and many many more. And Albert Uderzo's illustrations are often simply breathtaking. So, many of the visual ideas in "Asterix and Cleopatra" come from the film "Cleopatra" with Elizabeth Taylor and Rex Harrison. Meanwhile, in "Asterix the Legionary" the pirates' ship is sunk by Asterix and Obelix (again). The image of the pirates on a raft in mid ocean is taken from a 19th Century French Romantic painting in the Louvre, "The Raft of the Medusa", by Géricault. In the French version the pirate captain says to the reader "Je suis médusé" ("I'm gobsmacked"). In English this is rendered equally cleverly as "We've been framed, by Jericho".
Ah, the translations. Asterix owes his success in the English-speaking world to the brilliance of the translators, Anthea Bell and Derek Hockridge. They've been responsible for all the Asterix books since "Asterix the Gaul" first appeared in English in 1969, an amazing record. So true is their work to the spirit of the French originals, that it's as though Goscinny and Uderzo had produced the books in English in the first place. Some of the jokes are arguably better in English than in French, especially the names. Having two legionaries called Sendervictorius and Appianglorius, in "Asterix the Gladiator", gives three jokes for the price of two. (Asterix trivia: Anthea Bell is the sister of Martin Bell, the former BBC war correspondent.)
24 Asterix books were written by René Goscinny and illustrated by Albert Uderzo, with the first appearing in France in 1961. Then in 1977 Goscinny died at the tragically early age of 51. Uderzo has since produced seven more books on his own, as well as some collections of other material, and they're very good. But René Goscinny's genius is sorely missed.
The French versions have never been out of print - hardly surprising as Asterix is a French national icon. But the first 24 in the series, the finest ones, have been unavailable in English for several years. Orion Books are now putting that right, and have - for the most part - made a very good job of it. The work of re-colouring and re-inking the pages has transformed them, especially the first in the series, "Asterix the Gaul". The typefaces have also been recast, and are more legible and closer in style to the French edition. The books are now printed, in France, on high quality glossy paper in the classic hardback format. All in all, the English Asterix books are now produced to a higher standard than the current French edition from Hachette. That's quite an achievement.
But there are flaws. Many of the jokes come from the imaginative use of different typefaces, an area in which both Goscinny and Uderzo had a special interest. So the Goths speak in Gothic script, the Egyptians in hieroglyphics (which are often really symbols from the Michelin Guide) and so on. Some of this has been lost in the new Orion versions. So whenever Obelix shakes someone, their words should appear twice, overlapping, to suggest vibration. In the new books this doesn't happen, a good joke missed. Then the lookout on the pirate ship has lost his American Deep South accent. Is this political correctness? It's robbed us of a much loved character. And the cover of "Asterix and Cleopatra" no longer boasts that it's "the greatest story ever drawn" in a deliberate echo of the poster for the film "Cleopatra". And there are some silly mistakes that weren't there before.
But these are quibbles. The Asterix series is triumphantly back in English for a new generation to enjoy. Buy all 31 books (and "Asterix and the Class Act", a fine collection of shorter material). Then get them all again in French from Amazon.fr while you're about it, for more than double the fun. You, and your children, will be glad you did.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Decent Introduction, 4 Nov 2005
By A Customer
I'm a big fan of the series, 'Cleopatra' and 'in Britain' being perhaps the two best of all. It's interesting to see the visual appearance of the characters change through the first half of the book until they reach their final - and best - look.
I'm just writing this to point out that most reviews here seem overpraising. Though good, this is one of the worst of the series, with not much in the way of plot or the ingenuity that at least a few dozen others are full of. If you want to read one Asterix book to see what the fuss is about, it's best to start with another, then read this for completion later on.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Asterix must surrender to Romans to save the village druid., 5 Sep 2000
By A Customer
This is the first of the adventures of the little Gaulish warrior, Asterix. Their little village is surrounded by four Roman camps which have not been able to conquer these indomitable Gauls because of the magic potion they drink that gives them super-human strength. The Romans send a spy to find out the secret of their strengh. When he brings back the report, the Romans ambush the village's druid Getafix (who makes the magic potion) and try to get him to make it for them. Asterix leaves the safety of the village to find his friend. He learns of Getafix's being captured by the Romans and arranges to get into their camp, where he surrenders. Enjoy how Asterix and Getafix pull the wool over the eyes of their captures. Enjoy the wonderful "torture" of being Roman captives. And finally, enjoy how they reveal a plot against their arch-enemy, Julius Caesar. It literally is a "hair raising" adventure. Enjoy!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Typical Romans, 1 Nov 2007
By 
Doniaa (London, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Asterix the Gaul (Paperback)
I think this book is for 8+ year olds because there are very hard words to read and understand.
Do you want get all of the books like me? (this is only number 1!)
Asterix and his village are based in France 1000 years ago.The Romans try to attack, but always fail because Obelix, Asterix's best friend, mainly fights them away. He can do this on his own because when he was a baby he fell into a cauldren with a liquid that makes you stronger. Asterix has to drink the potion from a bottle like everyone else but it runs out quickly. The Romans got tired of being beaten up. So Julius Caesar has a plan to trick them by dressing one of the Romans like a Gaul!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The 1st Asterix book, 7 May 2006
The very first Asterix book is a must for anyone who wants to read all the Asterix books. But for those who just want to read one, this may not be for you. The drawing is far cruder than the other books, and the plot is a little thin, although the story introduces all of the characters (except Dogmatix). Maybe not for the newcomer to the Asterix world (because after reading this you may not want to stay), although if you wish to read them all, read this one first.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A lively little adventure..., 15 Oct 2009
This review is from: Asterix the Gaul (Paperback)
... not a patch on the later books, but certainly enjoyable. For Asterix fanboys there's the additional pleasure of finding out how it all began. The fact that the first volume is rather thin in places only makes one appreciate even more the works of genius that were to follow.

Here the characters have yet to develop their full personalities, and the comic double act of Asterix and Obelix hasn't really began. They look rather different too. In the first pages Obelix is a huge, muscular man, but he soon begins to fatten out, and by the end of the book he's almost the obese Obelix we know and love. (Oddly enough the same thing happened to Garfield the cat, who was taller and much less rotund in the first few strips.) But apart from his love of wild boar he's yet to develop his lovable idiosyncracies. ('I am not fat!' 'These Romans are crazy!' etc)

It's interesting that the personal feud between Julius Caesar and the villagers begins in this first book. Perhaps Goscinny knew from the start what a strong theme this would be. A lesser writer would have made Caesar a villain, but Goscinny presents him as a noble old soldier who can't help respecting the Gaul's fighting spirit, while never ceasing in his efforts to conquer them. This helps gives the books their very human feel.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Asterix the Gaul, 20 May 2009
By 
Spider Monkey (UK) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Asterix the Gaul (Paperback)
`Asterix the Gaul' is the first in a long line of delightful Asterix adventures and it still raises a smile even after all these years and repeated readings. As noted by another reviewer, the drawings are slightly cruder than later books and some of the names and features of certain characters change later as well. But for an introduction into the world of Asterix and the general format that his adventures take, then this can't really be beaten. You get the typical relaxed opening pages around the village, an incident that triggers the main story, the adventure that goes to solving whatever problem may be in that book and then the celebratory feast at the end. Pretty formulaic but comfortable and engrossing at the same time. The historical satire is first rate and the various little visual gags make for fun reading as well. You can read this in 45 minutes easily, but for that time you are transported away into Asterix's world and it is a world of fun and adventure.

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The first Asterix book in a superbly restored new edition, 20 April 2004
By 
Ad van der Rest (Maidenhead, Berkshire, GB) - See all my reviews
'Asterix the Gaul' is the first of 31 adventures published between 1961and 2001. As this is the first book, some of the drawings are a littlecrude compared to the later stories, and some of the favourite features ofthe Gaulish village have yet to evolve. This is a good story, well toldand drawn, but doesn't yet deserve to be considered 'classic' Asterix,like the fourth book 'Asterix the Gladiator' and the sixth book 'Asterixand Cleopatra' and of course many later stories. The tale itself focuseson Asterix and Getafix the Druid fooling the Romans who want to get theirhands on the magic potion which makes the Gauls invulnerable. The newedition re-inks and re-colours the story. A beautiful job has been done ofthis 'restoration'. My original tatty copy (from 1969!) has crudecolouring and in some places careless use of colour where whole parts ofthe characters are just coloured the same. This edition beautifully shadesthe drawings in the style associated with the later books and 'corrects'the colouring of characters such as Vitalstatistix who in my original copywears pink! and now is restored to his chief-like green. I loved this bookwhen I was eight. I love it still (many years older!).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 14 July 2014
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This review is from: Asterix the Gaul (Paperback)
Fine, no problems.
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5.0 out of 5 stars THE BEST, 24 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Asterix The Gaul (Kindle Edition)
These books are the BEST check out My review under Asterix and the goths I'm so glad I found these.
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Asterix the Gaul
Asterix the Gaul by Albert Uderzo (Paperback - 21 April 2005)
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