Asterix and the Missing Scroll

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Asterix and the Missing Scroll
(Le Papyrus de César)
Asterix and the Missing Scroll.jpg
Date 2015
Main characters Asterix and Obelix
Series Asterix
Creative team
Writer Jean-Yves Ferri
Artist Didier Conrad
Original publication
Language French
Translation
Date 22 October 2015
Translator Anthea Bell
Chronology
Preceded by Asterix and the Picts
Followed by Asterix and the Chariot Race

Asterix and the Missing Scroll (French: Le Papyrus de César, "Caesar's Papyrus") is the 36th book in the Asterix series, and the second written by Jean-Yves Ferri and illustrated by Didier Conrad.[1] A central theme is censorship and the battle over information. The title alludes to Julius Caesar's classic book, Commentarii de Bello Gallico (Commentaries on the Gallic War).

Plot[edit]

The comic tells a slightly different version by adding a fictitious Chapter 24 (XXIV) titled "Defeats at the Hands of the Indomitable Gauls of Armorica". Caesar's publisher, Libellus Blockbustus, deletes this chapter, fearing it would besmirch the Roman leader's curriculum vitae. A mute Numidian scribe, Bigdhata, steals a copy of the chapter and gives it to the journalist Confoundtheirpolitix, who in turn passes it on to the village of indomitable Gauls.

Chief Vitalstatistix is unfazed by the lie that all Gaul has been conquered by the Romans, but his wife Impedimenta urges him to campaign for the truth. Since the Gauls have, unlike the Greeks and Romans, no skills in reading and writing, the druid Getafix (accompanied by Asterix, Obelix and Dogmatix) travels to the forest of the Carnutes to meet his former teacher, Archaeopterix, who will then pass on the truth by word of mouth to future generations. The true story eventually reaches René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo in a French cafe, who publish the censored tales in comic books as the Asterix adventures.

Caricatures[edit]

The official Asterix site notes there are several caricatures of celebrities in the book.[2]

  • The newsmonger character Confoundtheirpolitix was inspired by and resembles Julian Assange. Jean-Yves Ferri said the character was almost called Wikilix in reference to WikiLeaks.[3] The colors of his clothes resemble those of another reporter, Tintin. His short trousers also resemble Tintin's trademark plus-fours.[4] His name is also a reference to the second verse of the British national anthem.
  • Caesar's publisher Libellus Blockbustus resembles French advertising magnate Jacques Seguela, but Ferri said the character is actually based on presidential advisers Henri Guaino and Patrick Buisson, who both worked for former French president Nicolas Sarkozy.[5]
  • Film director Alfred Hitchcock is caricatured as an unnamed falconer among the entourage of Libellus Blockbustus.[6] This is a tribute to Hitchcock as the director of The Birds.[7]
  • French actor Jean Réno appears as a soldier in Libellus Blockbustus's special unit tasked to retrieve the scroll.
  • French journalist Franz-Olivier Giesbert is caricatured as the white-haired critic of Mundus.

Notes[edit]

  • The whistleblower character Bigdhata is an allusion to Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning.[8]
  • Asterix and the Missing Scroll had an initial print-run of about 4 million copies, half in French and the other half in other languages.[9] It was France's top-selling book of 2015, with more than 1.6 million copies sold.[10]
  • This book was the final Asterix book to be translated by long-time translator Anthea Bell, who was forced to retire due to illness in 2016.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Johnston, Rich (22 October 2015). ""The Best Selling Comic Of 2015 Gets A Title - Asterix And The Missing Scroll"". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved 1 April 2015. 
  2. ^ "The Caricatures in Asterix and the Missing Scroll". Asterix The Official Website. LES ÉDITIONS ALBERT RENÉ. Retrieved 18 January 2018. 
  3. ^ "Asterix to team up with Assange-like character in new comic". France 24. 13 October 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2017. 
  4. ^ "The Caricatures in Asterix and the Missing Scroll". Asterix The Official Website. LES ÉDITIONS ALBERT RENÉ. Retrieved 18 January 2018. 
  5. ^ "Asterix to team up with Assange-like character in new comic". France 24. 13 October 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2017. 
  6. ^ Laurent, Patrick (21 October 2015). "Astérix à la conquête du monde avec un 36ème album". DH.be. Retrieved 18 January 2018. 
  7. ^ "The Caricatures in Asterix and the Missing Scroll". Asterix The Official Website. LES ÉDITIONS ALBERT RENÉ. Retrieved 18 January 2018. 
  8. ^ Hollow, Christopher (10 May 2016). "These Romans are crazy! The 7 best Asterix books you need to read". SBS. Retrieved 24 July 2017. 
  9. ^ "Julian Assange inspires new character in "Asterix and the Missing Scroll"". Euronews. 14 October 2015. Retrieved 15 October 2015. 
  10. ^ "Cahiers d'Esther, Carnets de Cerise, Papyrus de César... Le box-office BD". Le Figaro. 9 March 2016. 
  11. ^ Kamm, Oliver (23 December 2017). "Asterix is the magic potion that made me a linguist". The Times. Retrieved 4 January 2018.  (subscription required)

External links[edit]