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Asterix: Does the quality deteriorate, post-Goscinny?

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Dupondt
Member
#1 · Posted: 11 Apr 2008 23:24
I was just wondering if anyone else felt that the quality of the Asterix books deteriorated after the death of Goscinny?

The illustrations are still impeccable but the stories seem to lack a bit of bite.

I'm curious if the style seems to have changed in the English translation because it definitely did in the French, I've only read one or two in English, I feel the humour has been lost in translation somewhat.
Sapristi
Member
#2 · Posted: 12 Apr 2008 22:01 · Edited by: Sapristi
Hello!

I've been reading them almost as long as Tintin, and though i can't speak French, and so have not read the original translations, i would say the series has gradually gone astray since the death of Goscinny.

He was a brilliant writer and satirist to boot; I can appreciate books like Mansions of the Gods, Obelix and co, Cesars' Gift and Laurel Wreath on lots of different levels that i couldn't have done when i was younger.

That's not to say Uderzo didn't have his moments. In my opinion Black Gold was his best book; what with the James Bond & Biblical in-jokes, the "...follow the arrows!" gag (which is one of my favorite moments in the series), and the Goscinny cameo was sweet as well.

I'd say his first few solo books were okay, but the last three were awful.
I decided not to buy The Falling Sky because it spoilt the regard i have for the series as a whole, and thats a terrible thing to say as a an Asterix fan.

I think this is because they don't have the feel of proper Asterix stories; they are more childish and sentimental, and the plots have less depth and structure. In All at Sea the characters are literally just that for a most of the story, and as soon as they get to somewhere interesting; ie: Atlantis, they're off again! With hardly a look at the place! Whats that about!?

It's also as if Uderzo is thinking up fantastical things to draw and later sticking a story onto them, if you know what i mean. For example; he likes drawing Panacea, so he draws her double and that becomes one of the main plot points of Asterix and the Actress.

Uderzo is a brilliant illustrator, and i do respect the fact he carried the series on after Rene's death, but for a good story the writing must come first.

That doesn't quite answer the query you had Dupondt, but I needed to get that off my chest!
Harrock n roll
Moderator
#3 · Posted: 13 Apr 2008 00:57
I completely agree; the series begins to go pear-shaped post-Goscinny. I don't actually own any Uderzo solo books, but I had to read them. I couldn't get to grips with The Magic carpet or Asterix and Son - or any of them come to that! They are poor when compared to the earlier works. Perhaps I'm being a bit harsh; they have their moments. I had a quick look at the aliens in the last book, out of curiosity when I was in a bookshop. That was enough for me!

I haven't read them in French (and I wouldn't be able to understand all the jokes anyway), so I couldn't say what is lost in translation. What matters is, I find the Goscinny/Uderzo English translations very funny, so the translators must have done something right. There are some great puns and I love the names they gave the characters. (In the Uderzo solo books, too - like Whatziznehm from The Magic carpet).

I have been told that Asterix in Britain is a lot funnier in German, so perhaps it's hard parodying yourselves in your own language!
jock123
Moderator
#4 · Posted: 13 Apr 2008 10:55 · Edited by: jock123
Harrock n roll wrote:
I find the Goscinny/Uderzo English translations very funny, so the translators must have done something right.

I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that the Asterix translators say that they count the number of actual jokes in the books, and have that in mind; they then know that if they can’t translate a pun or a reference, that they have to introduce one elsewhere to compensate. This has lead to some great jokes not found in the French (I know this by having read it, not sat and done a side-by-side comparison myself), for example, a frame which in French shows really drunk Roman soldiers hiccoughing with the word “Hips!”, the translators had them start with “Hic!” (the usual word cartoonists use), but then follow it with “Haec!” and “Hoc!” - the three versions of the relative pronoun in Latin.
Balthazar
Moderator
#5 · Posted: 13 Apr 2008 12:07
I think I read somewhere (around the time the first solo-Uderzo books were coming out) that Uderzo said that he and Goscinny had several ideas for books that they hadn't got round to producing at the time of Goscinny's death, and that these unused storylines formed the bases for his first solo books. This would perhaps explain why the earlier Uderzo-only books, such as Black Gold aren't bad at all, and have a Goscinny flavour to them. Presumeably as time's gone on, this stock of unused Goscinny ideas has become ever-more depleted and Uderzo has had to think of ideas from scratch, which would explain why the series has departed further and further from the plotting and writing style of the original books.

All that said, I don't like even the best Goscinny-Uderzo Asterix books anything like as much as I did as a child, though. For me, they don't stand up well against Tintin at all - not that they're really meant to be similar, of course.
tuhatkauno
Member
#6 · Posted: 13 Apr 2008 13:05
Balthazar wrote:
I think I read somewhere (around the time the first solo-Uderzo books were coming out) that Uderzo said that he and Goscinny had several ideas for books that they hadn't got round to producing at the time of Goscinny's death, and that these unused storylines formed the bases for his first solo books. This would perhaps explain why the earlier Uderzo-only books, such as Black Gold aren't bad at all, and have a Goscinny flavour to them.


Balthie, that's what I think as well. Unlike you I still value highly the best Goscinny-Uderzo Asterix books, not that the plots are brilliant, but the characters and psychological aspect in them are funny and human. But generally Asterix without Goscinny is lifeless.
Sapristi
Member
#7 · Posted: 13 Apr 2008 23:04 · Edited by: Sapristi
Glad I'm not the only one who thinks this!

And it's a shame; a real shame...

Balthazar wrote:
Uderzo said that he and Goscinny had several ideas for books that they hadn't got round to producing at the time of Goscinny's death, and that these unused storylines formed the bases for his first solo books.


That explains a lot.

Harrock n roll wrote:
I had a quick look at the aliens in the last book, out of curiosity when I was in a bookshop. That was enough for me!


Exactly what i did; I'd read a bit about it on the internet, and when it came out i popped into Waterstones and had a look for myself...

Now, I bought Actress when that was first out, and I wasn't impressed when I flicked through it while waiting in the queue at the check-out. I still bought it, because- I guess- it was a fan-thing to do.

Falling Sky however is wrong on so many levels. The aliens for a start. At least in Flight 714, (which I actually like;Tintin's unrepeatable telepathic reply to Kanrokitoff near the end always makes me smile!) the aliens had a bit of mystery about them, these don't, and i felt uncomfortable with the depiction and treatment of the manga-esque ones.

If Uderzo wanted to comment about the Iraq war, or the growing dominance of Japanese (and American) comics in France, there must be better ways of doing it.
Amilah
Member
#8 · Posted: 10 Jan 2009 12:48
Hehe, for me "falling sky" is precisely about the potential influence of japanese and american comics in the gap left by goscinny (and maybe an allusion to the more and more manga-ized post-franquin spirou). It starts with the whole village's secondary characters being paralized, which is exactly the impression of lifelessness we get from them in the albums following goscinny's death.

It feels like a story of a distraught scenarist, unable to animate his characters, and not knowing to what creative source to turn - except that he loathes japanese culture and worthip his childhood disney comics. It's sincere and pathetic, even through/by its own clumsiness.

That said, yes, all asterix after goscinny are an unreadable pile of junk. Really painful. But that's also the case with lucky luke, etc.
tintinraider
Member
#9 · Posted: 10 Jan 2009 17:12
The 3 first Asterix made by Uderzo alone are ok... Afterthat, it became worse and worse.... The last one is really tragic.... He should have worked with another guy on the script...

By the way, Uderzo has just sold the copyrights of Asterix yesterday... meaning Asterix stories will be continued by others authors after his death....
Chuckles_Merrily
Member
#10 · Posted: 4 Feb 2009 11:25
I actually haven't read the last two or three books (which from what i've heard here im glad) but its true the stories did loose a punch and just weren't the same...

As someone mentioned the Black Gold scene with the arrows is really very funny though!!

I hope no one else takes on Asterix... the originals and ones we have now are perfectly fine, i hope no one else takes it on.

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