Blood, mortal combat, savagery, the lot…

Asterix the Gladiator (1964)   (1962 Pilote/1974 English edition) More Spartacus than “Are you not entertained?” Although, Asterix and Obelix’s antics in the arena go down a treat, such that the politically savvy Caesar grants them anything they want (“The people are pleased… and that pleases me!”) Not that they need his say-so, having demolished a cohort of his best legionnaires, thoroughly trounced everyone else in the chariot race and… well, they only didn’t rout the lions because Cacofonix’s singing sent them packing first. As for the gladiators themselves, they’d already been promised them their freedom, long before Asterix politely

I was attacked from the rear by some Goths who were invading the Goths…

Asterix and the Goths (1963)   (1961-2 Pilote/1974 English edition) The third Asterix adventure, and we’re seeing Goscinny and Underzo hitting their stride, both in terms of wit and plotting. The Annual Druids’ Conference that was mentioned, almost as if continuity were going to be a thing well before Uderzo’s solo efforts, in Asterix and the Golden Sickle is on, where they – all looking very similar, in terms of beards and robes – gather “to compare notes, meet old friends and hold a contest to elect the Druid of the Year”. All fine and dandy, but the Goths are

Good sickles don’t grow on trees!

Asterix and the Golden Sickle (1962)   (1960-1 Pilote/1975 English edition) The little Gaul’s second outing, in which Asterix and Obelix volunteer to obtain their druid Getafix a new golden sickle after his gets broken. To which end, they trek to Lutetia, Gallo-Roman predecessor of modern-day Paris (allegedly), in search of Obelix’s distant cousin and metalsmith Metallurgix (Obelix takes a menhir along as a present: “You can put it anywhere you like…” he advises, when they eventually meet. Earlier, pointing to it, he instructs a stunned innkeeper “You can take our luggage to our room”).  I stress “eventually meet”, as

The time has come for me to have my dose of magic potion.

Asterix the Gaul (1961)   (1959-60 Pilote/1969 English edition) Asterix is of course, based on faked history, that of the Roman Empire and an occupation of France (at least, by said empire) that never existed. Which shouldn’t be an impediment to enjoying its frequently very witty and intentionally anachronistic storytelling (René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo’s respective words and images oft-enhanced by English translations courtesy of Anthea Bell and Derek Hockridge). Set in 50 BC, or the period following, Julius Caesar makes frequent cameos, portrayed as an irascible but not entirely unreasonable sort, and one usually displaying a grudging respect for/