Italy beckons for Asterix and Obelix

After decades battling Julius Caesar and his Roman legions, Gallic hero Asterix and his sidekick Obelix finally discover the rest of Italy in their latest adventure, its authors revealed April 5. 

"Asterix and the Race through Italy," the 37th story in a series that has been a global publishing phenomenon for over half a century, will not hit the shelves until Oct. 19. But writer Jean-Yves Ferri offered a few hints as to what it is all about in an interview with AFPTV at the Bologna Children's Book Fair.

It is the year 50 B.C. and the lands and islands that now make up modern Italy are ostensibly under Caesar's control.

But just like in neighboring Gaul, home to the indefatigable duo, resistance to rule from Rome is flourishing in the provinces, much as it still is today in a country where local identities and loyalties remain strong.

"With the never ending battle between the Gauls and the Romans, the idea of Asterix coming to Italy was always there, under my nose," Ferri, 57, said. "And it was also a way to acknowledge Alberto Uderzo's Italian roots," he added in a reference to the now-retired illustrator who created the characters along with late writer Rene Goscinny.

The romp from Venice to Sicily is the third from Ferri and illustrator Didier Conrad after "Asterix and the Picts" (2013), which was set in Scotland, and "Asterix and the Missing Scroll" (2015), a satire of modern media centered on Caesar publishing a set of typically pompous war memoirs.

The new album will feature a bigger-than-usual role for the Roman-bashing, boar-chomping Obelix, and a large cast of new characters, Ferri promised.

Otherwise the publishers were giving little away about the storyline in line with their usual drip-drip...

Continue reading on: