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Beric the Gaul and Asterix the Briton: Early translations of Asterx books?

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#11 · Posted: 25 Jan 2005 15:30
rastapopoulos said:
Getafix has a Purple Beard too???
Actually I think they had painted it in dark grey, for some reason; it does look a bit purplish in the scan though, I agree...

How were Ranger going to serialise Asterix in Briton?

With great difficulty!

Maybe that’s why they dropped the ‘Beric’ name.

By that I take it you mean that his name was unchanged when the books came into being, rather than that Ranger or Look and Learn changed his name mid-series back to Astérix/ Asterix?

I also see that Obelix is ‘The son of Bodecia’, by Toutatis!
Yes, that must have been a real moment of madness in an already crazy scheme! In talking about their translations of Tintin, LL-C & MT could not emphasise enough that they were constrained by the number of characters which each speech balloon could contain, which involved a laborious job counting up by hand; allowing for the fact that French text runs longer than the equivalent English (so we were told at Greenwich), they managed. But to call your second lead character “The son of Bodecia” - a name three times the length of “Obelix” - seems to be a real howler.

John, Ranger ran along side Look and Learn, which was an older title, but merged into it when its sales didn’t take off; the L&L masthead actually included the Ranger at least for the next year or so. There was also a comic for more junior readers in the same stable, which I remember, called Treasure, which mixed comic strips and educational features.

All three were in the large format, semi-glossy style of Eagle, with quite a lot of rotogravure colour, and as your message suggests, I think they were popular in schools - perhaps there was an educational subscription price?

Thinking about the style, content and even the “look and learn”/ “voir et savoir” similarity, I wonder if the intention was to produce a UK answer to Tintin magazine? Perhaps someone saw what was happening on the continent, and thought it was an idea worth copying?
#12 · Posted: 6 Feb 2005 22:43
I've always been confused by the edition of Asterix The Gaul that I borrowed from my school library in the seventies. Chief Vitalstatistix is called Chief Tonabrix throughout! Were any other names changed in the (Methuen??) hardbacks?
Harrock n roll
#13 · Posted: 6 Feb 2005 23:03
Frankymole: I've always been confused by the edition of Asterix The Gaul that I borrowed from my school library in the seventies. Chief Vitalstatistix is called Chief Tonabrix throughout! Were any other names changed in the (Methuen??) hardbacks?

The name Tonabrix was used in the film version of Asterix the Gaul which I have on video. Cacofonix is known as Stopthemusix. I didn't know there was a book but perhaps there was an adaptation.
#14 · Posted: 19 Jan 2009 21:42
Well, here's a revival of this interesting thread. We've been discussing it under Tintin books/Considerations of Names Translations. As far as I know, the original English version of Asterix appeared in the Valiant in 1963. Asterix is a Briton called 'Little Fred, the Ancient Brit with Bags of Grit' and Getafix is Hocus Pocus. The pictures are all those from Asterix the Gaul and there is no change in the story except that it is in Britain. Perfectly sustainable in my view but only went for the first 'book' which, of course at that stage was not yet a book in France. Asterix was then only a comic character in 'Pilote' (I have several copies) where Goscinny and Uderzo were working (actually on different comic strips originally). If you don't want to be shocked, don't read on. Obelix was called 'Big Ed'.
Harrock n roll
#15 · Posted: 19 Jan 2009 22:08
Obelix was called 'Big Ed'

Excellent, thanks for the info! I must look out for it. Did it appear in the 1963 annual or was it serialised in the weekly comic?
#16 · Posted: 19 Jan 2009 22:34
Well, according to Uderzo (again, in a Numa Sadoul interview book - that guy is everywhere), the first german translation of Asterix, around 1965, was called something like "Siggi the West German" (published in a magazine called Lupo Modern), and was a neonazi transposition : Siggi/Asterix and Babarras/Obelix were aryan heroes, fighting off american invaders and evil communists that talked in red captions. All the dialogues were rewritten to fit that nazi propaganda, but the imaged were left as there were. And Obelix/Babarras was always rejoicing of "making war" ("when will we make war? will we make war soon?").

The funny thing is that it wasn't a pirate version, so Uderzo and Goscinny were recieving their normal royalties on it. It's just that the french publisher of Asterix didn't care much about translations, and had sold the rights through intermediaries, without checking how it would be done. When they found out (reading an article about german neonazi comics and recognizing Asterix), they had A LITTLE TALK with the german publisher, and stopped the thing. Asterix was then republished "normally" in 1968.

Now that must be hilariously disturbing, or disturbingly hilarious, to read. But it's still a terrible, terrible memory for Uderzo. I imagine the embarrasment of discovering in the newspapers that he had been an unwilling author of nazi propaganda. It was before Asterix's fame, fortunately, so it didn't make a huge scandal, and didn't harm them too much.

Possibly beats "Big Ed", though. :)
#17 · Posted: 21 Jan 2009 18:33
Harrock n roll:
Did it appear in the 1963 annual or was it serialised in the weekly comic?

It was in the comics running 1963/4. I don't know about the annuals. The drawings are unchanged I think.

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