Asterix The Gaul (1961)

Astérix le Gaulois

Asterix and Getafix embark on a hair-raising adventure.

(Incidentally - this pun was thought up by me quite independently of Kessler who uses pretty much the same synopsis in his book. Honest, Guv.)


Presenting a pretentious thematic undercurrent...

Indicative of the expository nature of this book is the fact that there is very little beyond exposition in it. In other words there is no pretentious thematic undercurrent to present.

Notable Nomenclature...

Continuity; lack-thereof and other gaffes...

This being an introductory book, semantics would have it that exposition is order of the day - and indeed the characters of Asterix and Getafix are introduced in this one, along with the significance of the Magic Potion. Semantics doesn't have it all its own way though because many familiar facets of the later books are left mere striplings in this one. Obelix isn't developed beyond some fat bloke who carries ovoids about - and exclusively to this story he does not accompany Asterix on his adventure - whilst the other villagers are so many interchangeable coves with moustaches, one of whom rides on a shield.

Cleverness and contemporaneity...

Those potion varieties in full...

Good or What?

Good for a beginner.

To an extent this suffers from the drawback of all introductory books - that it has to devote space to exposition - but not to a great extent because the only characters really to be introduced are Asterix and Getafix and their personalities are developed as the story progresses. That is a very early book is most evident in the drawing which is so crude as to render some of the characters unrecognisable from later incarnations. The verbal humour, though, is already of a high standard - and the plot development involving a hair-restorative counts as one of the series funniest.